Stepping Into The Great Unknown

Aug 19, 2023

It was known simply as a number…

4.13. An infamous number.  The course number for General Chemistry.  University of Iowa.  August of 1995. Freshman year for me  And at 8:30 AM on Monday of the first week of school, it was my SECOND class of the day.  Yep.  You heard correctly!  When you get the last orientation date and the second-to-last registration slot, you get 7:30 AM Rhetoric Monday through Thursday.  So you make the dead sprint to try to get a seat for day one of 4.13. Full of nervous energy, paralyzing fear, and quite honestly out of breath and sweaty from running in the early morning heat.

To find out there are no available seats…

As the three professors who co-taught the class stand in front and start their boast.  They drop the hammer that this is a weed-out class.  “As you can see, there are not enough seats in here.  Lots of you want to be doctors and engineers and dentists and physical therapists.  Reality will set in over this semester and with this class. Not to worry, there will be plenty of seats available when it is time to take the final.”

Sheer terror ensued..

I don’t know about you, but I was always crazy overwhelmed the first week of school.  New syllabus (several).  New schedule. New expectations.  New routines.  How would I possibly survive?  How would I get it all done?  Truth be told, I have always thought that if I could just get dropped in by helicopter or time machine into the second week, all would be good.  Routines would be established.  Overwhelm would subside.  Deep breaths would have been taken.  Sheer terror would result in mild duress.

Perspective would set in…

And I would realize that, in fact, it is going to be ok.  It is going to be ok.  Again for those who can be slow learners like me… it is going to be ok.

Truth be told…

I struggled in General Chem.  All semester.  It was brutal.  Four tests.  Each worth 25 points.  A 50-point final.  The whole class was worth 150 points.  And I got a twelve on the first test.  A twelve!!! And i was a point above the mean!  And the professors were right.  Room for each of us to have a chair between the next person for the final.  A lot of dreams and plans were altered thanks to 4.13.

But I went through it…

And i was better for it.  I could have quit.  I could have dropped it when I got that first test score.  I could have said I don’t have what it takes.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t try to go around it.  I smashed through it and stepped into the great unknown.  And God redeemed the heck out of it.  Why?  Because I committed to doing a hard thing and hit a pretty deep low when I saw that first test score.

And that is where I truly discovered it…

God’s strength was made perfect in my weakness.  Had I cruised through 4.13, I wouldn’t have needed God.  Or at least I wouldn’t have perceived the need.  But I got low, asked for help, and overcame.  Through my dependence on him.  I was stronger because I went through it. And God did his thing.  And it was beautiful.  And terrifying.  And crazy.  And I am NOT interested in going back.

And no one else knew my struggles…

I kept it all to myself.  I struggled in silence.  And wow.  It had power over me!  I told no one about my fears or uncertainties or worries.  I just tried to gut through it.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been the best about being honest with how I am really doing.  Much better now, but it hasn’t come easy.  But if we don’t ever talk about it, it has power over us!  And it holds us captive.  And we can’t reach our full potential if we are being held captive by fear.

What are you facing right now?

We take Jace to school today.  He is facing a new chapter with all the thoughts and feelings and concerns and unknowns.  And Amy and I are facing a new chapter.  A new routine.  An empty nest chapter.  With unknowns, concerns, fears, all of the things.  I am sure thankful we have been intentional about dating each other the past 26 years!  Or this would truly be the great unknown for us!

But all of this is new…

And if you are facing something new, please know this- YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  Don’t keep it to yourself.  Find someone to talk to.  A trusted friend.  A spouse.  A sibling.  A parent. A counselor.  A pastor.  Tell it to your Heavenly Father in prayer.  And let some of that power of oppression be replaced with true power!  Going through adversity and unknown is when God shines!

When life is easy…

We forget our dependence on him.  We easily miss it.  We sometimes have to have weakness to truly see his strength.  So whatever unknown you are facing, you do not face it alone.  You are not alone.  Child going to college.  New job.  Burnout.  New chapter of life.  A diagnosis.  Whatever it might be.  You are not alone.  So don’t try to face it alone.  I survived 4.13.  Whatever you have in front of you… you’ve got this!

If you are struggling with where you are in life and can’t quite figure out what’s next, let’s have a conversation.  You may be closer than you think and just need a little help to level-up and get to the next step!

If you want to read more about the scientific benefits of getting your thoughts out in the open, check out this article.  Freedom awaits!



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *