Starting is the hardest part. The unknown frustrates me. The fear is tempted to spread like wildfire. I’m tempted to run.
If we’ve ever had a lengthy conversation, you’ll know that I am a processor. I never respond without thought. I almost always keep my opinion to myself unless it’s warranted, and I feel safe enough to share it. Writing everything out feels like the safest, most measured way to spill my guts.
I’m nine days out from my first day of classes. I’m not really nervous, but I am anxious. I am excited, but I am also battling doubt. Something so normal as getting a college degree feels like a mountain of epic proportions when you are a full-fledged adult with a mortgage and kids. Like a mountain with a trail I’ve never seen, also one that I’ve admittedly thought to myself in times past, “Why would you do that?”
Yet here we are.
I remember four years ago when we were standing at the foot of a different mountain. The trail was one that I didn’t know at all. It looked like an uphill, difficult climb as we looked up, wondering how we would make it. But we knew it was the way. So we went slowly, one step at a time, fear at our backs, threatening to snake its way between us.
For a long time, I thought that mountain was simply one large climb to the top. My husband became self-employed, and he began building business from the ground up. I would pray often, asking God for the success and relief I longed for so I wouldn’t have to worry. But He wasn’t going to just hand it to us. And He certainly wasn’t going to neglect to teach me.
Eventually I learned more lessons that I was looking for. (Doesn’t God always work that way?) I learned that the mountain was not a singular uphill climb to the peak. We were entering a mountain range. We would scale one, only to find another on the other side. It would be difficult one moment and easier the next. And the more we walked next to Him, the stronger we became. It wasn’t that it got easier or that we had more money or success. It was that we became better equipped with each step, shoulders strong enough to bear the weight of our calling, hands calloused from holding on, able to withstand more and more as time went on.
I’ll admit: I’m tempted to run and quit this before I begin. I want to withdraw from the people who challenge me so I can focus on myself and how hard this might be. I want to put my head down and do this well, and I feel incredibly alone at the thought of it.
He’s always been honest with me, though. And as tempted as I am to go at this alone, put my head down, focus, and even run altogether, He reminds me of who I was four years ago. How she felt alone and didn’t have the right people around to challenge her. How she struggled. How she put her head down and forgot to look up.
Things are different than they used to be. I like to think of this moment in time, as I stand at the base of this ridiculous mountain (I’m going with ridiculous because it feels that way), I don’t feel like I’m going alone. He’s gone before me, and He’s coming up behind. And there’s a crowd of people with me with smiles on their faces that make me feel brave.
This is my measured way to spill my guts.