Repeat As Needed: "It's Going to be OK"


Off and on for the past week, I've felt vaguely anxious.  I haven't been able to pinpoint why, or particularly about what, but I've been the slightest bit off.  I mentioned it to my husband, who said that he felt the same way.  Then he added, "The semester is starting soon.  We're in that holding pattern again."

Light bulb moment.  My anxiety was merely a byproduct of looming unknowns.  I'm waiting on updates from colleagues; I'm creating four different syllabi; I'll meet new students and experience new classrooms in less than two weeks.  All the while, I'm immersed in the daily summer (non)routine with my kids, so my preparatory work for the semester is done only when I can steal small segments of time.

I don't know how I didn't identify this pattern more clearly.  I always feel this way before a new academic year starts.  More importantly, given that I've started over a dozen academic years before, I also know that the details always work out.  The new courses get planned, the new students become familiar, the new schedule is learned, and good things come from it all.

It all works out.

So, when the anxious feelings return, I tell myself, "It's going to be okay.  This is normal.  Keep working, trust God, and forge ahead."

It makes a difference.

At the same time, off and on for the past week, my middle daughter has acted out.  She snaps at people for no reason, storming our house in a volatile huff.  We talk one night as I'm tucking her into bed.  She's feeling vaguely anxious, too, and she hasn't been able to pinpoint why, or particularly about what, either.

She and I work through the same process.  School is starting soon.  You're waiting to learn your teacher, and you want to know if your friends will be in your class.  It's normal to feel a bit nervous.  But remember how you felt this same way last year?  And the year before?  And remember how it worked out?  You're going to be okay, kiddo.  

And then we pray.  I thank God that she'll be assigned the right teacher, even if it's not the preferred teacher.  I thank God that she'll have the right friends with her, and if it doesn't seem that way, that she'll remember that she's never alone, that God goes with her.

Together, we'll repeat this as often as needed, until it rings true:  It's going to be okay.

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