My Irrational Fears in Writing
What if I get lost in the Charles de Gaulle airport? Wait, what if I get lost in the JFK airport?
What if I have completely forgotten all the French that I ever knew?
What if I destroy my EdTPA project? Because then I won’t officially graduate from Cedarville. I won’t even be a legitimate teacher. Naturally, I’ll also be irrationally frustrated with myself.
What if I’ve completely forgotten how to teach English? I might get into the classroom and completely choke. What’s a participle? I don’t understand what you’re saying: what is this characterization and plot development that you speak of?
What if I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat? I might end up complaining more than my colleagues care to tolerate. I mean, Niamey is hotter than Freeland, MI, but I’m not even going to be there for the hot season.
What if I’m completely awkward and ignorant when I try to interact with my students and the various backgrounds and experiences that they bring to my classroom?
What if I get lonely and overwhelmed and frustrated and all I want to do is hide in my apartment? What if this “adventure” that I thought God was calling me to ends up shutting me down instead of opening me up?
What if I really did mis-hear God? Maybe I put words in His mouth, pushing my own agenda of traveling and adventuring and attempting to be brave. Maybe.
But what if I actually trusted God? He has been so faithful to me directly, to my friends and family, and repeatedly through Scripture. If I truly trusted Him the way that I say I do, the way that I so want to, then would I really be sitting here iterating the misfortunes that might, maybe, possibly occur in the next four months? I do want to trust Him. I’ve recently been reading through Isaiah, and God has overwhelmed me with His promises, His faithfulness, and His redemption. This verse in particular has comforted and quieted me in my more rebellious, fear-filled moments:
Isaiah 42:16 (ESV)
16 And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
Yes, I’m the blind one in this situation. And God knows that, yet He still chooses to use me. Even though I possess a potential to fail. Miserably. God still wants to use me as a tool to make His name great. Because He is a God who uses the weak to shame the strong.
When I get overwhelmed with my ridiculous “What ifs…?”, I have found three main ways to find peace.
- Dwelling in God’s promises, like Isaiah 42:16.
- Listening to truth that God gives me via my close friends and family.
- Praying for other people.
So these last few days (yes, days) before I board a plane for Niamey, I have been praying more for my future students, colleagues, roommate, and friends at Sahel. Besides humbling me, my fear has done at least one beneficial thing: it reminds me to pray.
Also: I leave in three days.
Disclaimers: Mme. Grandouiller, I’m sure that I’ll remember more French than I think. And to my future colleagues, I’m certain that you are more patient and gracious than my fears are telling me. To my education professors at Cedarville, you have adequately prepared me for the EdTPA. To Mrs. Messer, I assure you that I do still remember how to teach English.