I'm graduating. This is a double-edged sword. I'm caught between triumph that I now have a BA and am employable by the liberty movement's standards, and also drowning in despair that I spent lots of time and money on a degree that is essentially worthless. My friends are getting real jobs, and I'm begging for other people to send me halfway across the world to do something I've never even done before. What if I'm a terrible English teacher? And even worse, what if I am so crippled by homesickness and culture shock that I can't venture out of my apartment to "do ministry" in my downtime? That's missional failure!
So why am I doing this, again? The LSAT prep books sit unopened, unfinished Perspectives homework looms, and the burden of all the stuff I've accumulated feels like it's perched on my shoulders instead of hidden away in the closet. I am overwhelmed and immobilized. For the first time in this whole process it is occurring to me that this may have been a very bad idea.
This of course becomes cyclical. I hate feeling badly; more than anything I cringe at that pit in my stomach, the flutter in my lungs, the heaviness in my chest. Emotional swervyness translates into physical nausea. I create and indulge a learned helplessness from my incapacity, and all that is undone is left undone. Which creates more guilt and bad feelings. Which creates more avoidance and procrastination. The doubt sounds over and over, "You who are so ineffectual in your comfort zone, how can you be of use anywhere? How can your light be good enough for export when it is not even good enough for local consumption?" Valid, cutting questions.
What can break the cycle? The lie is challenged in this: I am not helpless! The guilt cannot cover me!
When I feel sick to my stomach over relationship anxiety or when I see my shortcomings as a daughter and a sister, He is there. When I miss opportunities and shrink inside of myself, He is there. When I am shrouded in doubt or when I am steeped in defeat, He is there. His grace means I am given a reward I don't deserve. My feeble efforts are returned to me as His refined results. I am a mess. And lo, I am not meant to remain that way. But because transformation is a plodding hiking trail and not a flashy teleportation, His grace covers me, and will cover me, continuously, unendingly. In my topsy-turvy, my incompetency, my confusion, He is true north. His kingdom is still coming.