Panic attack. I can’t do this! I don’t know as much as all these other people know! While struggling with these thoughts, I take my place in the classroom full of strangers. Tenaciously I look around noticing telltale signs that they too are uncomfortable. Seeing fixed smiles, nervous twitches, tapping feet, I wonder – facade of security? Anxious about this experience? Is their first-day anxiety as intense as mine? These nervous jitters are about to defeat me! It’s time to be moving beyond insecurity.
Moving Beyond Insecurity
The word adventure is a main-stay of my vocabulary. To my ninety-eight-old mother-in-law, I propose, “Let’s have an Adventure.” To my grandchildren, “You wanna’ go on an Adventure?” To my husband, “I need an Adventure!” The Bible says, “this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” I tend to think of this verse as an invitation to have an adventure.
Some adventures are exciting, some not so much. Just as “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, so is adventure to those who choose to approach the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. An extraordinary adventure I launched just before my fiftieth birthday, was the return to full-time college student status after a thirty-year absence. This adventure, though exciting, held ingredients of fear, insecurity, and a great amount of anxiety.
Anything out of our ordinary routine offers plenty of fertile soil for insecurity to grow and thrive. When I recently attended a Writers Conference, some of those same insecurities popped up. I happened to meet a couple of the speakers just before the event began and was amazed that the students would not be alone in a bit of first day angst. It reminded me of a journal entry I had made as a senior adult in the college environment nearly twenty years earlier.
The Three Vantage Points of Insecurity
The Students –
- One student, though smiling, continually picks at an almost invisible blemish on his face.
- Another student seems to be anxious that his embarrassing tremors might begin at an inopportune time.
- Is the boy seated in front of me thinking about his poor writing skills, wondering if he will feel foolish in front of his peers?
- The girl across the room appears to be thinking only of the rejection I observed only moments ago when in the hall her boyfriend broke-up their relationship.
- A quiet young man seated in the corner seems to be feeling inadequate about his physique as his gaze darts back and forth to the body builder seated beside him.
- One student appears ill-at-ease because she alone represents her race.
- The foreign exchange student sits tall, pensive, and quiet. Is she worrying about her faulty English skills?
The Teacher –
- The teacher approaches the classroom with first day jitters – experienced though he may be, he knows each new class evolves a little differently than the one before. There’s that unknown element as he faces the new class. Is he concerned at all whether we, his students, will like him? Is he as prepared as he hopes to be as he begins his lecture? And the students . . . we all sit here wondering about the teacher. Will he be clear in his method? Will he be fair? Will he be interesting?
The Class –
- I begin to realize we all have insecurities of one sort or another.
- We each possess some wonderful strengths and feel high levels of confidence . . . each in different areas.
- I begin to feel less vulnerable, more energized, and am discovering a growing confidence with this thought. This is the day the Lord has given me to return to college…to rejoice, and to have an adventure, and to be glad in it. From my individual strengths and weaknesses, I will boldly approach this new learning experience with an adventuresome spirit.
- We as individual students will tackle the assignments with an enormous amount of energy and we will all grow into a group.
- We will succeed and we will learn. All our unique insecurities will pale against the brilliance of the accomplishment of learning and new academic achievements.
- We will gain strength as we each recognize our individual frailties and move beyond our own insecurities.
- We will recognize that we are all unified in purpose, we are learners in life; we are pilgrims. We are masters simply because we have dared to take the risks of simply being students.
- We have embraced learning as an adventure.
- We have moved beyond our insecurities.
God promises that I’m never alone, and that He stands with me and will keep me in all places. Sometimes these places are simply new experiences where I might be feeling uncomfortable and a bit insecure. It is in those moments that I pull from the resources of memorized scripture and discover He is speaking confidence into my life.
Have you ever experienced a time when you almost missed an adventure simply because you lacked confidence or felt insecure? Whether your calendar for today is booked with routine, mundane, or stressful activity, how about making it an adventure? How about moving beyond insecurity and making today an extraordinary adventure?