8/30/2015

Grace Trumps Fear

A new chapter began this week for me: college. And this adventure promises to take me on an exciting ride! But even during this first week, I've discovered fresh ways I resist grace yet also ways that God gives even more grace, grace that sets my soul as rest. But let me start at the beginning:

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Maybe I mentioned this before, but I was home-schooled up until graduating high school. I always tried my best in school and (mostly) didn't take the easy way out, even if it presented itself in a flattering way. I graduated with a 4.0 and a good twelve years of learning much more than factoring polynomials and why WWI started (which still seems fuzzy to me).

But I wondered, inwardly, if I had learned enough. I feared that I wouldn't be enough, know enough, or have enough behind me to handle college. I thought that the decisions and schedule would overwhelm me, and homework and papers would burry me in permanent studying (and for a girl that did very little homework in her life so far, homework is a scary concept). I feared not making friends and missing out on what they say should be the best years of my life.

In short, I feared college.

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And I don't think that I'm alone in fearing college. All of the overachievers fear the higher expectations and the ability to overachieve to a greater extent. All of the underachievers, though, fear being left behind and stressed even under a normal load. We fear growing up and making our own decisions. We fear going through the process of making new friends all over again. We fear that we may lose ourselves in this new environment, but dear friends, a thought just occured to me: 

What if we can find ourselves during these four years of college? What if we trust that Jesus is bigger than any fear, that He holds us, and that He shapes our futures and writes our stories? What if we chose to live in belief rather than fear, in grace rather than stress? 

That sounds wonderful!

But these questions touch something in us that we'd rather not think about: they reach deeper than our time management principles and dig into our beliefs, our identities. We sometimes prefer to listen to the voice of fear and not go to the root of the problem because that requires us to admit that we can't do this life on our own.

And so we try to satisfy the longings of our souls by checking off everything on our planners and getting ahead on homework, but these satisfactions last only until we turn the page to the next week. We put our identities into what we feel, if we feel liked or bored, stressed or rejected, and we let these feelings dictate our lives. We pour all of our efforts into ensuring good friendships and happy feelings, but these things will only satisfy until the fatal text or finals tests. And then where are we? 

I'm with you on this fear. You see, I put a little of my identity in my pretty pink planner with color-coated (pastel colors, of course) lists. I let my spirit rise and fall with my feelings and fears this week as I met new people and sat in new classrooms. I lost my focus more times than I gained it, and I exchanged eternity for an 18 month calendar.



But what if God changed me these four years? What if He formed me into a strong and grace-filled woman with a greater understanding of His kingdom? What if He helped me to let go of these fears to which I cling? What if He helped me find myself these years?

I want that. I yearn for that kind of life! Don't you? 

So what's stopping us? How do we live this fearless life?

You see, fear tries to block us from tapping into the source of grace that can transform what we believe, which will change how we think, which in turn would revolutionize how we live. And that source would be Jesus.

Silly fear, don't you know Jesus? Don't you know that Jesus is 

best, 

enough, 

beautiful, 

worthy,

grace, 

controller of time (for goodness sake, He created time!),

righteous, 

here. Here. HERE! 

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31. Please go and read the whole chapter, because I couldn't hardly pick just one verse to encourage you here!) 

College- not as big as Jesus.

Filled schedules- not going to overwhelm Jesus.

Uncertain relationships- can't shake Jesus.

Recurring insecurities- won't stand up to Jesus.

Step by step, day by day, class by class, Jesus whispers in my ear "Do not fear, I live in you." Will I quiet these fears enough to hear Him as I journey on through these college years? Will you put your soul at rest in His grace long enough to hear Him whisper to you, "Do not fear"?

Hush.


For if we let Him, God will use these years to shape us into beautiful workers for His Kingdom. We can approach our classes, not as just another lecture, but as an opportunity to learn something that might help us further God's Kingdom, whether this means that we help someone else pass the same class or we use our new skills to get a job and show grace to our coworkers. Jesus can transform homework into something of wonder because it shows us that we can learn, and that this learning, even if it seems pointless, will strengthen our characters and minds for His glory.

Believing in Jesus, rather than fear, clears our vision so that we can better see God's Kingdom and how we can be a part of it. Trusting Jesus, even when we don't feel like it, strengthens our peace in Jesus and His sustaining Gospel. Choosing grace over stress frees us to start living and then start helping others walk in Jesus as Jesus shows us how to follow Him.

He calls you out to a grace-filled life right now if only you listen to the gentle wind. So you, you reading this, whatever you face in life, don't let fear stop you from breathing in God's grace and living out His Kingdom! Do not fear, because Jesus is bigger than every fear. Do not fear because even though you can't do it, He can, will, and has already done it!

Hush.

Do not fear. 

Jesus is here!

And that changes everything. 

Princess Hannah 

9 comments:

  1. I've been to public school most of my life, kindergarten and first being the only accept ions as I attended a private school, I'm not in college yet, but school tends to overwhelm and scare me so much-- I've super nervous for the future. I still have no idea on what to major in and I constantly pray that something well would bound to happen, but I don't know. I hope the Lord guides you through all of the trials and turbulations that will come your way over the next four years. <3

    xoxo Morning

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    1. The future can daunt us until we realize that we aren't even the main character in our story, but a small part in God's Story that He writes for the world. He holds the future! But we forget that so many times, don't we? I can't wait to help you as you discover your future!

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  2. Bless you, Hannah darling! You put into words exactly what scares/excites me for college! The overachiever perfectionist that I am shrinks back and yet clamors for more opportunities to rise up and "be the best". But Jesus is whispering a different message in my ear ;) thank you for sharing what's on your heart and I can't wait to hear more adventures from college!!! Praying for you!

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    1. Yes, I feel you! I want to do everything and that very fact overwhelms me until I feel like doing nothing! BUT JESUS! Yes, let's cling to those words!

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    2. And I'm praying for you too!

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  3. YES! YES! YES! Dear Hannah, fear IS a crazy thing but YES, God is greater than our fears and it is always a HUGE testimony when we rely on JESUS to help us overcome our fears. You are right, college, relationships, overwhelm and basically everything else that is scary become nothing when compared to the greatness of our Lord Jesus.
    You got me all fired up (in a good way) while reading this post because I started an unfamiliar journey (entrepreneurship) too this month but with GOD's grace each day is a new and productive day.

    I hope you enjoy all the newness of college. It can wonderful experience and is a great privilege!
    xx

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    1. This comment is so encouraging Buki! So much truth! Because Jesus is greatest and leads us on an incredible journey of faith instead of fear! And I can't wait to see where your entrepreneurship takes you!

      Thank you for the comment and wishes!

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  4. "Believing in Jesus, rather than fear, clears our vision so that we can better see God's Kingdom and how we can be a part of it. " THIS. just wow. that really got to me.
    I could really relate to this post, as someone who just started college after being homeschooled her whole life. I sucked at school all through my life and Ive been petrified of college. I actually love it though. but there are days where I think Im going to fail. like when I fail a math quiz or get a poor grade on an essay. but God is with me. with us. thank you for that beautiful reminder. I cant wait to read more about how God uses you in college!

    princessfaithm.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment! And I just checked out your blog and can't wait to see how God uses you as well!

      God's love covers us, and we must never forget that!

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