I am so encouraged, beseeched, and exhorted by Tim Keller’s sermon from yesterday, March 24th, 2013.  He preached about the need to “encourage” each other in christian community.  Paraclao (I think) is too strong a word for encourage, and yet too gentle for another word which I can’t remember.  We are to model ourselves after Jesus who is the first paraclete and Holy Spirit who is the second paraclete.  Only as we are advocated by the Holy Spirit of what Jesus has done for us that we can advocate on behalf of others: to encourage, comfort, beseech, advocate.  After I heard this sermon, I was inspired to write texts to many of my friends that I interact with daily or weekly.  Sent text to my boyfriend, my community group co-leader/friend, and others who encourage me.  I am so thankful, so thankful to be in daily interaction with one or more of such paracletes in my life, paraclete embodied in flesh and blood.  You have to speak in love and truth.  You can’t be all accepting of everything someone does.  Nor can you be too quick to critique someone.  Ever so gently, and ever so patiently, and humbly we are to encourage (paraclao) each other.  Have you acted as an advocate for someone you love today?

Fear of Failure

I’m afraid I’m going to fail a class that I am taking.  I’m not in a degree program.  I have a day job that pays some of the bills. I’m so afraid of failing the class, I can’t focus.  I can’t comprehend what I am reading…  At the moment, living feels like waiting to get a bad grade, which would be anything less than an A.  Where and how did I come to believe that anything less than an A is a failure?  Nonetheless that’s what I fear.  Anything less than an A would feel I was inadequate, not smart enough, not really the kind of student who could go onto do doctorate work and finish the degree…because I know I can start a PhD program.  Because I’ve been there and done that.  But could I get into another PhD program (when some people don’t even get into one PhD program) and finish the program?  Am I too old now?  Twenty years ago I applied to PhD programs.  Started a program the following year that I couldn’t finish.  This fall, I am planning on applying to PhD programs.  I’ve never been so uncertain of my abilities as when I think about whether I could get through a PhD program.

Only way I know how to combat failure is to pretend that I failed already.  Rather, to imagine that I failed already.  Then the rest is what I wouldn’t have had if I froze up in fear.  I’m going to imagine…