This is a guest post from Nastasha Cklamovska - a 21 year old accounting student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia who is also a second degree taekwondo black belt (how's that for an interesting combination). If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Tests, assignments, deadlines, speeches!! The list goes on and on for a student like me. God knows I try… try to do well, try to please my parents, try to excel in what I’m doing with the hope of one day doing a job that I “love.” Oh and yes, I forgot to mention I try not to worry too! Yes, all these things God knows… but it was one day when He showed me just how much I did NOT know.
I had a speech due for an accounting unit (can I get a BORING up in here?) the first Monday back after the mid-semester break. And – in the true spirit of university life – it wasn’t until the last weekend of the 2 week break that I gave myself a kick in the pants to actually start writing the speech.
So it’s Saturday morning and I have two days to get it done. But it’s not just any Saturday morning – it was the most picturesque day with beaming blue skies and greener than usual grass. The birds were singing and the trees were dancing to the sway of the wind.
In case you didn’t guess already, I’m a nature person. That’s my thing. I love nature, spending quiet time outside, being attentive to God in every gust of wind, so you’d think I’d be extremely happy this day, right?
The usual peace and joy I would have in the morning while reading my Bible was negated by the gnawing thought in the back of my mind that I had to sit down and start putting together this speech.
Then I started feeling uneasy… I became consumed by a wave of anxiety that I didn’t even understand myself. I’d say to myself “I’ve done hundreds of speeches throughout my life – why on earth was I so nervous about this one? And besides last minute work is usually my best work! Why on earth am I so worried!”
But I couldn’t escape the feeling. I was worried all weekend long. Not only that, but I was so anxious that it even prevented me from writing or bringing myself to even start! All the worrying paralyzed me. What should have been a beautiful weekend turned into quite a long one – one filled with worry and a lot of last minute writing and hoping and praying that I’d make it through.
Monday morning arrives! Time to make my 30 minute drive to school. I leave an hour earlier in order to avoid any possibility of being late. On the way, I usually make a stop at the local coffee shop for my routine morning coffee – the same stop I’ve made hundreds of times. But this time…
MY CAR WOULDN’T START!
That’s right…you heard me… I got my coffee, got back into the car and the CAR WOULD NOT START! Not only would it not start but every attempt to jump start it by nice strangers failed as well!
So I called the roadside assistance (in my case, parking lot assistance) but by the time they arrived it was too late. Class was over and I never even got to do my speech. And as I sat there reflecting on that long weekend of nothing but worrying it hit me like a ton of bricks! I could almost feel God laughing at me!
“Why did you worry? Did you add one cubit to your stature?” (Luke 12:25) I felt Him saying. “My Child, you spent a good 48 hours worrying your spirit and yet all those hours I was offering you peace and rest – all this blessing that you missed out on because you were too focused on your earthly cares and anxieties you lost sight of Me, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. I knew tomorrow your car battery would die and you will go nowhere – so why did you waste your time and your peace? That was time that you could have spent loving Me and peace you would have found in being still and knowing that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)”
“Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.” – Brother Lawrence
I can’t say that I never worried ever again but I can truly say that when I do worry, I think back on that day. I think of what happened to me and I laugh – peacefully knowing that it is not me who is in control, but Him. Why should I waste any time worrying when I can use that time better in loving Him? Talk about a cure for anxiety!
I eventually got to do my speech the following week. And that extra time of anxiety-free preparation allowed me to do exceedingly better than I would have had I done it that first day. That’s the sweetness of God; He gave me a second chance and empowered me to do exceedingly abundantly better – after I repented of my worry and anxiety and learned to relax in His goodness.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned to focus on Him despite anything that could worry me because no matter what fears or anxieties are in front of me, my God who is behind me will always be greater.
For discussion: what can you do to put the worries/anxieties of your life into the proper perspective?