Step One

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      I’ve seen it so many times before.  Class starts.  The students and I carefully talk through a lesson.  They answer my questions quickly and, often, correctly.  Then, moment of truth comes.  We turn to the practice page together.  Their eyes scan through all the questions that they have to answer…and then, “The Look” appears.

          Their eyes get big; their mouths drop open; and their throats release a long, “EEEEEEHHH?!”  And almost every time, even before I’ve given any instructions, they say, “I don’t know what to do!”  They instantly lose the confidence they had moments before.  All because they let fear tell them they don’t know the information.  We know that God does not give us fear, but a sound mind (one of self-discipline and self-control).  So, it is one of my missions to show students how they can overcome the fear of big problems and conquer fear of not knowing.  

        The Bible is full of practical wisdom that even the youngest student can practice to overcome fear in general.  One of the Bible verses I learned as a child is from James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  In this verse, God is telling us that if we just ask Him for the wisdom we need (no matter how big or small the problem is), He will give it to us without expressing disappointment in us (reproach).

          So, Step 1: Ask Jesus for help!  (He WILL give it to us.) Sometimes, that help is in the form of a person (parents, teachers, and friends or family).  Help can also come in the form of sudden understanding or a good idea.  It can also come from completely unexpected places…for instance:

“The secret is to break problems into small manageable chunks.  If you deal with those, you’re done before you know it.”

     This piece of wisdom was discovered in one of my favorite comics called “A Calvin and Hobbes Collection”, which was written by a Mr. Bill Watterson.  It is a comic about an ornery, young boy named Calvin, who tries to make the most of his life and has fun with his best friend, Hobbes.  In the scene I was reading, Calvin is explaining to Hobbes how he can complete a homework problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.  He explained that while some problems look too big to fix, all one has to do is break down the problem into smaller, easier problems.

     Once you have asked Jesus for His help, it is time for Step 2: break down the problem into steps or smaller tasks. Each step could be as simple as “Read the instructions carefully” to “Research the Sea of Galilee”.  This step is what generally causes panic. Again, remind yourself that you are not alone, God is helping you. All you have to do is try!  Now you are on Step 3: start reading the instructions; make sure that understand them clearly. (Try using a dictionary or Google to help you know the meaning.  Also try to take Good Notes when your teacher is explaining.  Always feel free to ask your teacher for help.  Sometimes, help doesn’t come, because you didn’t ask!) Then go to Step 4: question or paragraph one.  From there, trust God and be strong against the lies of fear that say you are stuck or don’t understand. 

     From here, all you have to do is keep making small steps until it’s all finished!  Every step you take, no matter how small, will get you to where you need to be.  Last tip that I have had to remind myself, and God has reminded me of also, is “I can do All things through Him (Jesus) Who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13)  I want to encourage you to go forth and conquer that assignment like the Scholar you are!