About this time every school year my eyes got heavier and the days got longer, because I felt overwhelmed, tired and apathetic. I needed a break from mid-terms, final preparation, reading, papers and homework.
Now, looking back on all my anxiety, I realize that it never helped me accomplish much, except misery.
In Matthew 13 Jesus says that some people are like seeds thrown into a patch of thorns. When they begin to grow, the thorns and briars choke them out. Jesus says that the suffocating thorns are “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches.”
In this world anxiety about schoolwork, future jobs, and grades feel far more real to us than Jesus. So, we deceive ourselves and make these things into idols; we daydream about better grades, the semester ending, or our future success.
This surface level anxiety (about school stuff) motivates us by promising a deep idol, like success, security, or control. We feel anxious about tests, because good grades promise us job security. We feel anxious about grades, because we want people to think we are successful. We feel anxious about our future plans, because we feel helpless until we control our future. You’ve made all of these good things (grades, future plans, excellence on tests) into ultimate things and now they’re suffocating you.
So rather than merely repenting, “God I’m sorry for being anxious and making my school work into an idol…” Repent of the success, security, and control you were actually worshipping.
Then, no longer choked, deeply breath in Jesus Christ: his sacrifice on the cross gives you perfect security, he will never lose you or let you go. His death gives you comfort, because you know that the best things are still to come, and that he transforms the hard things now into good. His death lets you relinquish control, because you see that he is a far better master than you are. His death makes worldly success look empty–what’s more satisfying than knowing that your creator loved you enough to die for you?