My Anxiety Dream: I Fail College

As a college student, I took 18 hours every semester, maintained a 3.57 GPA in a highly competitive degree program and graduated a semester early. I’m not telling you this to brag but to give you some context for what I’m about to share.

Lately I’ve been struggling with multiple stresses, one of which is the loss of a major writing contract because of budget cuts. This has left me feeling inadequate, especially as I watch my husband juggle a full-time job and multiple freelance commitments. And because of my stress, my standard anxiety dream has reawakened from its lengthy slumber.

Most people have a recurring anxiety dream. For some, it involves the realization they’re not wearing pants in public. But mine is custom-made just for me. My anxiety dreams always involve failing in school. Specifically, it’s finals week, and I realize I haven’t attended a certain class all semester and haven’t read a word of the textbook.

Needless to say, that never happened to me. I was the one who sat in the front, attended all the lectures, read more than what was assigned and was the one to sit next to on test day. So this scenario is the source of ultimate anxiety for a nerd like me.

This tells me that, in my mind, I’ve failed. I have not lived up to the standards of others or even my own. I have disappointed the people who look up to me, and I have disappointed myself. But this is what God’s Word tells me:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

This is for my good and for the good of those I love who also love God. That makes me feel better about my situation. But another verse gives me cause to pause:

He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because He trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3

If my mind is not steadfast – if my anxiety is so pervasive that it’s infecting my dreams – can I be trusting in God? Or are my anxiety dreams showing me that my trust has been in my own abilities? What about you? What do your trials show you about where you’re placing your trust?

I cannot claim my perfect peace until I’m wholly trusting in the Lord. May my next dream have me rising up on eagle’s wings, running and not growing weary and walking and not growing faint. And Lord, please don’t ever let me lose my pants.