Sunday, March 23, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid, for I Am with You...

Not too long ago (2-3 years), I struggled with testing anxiety. ((For those who don't know, I'm enrolled in a program called CollegePlus!. Part of the program generally means taking CLEP exams and DANTES.)) You see, after failing a couple times, the whole process terrified me.

After my second fail, I was shaken to the core. I did not want to reenter that testing center only to fail again. My pride was bruised and my confidence was battered. The pressure I put on myself was nearly unbearable. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was drowning, so we took a break. I was in the middle of some co-op classes, and we were preparing to move. It made sense. I took a total of nine months off. When it came time to start back up, the anxiety returned. I purposefully postponed taking tests and I wasn't diligent in my studies. 

I know what you're thinking. If I wasn't working hard, how was I supposed to pass? To be honest, I don't have a reasonable explanation for you. Fear messes with your head. I'm ashamed to say I let it take up residence for too long. I went along with this study method for about four months when the inevitable happened. I failed for a third time, except this time the blow was harder. Because I had failed it once already. 

I cried the whole way home. This time though, I was determined to make a change. I was determined to work as hard as I could to pass every exam from that moment on. I called on multiple verses to encourage me, particularly Phil. 1:6 and John 14:27. I drove fear out of my mind and spoke life. (Prov. 18:21) I drew closer to the greatest Comforter of all and since then, I haven't failed once. 

Thankfully, with time I have found a working method for my studies. I also found God's peace to be calming and assuring under the pressure of passing. Without Him, I don't think I would have made it this far. He's worked miracles in me and I am eternally grateful.

To kind of draw this post to a close, the moral of this story-if you haven't already guessed-is this: Don't let fear in. Fear is not of God. He doesn't want it for you or me. He told us to be strong and courageous for He is with us. I have learned it is better in the end to lean on Him when I am weary and to cast my cares on Him when I am burdened. It makes all the difference.

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."
-Deut. 31:8

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