Stopping by Nervous Boulevard, So God may be Exalted?!.
Ba-dum! Ba-dum! Ba-dum!
I could feel and hear my heart beat as I sat in the sitting area of the DMV office two weeks ago. My heart was almost beating out of chest (literally) and the more I tried to distract myself from my nervousness by focusing on something else, the more impossible it seemed. My mind was ‘tabula rasa’ and all I could focus on in that moment was the possibility that I might (more like would not) not pass the written test component of my driver’s license test, and this thought was followed by the “you will never drive or be able to get your driver’s license alarm!” And my thinking got worse from thereon, I had open the door to fear…
Every time the bell rang to announce the next person in line that would be attended to by a DMV officer, I would flinch a little and I could feel my heart nearly coming to a pause. This happened over and over again and all I could do was to start reciting Psalm 23 because I was out of options as to how to maintain sanity and I was only moments away from a heart attack. I think what made this entire experience ridiculous in that moment and in hindsight was that the feeling was not strange and I was no novice to experiencing nervousness in every milestone on this journey I call “Life.” Every time something significant was about to happen, I would take my rest at the nervous boulevard and sip few cups of anxiety attack before proceeding to the house of ‘praise and thanksgiving’ or the house of ‘better luck next time’… A lot of people are also familiar with this routine and it made me begin to wonder why do we get nervous? Why do we offsprings of an Omnipotent being whom are fully aware that we have a father who is always there for us get nervous? We know that he is the maker of heaven and the earth; the I am that I am, the teacher and greatest demonstrator of love and sacrifice. Yet, we incapacitate him with nervousness, doubt and anxiety? Or are these emotional states part of us? Have they been woven into the fiber of our being and no matter how confident and rest-assured we are in our maker, we must pay ‘Adieu’ and be humbled every time we are about to overcome a mountain. Are these emotional states the part of us that keeps us in check and in line? The part of us that reminds us that no matter how awesome and superfabulously fantastic we get, we are still only humans and there I say it, mortals?
Thirty five minutes after my arrival at the DMV office, the bell dinged again as it had times before and my number was announced. The moment was finally here, one critical part of my adulthood that I have put off throughout my teenage years even through college was now here. It was my turn to step in front of an examiner and ace my driver’s license sign test and written test! In reality, passing the test is not impossible because thousands of people have done it before me, but the hardest part of the whole deal was ‘not passing’ the test and having to walk out of the office in shame and in the self-loathing judgement of ‘failure’. I do not think that anxiety is purely caused by our mountains but by the fear of the possibility of not overcoming those mountains.
God was with me as usual as he is always with me and all who identify as his children and I passed my test!!! I was so elated that I hugged and nearly kissed the officer who attended to me. The part 1 of my driver’s license examination was now done and the following day, I was to come back for the part 2 of my exam, the very famous driver’s license road test. I would be driving beside an officer whom at the end of our drive, would either say “I am sorry, come back another day” or “outta girl!” The truth of the matter is that it is not the end of the world if “I am sorry…” was the result, it’s just a test that I can retake over and over again until I get it right, but failure was not an option that anyone choice fully selects. I felt so victorious passing the first part of the exam that I could not picture myself not dancing out of the office again the following day.
The following day, I went for my road test and I waited for an hour before it was my turn. During this one hour, I resumed duty as I took rest at the ‘nervous boulevard and took a cupful or two or three of anxiety attack while waiting my turn to be announced to take my driver’s license road test. Even though I had danced out the same office a day earlier during which I had proclaimed to God of how AWESOME I KNOW he is, that I BELIEVED HE IS ALWAYS with me and that I am untouchable with him as my father, I was now basically demonstrating to him that I could no longer feel his watchful presence only a day later. That alone is a message for another day. The whole nervousness and anxiety routine was in effect and every time the bell ranged, my heart took on a different rhythm and I nearly passed out.
In hopes to distract myself, I started reflecting back on my life on all the major things I had done and all the pivotal points in my life. I remembered starting each and every single one of those journeys very nervous and anxious. Going to college, first time singing in front of an audience, first time I gave a lecture/presentation in front of an audience, first time I shared my cooking with family, and then the first time I did so with friend(s), first time I walked into my classical guitar class, every time I am taking an examination, and so many firsts and mountains. I also remembered that at the end of every one of these occasions, I always end up singing my heart out to God in appreciation for his faithfulness or I go home and work harder, and then do the singing later. None of my failures have become the end of my world or the end of grace and growth.
So what is it about nervousness? It happens so often over and over again and I am yet to meet an individual who is immune to this emotional state. It is both an emotional state and response, a way our body deals with an uncomfortable situation and it is an emotion that reminds us that after all, we are still humans. I think God wired this important state in our being as a constant reminder that he is our father and we are his children and no matter what, he has our backs. We grow in character, in faith and in humility each time we stop by nervous boulevard because at the end of its street, we would be dancing our way through hope lane after conquering our Mount Sinai or Everest. Nervousness keeps life interesting and keeps our head down. We are able to be grateful for things and feel sincere excitement for things prayed for, hoped for and mountains conquered. God is able to remind us of his faithfulness consistently and we are able to be humbled by our creator. So why do we get nervous over and over every time we are about to cross over a milestone, conquer a mountain in our lives or fight a battle, It is so that God would be exalted at the end. It is so that his promises may be reinforced, because in him and through him alone, we can do all things through him who strengthens us….