Overwhelmed: A Feeling I’ve Forgotten

I start grad-school on Monday.  I’m taking three classes.  Tomorrow night I am playing a show at 30/30 Coffee here in Peoria, which will likely end up being the very last show I play in my lifetime.  I’ve been playing solo shows for the last 13 years of my life, and with bands since 1997, and I am pretty confident this will be my last one.  I haven’t played one in almost a year, and with school starting on top of everything else I think that part of my life is done.  I am leading worship at my church on Sunday, and in two weeks am playing music at a wedding.  I am teaching a class through November at church.  On October 15 and 22 I will be doing a training at a church in Macomb.  On October 30th, I will be In Dallas putting on a conference with Crescent project for 5 days, and the following week I am going to another conference in Denver with my wife.  I have two jobs, a wife, and two kids.  And today, for the first time in about 11 years, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

The reason I feel overwhelmed has little to do with all of my upcoming activities.  I feel overwhelmed because I read a class syllabus.  It’s been years since I read a syllabus, and I have never read one so in depth as the one for my upcoming Leviticus class.  I’ve traditionally always felt overwhelmed by syllabi.  I remember every single one I have read since I started college in 1999, and those memories came flooding into my mind as I read this syllabus today.  I freak out every time I read a syllabus.

I’m not exactly sure why.  I think its insecurity, or self-awareness, or the sheer amount of work that it seems my classes are going to entail.  I think, “How in the world am I ever going to accomplish all of this at the same time?”  The funny thing is, I’ve always been able to do everything that any syllabus I have ever read has required of me.  I always do the work.  I always find the time.  But right now, I can’t fathom it.

It’s so much work.

I’m trying to remind myself of my successful undergraduate work.  I’m trying to remember college again, and how I maintained a 3.5+ GPA throughout my college career while working and getting married in the process.  I’m trying to tell myself that I am a good student and that I can do it.  But its so big.  And I want to continue to do my best in all of the other areas of my life.  I want to be a (marginally) good husband and father.  I want to invest in my relationships.  I want to do by best in my jobs.  I want to keep exercising.  I want to keep volunteering as much as I have in the last 3 years.  And I want to be a good student.

But I’m not a good planner.  I do best when I can adapt to life’s twists and turns.  I don’t do great at planning ahead.  I don’t like planning.  But now life requires me to plan every moment of my life.  If I don’t, I will fail.  And I’m afraid of failure.  I’m afraid of finding out that I can’t do everything.

Things are about to get really difficult for the next three years.  God, please help me make it through.

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