Exams are finished. As of today, my seminary education is half-way completed. I meet that reality with equal amounts of excitement and trepidation. On the one hand, though I like learning and am enjoying my studies, I most certainly not a person who’s cut out for years of studying in an academic setting. I’m excited to ‘get to work’ again. On the other hand, I’m acutely aware of how much I yet need to learn. I’m already anticipating the mistakes I’ll make in ministry as a result of either not knowing enough or being more sure of myself than I ought to be.
As I think about it though, I wonder if that isn’t a good model with which to approach life in general – with fairly liberal doses of both excitement and trepidation. Excitement about new challenges and experiences. Excitement about all the good things that life brings – laughs and birthdays and backyard barbeques. And yes, even excitement about successes that I’ll have – times where either I or my kids will say or do the right thing.
But the trepidation is always lurking in the background. Trepidation about all of the firsts that new a new experience brings. The times when I’ll say or do just the wrong thing. You know, all of those things in life that keep us humble.
And that’s exactly why trepidation can be a good thing. It’s forces to me stay humble. To not get too full of myself when things go well. As strange it at may sound having a feeling of insecurity now and again is just what I need to make sure I am secure – not in myself, but in Jesus. For me, knowing that I won’t always get it right takes the pressure off.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very concerned about doing it right and doing my best, but I’m also fully aware that sometimes (maybe even most times) I won’t get it right. Being overly humble rather than overly confident about my abilities will help me be able at admit my mistakes rather than defend them.
As soon as I don’t have enough trepidation in my life, is when I think I ought to start being worried. But I face those trepidations with the confidence that I don’t face them alone. God is right there with me, in the excitement and the trepidation of life. My confidence lies in his ability not my own. So, bring on the trepidation and enjoy the excitement. Life offers plenty of both.