Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Screw School

I decided yesterday to drop the class I was taking and wait another semester before trying again. At first I was excited about the class and thought I could do well in it. (a little background here--it has been a LONG time since I've done well in any college class.) It's Homiletics II, or Preaching/Sermon delivery. Kind of like a speech class, except about God and his Word. No papers, no exams. Do-able.
But I was late to the first class. And I missed something.
There are weekly assignments (I found out from my roommate, who was NOT late to class).
The on-paper assignments are what get me every time.
I got a stomach-ache.
If I withdraw now, I won't lose $1000 when I fail. I don't think I'm ready for this. I'm tired of failing, and don't think I have the strength to fight as hard as I will need to to break my pattern. I'll wait till next semester. Sure, it will be longer till I graduate, but at least I'll be strong.

I felt SO relieved after I made up my mind about that. Like, I CAN BREATHE AGAIN!!!!! So I called Robin to tell her I wouldn't be in class, and she didn't accept my answer. Come tonight, she said. Talk to the professor, tell him your concerns. Isn't this the time to break your patterns? And other stuff like that. I finally agreed to come to class...but I wasn't making any promises. I still did not plan to stick it out, I just didn't have the strength to defend my decision. In class, the prof (Dr. Watson, I presume) asked if anyone had prayer needs. Two different people asked for prayer because they felt totally overwhelmed about school and work. Hello!! And so it went. By the end of the class I'd cried three times and was no longer as sure about my decision. I went home totally discouraged. I didn't see how it was possible. I'm going to fail if I don't withdraw NOW.

I talked about it at DBT today and came no closer to any kind of decision. Some people said, Do you want us to just sit here and let you give in and quit? and others said, You know, maybe one semester more is what you need, and then you'll be ready. Maybe you're just not up to it. I was so frustrated, I felt violent.

On the way home I was trying not to think about it. I turned on the radio and tried to put it out of my mind. A song by Barlow Girl came on, called "Mirror" and I was transfixed. It went like this:
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Have I got it?/'Cause Mirror you've always told me who I am/ I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect/ So sorry you won't define me/ Sorry you don't own me Who are you to tell me/That I'm less than what I should be?/Who are you? /Who are you?/I don't need to listen/ To the list of things I should do/I won't try, I won't try Mirror I am seeing a new reflection/I'm looking into the eyes of He who made me/And to Him I have beauty beyond compare/ I know He defines me You don't define me, you don't define me"

And I decided to finish the class.

I don't have to preach to a packed-out crowd. I don't have to preach well to anybody. I just need to drop my pride long enough to try. I need to lose the idea that I Must Succeed Or I Suck.

I'm not God. He doesn't expect me to be, but he does want me to throw out my self-sufficiency and depend on him.

Am I foolishly setting myself up to fail? Maybe, but I don't think so. Can I do it for Jenni? No. I'll never be good enough for her. But I CAN do it for the God who made me and loves me unconditionally. When I do my best, he is pleased. So I will.

Now, about that homework...


Anonymous said...

WOW...Jenni you rock. Not because of what decision you made but because you were so open, honest, and brave. I want you to know you inspired me...I am dealing with a situation right now, and you're honest and upfront story helped. You will be in my prayers!

Keep me posted -

Becky said...

Jenni im so proud of you!! I know you will be able to finish this class b/c you have the right attitude about it! I love you!!

word to your mother said...

J, look at you have a breakthrough in your thought processes. I am continually impressed by you. I LOVE you!!! And I'm praying for you! Always!

Anonymous said...

You are brave Jen! God will honor your truat in Him. He wants to be our sufficiency[is that a word?] You know what I mean, we don't have to do it alone. He WANTS to help us! I have trouble remembering that too. I believe He really works best when we throw ourselves on the floor, crying, and tell Him we can't do it without Him. Then He is free to pick us up, brush us off, and bless us with His love, strength, wisdom, grace and whatever else we need. God is Good! M

Emily said...


I must say... I was responding to you the entire time I read that. I was thinking, "Well... I SUPPORT Jenni, but.. I don't agree..." Then Robin's words echoed mine... I'm proud of you. And remember to call me and yell at me about sermons... you certainly got enough of that from me. You ARE a preacher, girl, whether you want to admit it or not. It's not about failing or succeeding - it's about doing church differently, remember? Hitting the issues people are afraid to talk about? Being HONEST and REAL. You, out of all the people I know, are one of the best at that.

God takes that and it blesses him, J. It truly does. And when we bless HIM, sometimes we get blessed in the process.

Thanks for your transparency. It's the only way we can be with you.

melissa said...

My sister is so amazing! Bravery is not the absence of fear and apprehension, but pushing on in spite of it. I am supremely proud of you, not just for following through, but for doing it for God and his glory. May you learn much in that class, whether things turn out perfectly or not!
With all sorts of love!

Anonymous said...

Well, in case you don't know who "anonymous" is in this is your roommate who is too at work to get an identity. Anyway, I am very proud of you for the steps you made today. Thinking you can succeed is one HUGE step in the right direction. Failure is okay...but giving it(or anything) an honest effort is what makes it okay. But anyway, (insert a big hug here)(and a good round of applause) for giving this a shot. I have a feeling you have people around you that will help ya out if you get in a bind.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm lifting you up in prayer, I am sure I am not the only one - (we need to get together soon...) Britt

Amanda Lee said...

I guess wow is the only answer I can give... I am going to pray for you... thanks for the walk the other night... :)

Anonymous said...

So who just preach their own very sermon right there? hmmm hmm? YOU andI might add - a very good one at that! Very conviciting..sometimes the hardest person to convince is yourself...I will be praying for you..and i love you very much! - shoes on :0)

Barb said...

Wow, J bird, you are awesome. i love your honesty and your openness. I'm so glad I've met you. And, if it weren't for you I'd have given up on DBT a looong time ago. Here's a tho't for you tho - you mentioned something like you couldn't do something for her (meaning Jenni) but you could di it for Him (meaning God). Why? Isn't faith in a Higher Power just a way "passing the buck," so to speak? It's like saying "I can't do something (don't have the `faith' in myself to be able to do something) BUT if I put `faith' in a Higher Power `ouside myself' then I WILL be able to do something." Do you see what I mean? CAN you do it "for Jenni?" with as much conviction?
Oh, and by the way, maybe the sky ISN'T "blue." We've been TOLD that it is blue and so our mind only allows our brain to see rays of light that are blue when we look at the sky. Remember, light is actually Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet combined together to make White - which is the presence of ALL color. Think about it. I want the sky to be Orange - now if I could just convince my mind to see the rays of Orange when I look at the sky!
You are cool, Jenni! I love you, too!
aka Queen Astarte