Post-secondary education while still in high school was introduced while I was a student. That was in the late 1980’s, and I decided to participate in this experimental option my senior year. I’d always gotten good grades and I was an independent worker, so it seemed a no brainer. I could take two college classes to the seven at high school for the same amount of credit and at no cost to my family. It would be one step closer to adulthood, or so I thought.
On my first day of classes, I left extra early only to drive around the campus parking lot for an hour searching for a parking space. I gave up and parked in a nearby neighborhood, running several blocks and the length of the parking lot to get to the building. I was late to my very first college class.
I opened the door which was at the top of the lecture hall. It creaked as I saw that the only seating still available to late-comers was in the front row. I made my way down the auditorium steps and excused myself as I climbed over others to an open seat towards the middle. It felt as if the eyes of the entire class were on the back of my head and the professor gave me a long, deep stare. He wasn’t going to forget my face. I melted in my embarrassment.
At the end of my classes, I returned to my car to find a parking ticket tucked under my windshield wipers. The day had not gone the way I had envisioned.
I arrived earlier the next day and even earlier the following, but the parking situation never got easier. I began to skip class when I was late. The thought of walking down in front of all those people froze me in fear. Needless to say, I was not ready for the adult world, and I decided to return to my high school to finish out my senior year, like a puppy with its tail between its legs.
Fear and anxiety are feelings I still battle. They creep up behind me as I recap a conversation, hoping my honesty hasn’t offended. They taunt me as I look at my calendar and see all the activities I’m juggling. Should I give one up? Should I let go of a dream or a goal? They pounce on my insecurities and tell me I should just stop trying!
Fear and anxiety grow when we stand still frozen in fear. They grow when we give them permission to multiply in our thoughts.
I’ve come a long way from that girl afraid to enter the classroom. My fears are quite different than they were back then. Now I’m more afraid of not trying. I don’t want to miss out just because I couldn’t push myself forward.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
God can help us with the strength to put one foot in front of the other, even when we feel unsure. But we still have to choose to step out.