This week my daughters and I are returning to school. They, after an uncertain summer; I, after a 17-year break since receiving my Bachelor’s degree. When I was a kid, starting a new school year always brought a mix of anxiety and excitement. It was an 80/20 mix back then, but I think I can reverse those numbers now.
I look forward to learning new skills and meeting new people. I worry about being able to prioritize my time and fit everything in, especially if schools close and my kids have to join me in at-home learning.
Contemplating the unknown elements of our lives and futures often produces anxiety. Much of our mortal experience is beyond our control. But with practice, we can choose how we react to our circumstances and decide how to spend and focus our energy. Our influence for good is strengthened through faith and patience.
When we have faith in God and Jesus Christ, we begin to recognize their divine influence in our lives. Our faith grows in proportion to the time and energy we devote to learning about them through scripture study, prayer, and walking in Christ’s path. We believe that they know us, love us and have prepared a way to overcome temptations.
Christian discipleship requires patience. As children of God, we yearn to connect with Him and to return to his presence. As imperfect people, we are subject to anger, pride, trials, sickness, and a range of offenses perpetrated by others. All of these experiences have the potential to bring us closer to God or to separate us farther from him. The choice is ours.
Paul encouraged the Hebrews, saying, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doeth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12: 1-2, all Bible references KJV).
In the race of life, with all our obstacles and trials, it is easy to tire and lose hope. Patience teaches us to turn to God and allow him to propel us forward. Isaiah proclaimed, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary? ...He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their