So this next installment of thoughts from my brain is more personal rather than political. Just a way for me to get some things from out of my head and on to a piece of paper (or in this case, on a computer screen). So anyway, here goes:
I am afraid.
Not of the election, not of a person, not even of this coming school year. No, what I am afraid of is after the year. True independence for me as an adult: bills, insurance, taxes, etc., alongside seminary and other personal conundrums.
You see, I know I’m lucky. I am very aware of the state of my circumstances. I will be able to graduate almost debt free from my undergrad thanks to my dad’s GI bill, and I haven’t had to pay a bill yet in my life. Trust me, having gone into poorer communities and poorer countries, I know how INCREDIBLY lucky I am, and there is nothing anyone can do to convince me otherwise. I am afraid that my lack of experience will be my downfall. That I will have been so used to this that going into the real world will break me down and apart like nothing else can.
I don’t know how to shop for insurance of any kind, I can’t do my own taxes, and I certainly can’t tell you how to find a decent apartment of any kind. In other words, in the real world:
I’m utterly useless.
Now, I can learn these things (and trust me, I intend to) in the future, through finance classes and mistakes and all sorts of experience, but for some reason that doesn’t make me feel any better.
After this year, there will be some HUGE decisions to make, ones that I am terrified to make by myself, but ones that have to be done. I know I’m financially screwed for the rest of my life as being a pastor doesn’t pay that much at all. I also know I’m not alone in this thought. A number of my recently graduated friends from college have expressed similar sentiments, so I’m positive that I’m not alone in anything I say here. I’m 21 years old for crying out loud! If this is the hardest my life gets, then damn, I am the luckiest man alive. If not that, then God must be intensely helping me in so many ways, just like He does everyday.
But I’m still afraid.
I know what is expected of me: to put my fear and my worry into God’s hands and have Him guide me through these next, incredibly stressful, nine months, but still: When you have anxiety as a symptom/cause/co-conspirator of depression, these things bounce around in your head like nobody’s business, and it almost feels like they’re shouting at you for being a failure at basic adulting.
Joshua 1:9 (NRSV) says “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This one verse has stuck with me for a long, long time. Mainly because of a VBS song, but still, a long time, and has become a comfort to me in times of such panic. It may not make me completely better, but knowing that I am not by myself in these thoughts among peers and knowing that while right now I’m useless in the real world, I won’t always be. And even though I feel afraid, I know that God is there beside me. Maybe not taking my fear away, but helping me to control and combat it in so many ways. Personal decisions and financial responsibilities be damned, I have a God that won’t let me stray, a family to help support me, a girlfriend who loves me and keeps me sane, and friends to make the journey SO much easier. I may not be useful now, but I’m definitely not hopeless. There’s too much to look forward to in the future and so much to do in the present that fear can’t control me or dictate how I react.
And it sure as hell never will.