Not worrying has always been a struggle for me. I can easily become anxious about to-do lists, school, work and any incomplete task on my calendar. But, something changed when I began seminary. I worry much less than ever before.
Do I have less to worry about? No! On the contrary, I am much busier now than I have ever been. Between classes for my M.Div./M.S. in organizational leadership dual degree, two jobs, church, volunteer work and time with family and friends, I could feasibly have a lot of anxiety! Instead of fretting how to fit everything in and still be able to sleep, I worry less.
I wish I could say that worrying less comes from my complete trust in God, and from only great things happening in my life, but that would not be the complete truth. The past two years have, in fact, held some of the greatest tragedies my family has ever experienced. And, although I rely on prayer and personal devotion time to calm me down (my favorite verse is appropriately Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”), alone time with God does not always help.
What has changed, then, since I’ve been in seminary? My community.
My friends, professors and co-workers know how and when to give hugs, prayers, candy and times of rest and conversation over coffee or a meal. These friends have kept me sane. They have comforted me, cried with me, laughed with me and made me realize that sometimes it is okay to take a break from my computer and reading commentaries.
Without this community, I would be more anxious; I would worry more. Even though my friends and I may take too many “study breaks” during finals week, I know the time eases my anxiety and calms my soul. These friends and time we share are gifts from God—gifts that will help me be less worried and more productive if I only make room for them.
Rebecca is about to start her third year at McAfee School of Theology and is a CBF Leadership Scholar.