Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just Breathe

I'm scared.

Nope. I take that back.

I'm terrified.

I don't know why it just hit me this weekend. Probably because I've been looking for housing options up in Minnesota, trying to figure out how this going back to school thing is going to work. The academic part I'm not worried about... but being 10 years older than everyone else there does. And I don't know why.

Bethel is a large school, with an undergraduate & graduate school plus a seminary. I don't know how many students they have, but I joined the Bethel network on Facebook to get an idea of what it's like a. The college network has over 5,000 members, and I grew up in a town of 300. I went to college in a town of maybe 2,000, and I currently live in a town of about 35,000. I lived in a fairly big city after right after I finished undergrad, and I did okay, I guess. I didn't like it there, but it wasn't because the city was big.

But this fear is more than just about being older and going back to school, and it about more than living in a big city. I just don't know what it is yet.

I've had a panic attack before. A few years ago, three in the morning, I woke up completely freaked out and hyperventilating. When it wouldn't stop, I called the only person I know who would be up at that hour and went to his place. It took him 2 hours to get me down off the ledge, but he did it. I'm forever grateful to my friend for doing what he did. It's a weird feeling, having a panic attack. It's kind of like being short of breath without exercising, your heart racing not pounding, and like you just drank nine cans of Mountain Dew. Your eyes begin to dart all around like you are scared of something in the room, and you want to look over your shoulder even though no one's there.

I never wanted to go through that again, and yet I had another panic attack on Sunday evening, on my weekly drive home. This one did not have the over the shoulder paranoia, but instead included tears. Lots of them. It felt like Wormwood was in my brain, planting all these seeds of doubts about who I am, what I've doing next with my life and that I would be better off... well [insert John Cusack movie title here].

The minute it happened I was able to take the thought and make it captive and obedient to Christ. My heart slowed, the tears left, and I felt peace again. I don't want to know how unsafe that was on I-80.

I'm still scared. I feel hard pressed on every side, but I know I will not be crushed; I am most certainly perplexed, but I refuse to be in despair. God knew I couldn't do it without someone else, though, so I'm thankful that an old college friend - a very close friend - got back into touch with me last week and is already giving me loads of advice and calming my nerves.

He is good. Even when it seems like everything else isn't.

2 comments:

ptg said...

I went to law school after a disastrous run at being a businessman. I was so old the university classified me as a non-traditional student.

Being 10 years older than your fellow students won't be a problem. It will be an opportunity. You'll see what I mean.

Kansas Bob said...

Not to minimize what you are experiencing Stephane but try to remember this from John Eldredge:

"The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It's the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the Enemy who knows who you could be ... and fears you."

Sometimes our journey can get scary because we have an enemy. Times like this are ones when we need to abandon the head games and lean into our heart - that place where can trust the Lord.

Blessings, Bob