For me, every semester goes through a number of stages. In the beginning, I’ve organized all my textbooks, supplies, and syllabi and I’m pretty confident about my chances. As the semester wears on, I get into a panic, not because I’m not doing well, but because the material seems difficult or demanding. The next stage is where I convince myself that I’m going to be just fine. The final stage comes at the end of the semester, where I panic and pray really hard that I did well. Then, the grades are posted and I did just fine.
This happens every semester like clockwork: confidence, panic, self imposed relief, panic again, and then actual relief. But each semester, it feels different. Every semester, I’m certain that this is the semester that I’m finally going to crash. My classes are harder this semester, I have worse teachers, I’m less prepared, etc. Those things are often true, but just the same, at the end of every semester, as surely as spring follows winter, my grades are perfect.
This pattern has not been lost on me but sadly, it has produced little confidence. My prayer every semester is “God, please, please, help me pay attention in class, and do my work and remember all I read. Help me prepare well for my tests and make the best use of my time. Let me not disgrace you while doing that. Help me understand the material”. Each time I say the prayer, I say it as frantically as if I would fail. Each time, I don’t know what to think. Sure, God has answered my prayers every semester since I began school, but what if this is the semester in which he has other plans? What if he doesn’t like the classes I’m taking. What if he thinks I’m too complacent. What if he wants to teach me something to the detriment of my grades. Spring came last year and every year before that, but what if it doesn’t come this year? It’s possible, right?
I realize now that the fact that it is possible for thing to be different this time is no indication that they will and no reason t0 fret over them. But the fear feels valid every time. This semester, I’m still dealing with depression. I have three classes requiring group projects and I’m working a little on the side. “What if I can’t do it?”, I think. But then I remember that God is faithful and regardless of what happens, I’ll be just fine. Spring always comes. But even if it doesn’t, God will still be there. And I’m always safe in him.
Related Post: The Faith of a Child