Thoughts about thoughts about thoughts about school

It is easy for me to suppress my confidence in my own abilities. I have no problem acknowledging that there are ALWAYS people better than me. I think people would agree this statement in their head but deep down it doesn’t really affect the way they think and act. For me, it hits me hard. Does anyone else feel like this? If it’s a Christian impulse, then why don’t others also act more humbly? Even in my comfort zones, I go through moments where I tell myself and remind myself that I’m not cool, that there are people better than me, that I’m only here because God has allowed me to. When all those thoughts “take their toll” on my soul (i.e., my pride), I end up being quiet, restrained, stoic, perhaps I even have a look of concern on my face. And I worry that to others I don’t appear to be happy. But is it wrong to let these things affect me so much?

I talk to some people in my class whose attitudes make it seem like everything is just fine, and I come away with torn and conflicted feelings. Are they just more laid back about not doing all the reading? Some, I think, are just better at spontaneously sounding intelligent and contributing to meaningful discussion in class even when they’ve spent half the time on the reading as I did. I talked to one of my “devout” friends recently. Earlier this year, I was humbled by his reliance and trust in God. But in this recent, brief conversation, when I told him there was too much work and so little time and that I didn’t know how he could do law school on top of raising kids, he just said, “I don’t know how anyone does it.” For some reason, it was frustrating and unsettling to hear him be so…nonchalant about everything. Maybe he thought he was sympathizing with me, but here I was, tired, worn out, staying up late and waking up early, with probably fewer responsibilities compared to him, and I didn’t feel like I had good control of this semester. You seem to be doing great. You got good grades last semester. You have a law firm summer job as a first-year. You seem to be much more on top of things than I am, even if you say you’re behind in one of your classes. Even if I don’t get good grades, there’s always God, he said. But I ask myself, does he ever suffer or struggle like I do? Sure he works hard, but does he ever experience the anguish that I do when I find it hard to keep up with school? Does everything come easy for him? Can he truly empathize with me or can he only just act like he does?

I know in the long run, yes, what he says is true. My identity is not in my grades, and God will use me for His kingdom regardless of how I do in school, even if I don’t work as hard as I want myself to. But for me, when I am struggling, the thing that will most comfort me is a heart that tries to understand my position. Sympathy. To try to understand my difficulty in what I am dealing with. This is why it is often not classmates but people outside of law school who encourage me the most. If ever they wished they could do more than say they would pray for me, they should know that sometimes that is what I want to hear the most. To know that they will appeal not to their own wisdom but to the wisdom of the God who knows exactly what I’m feeling and what I need–that is the greatest encouragement and source of strength.

I feel like a horrible student when I nod off in class. I have real trouble staying awake, even with caffeine. My body decides it just doesn’t want to stay awake. As the drowsy feeling gradually wears off, and as I struggle to get my head back into the lecture and realize what I’ve missed in the past 10-15 minutes, I feel like I’ve been disrespectful to the professor, unfaithful to my studies. I feel like a total loser as my classmates’ eyes look bright and they ask questions that show that they’re following and processing everything, whereas I feel like a pile of poop. I just want to lay down and sleep. At the end of class, I feel like a zombie. I feel like I am not doing a good job. I want to work hard…but there is a physical limit. Pretty frustrating. But God can use even narcoleptics for His glory.

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