When Fears are Stilled

In Christ Alone copy

These pieces are inspired by one of my favorite worship songs, In Christ Alone, by Natalie Grant. Here is a little excerpt of the first verse:

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

Whenever I hear this song, I am reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness. So I thought it would be appropriate to continue my blog post series following God’s providence in my undergraduate life (senior year is quickly approaching!).

Learning to Fail

Prior to UC Berkeley, I attended Arcadia High School, known for its notorious AP and music programs. It was a place where all students were immersed in competition and the pursuit of perfection. When I arrived at Berkeley, I found nothing short of that same atmosphere.

If anything, I thought that the competition in Berkeley was equivalent to the Arcadia High School drive multiplied by ten. In class, I was sitting shoulder to shoulder with valedictorians and individuals who have received near perfect scores on their SATs. In short, I felt quite inadequate.

In addition to the added pressure to perform, the difficulty of Berkeley classes was on another level. Arcadia High School has the reputation for preparing their students really well for the rigor of college classes, as most of my high school peers began finding college classes easier than high school. I was jealous of such peers.

A class I particularly struggled in my first semester at Berkeley was Chem 1A, otherwise known as General Chemistry. In the semester system, General Chemistry is typically squeezed into one semester, whereas in the quarter system, the curriculum is spread out over three quarters. Everything was extremely fast paced, and I truly thought that the study skills I was so proud of in high school was no match for what was expected of me at UC Berkeley.

I did fairly well on the first midterm for Chem 1A, but when it came to the second midterm, I received a 43%, which rounded up to a D with the curve.

I have never received an F (technically my 43% would be an F) in a test I studied so hard for in my life! As the semester dragged on, I became gradually more doubtful of whether or not I even possessed the academic talent that the admissions officers thought I had by letting me into UC Berkeley. I began frantically drafting worst-case scenarios, calculating hypothetical test scores, and mentally preparing myself for summer school, or the possibility of a C on my first college transcript. I even got to the point where I contemplated if I should switch to a non-science major. Especially for my major, Nutritional Science Dietetics, GPA is really important for getting into graduate schools. And unfortunately for Dietetic Internship applicants, most of the Dietetic Internship programs are unaware that difficult science classes exist at UC Berkeley, and thus they do not factor this in when they look at GPAs.

In midst of this self-doubt, I begun to look towards Jesus Christ. I realized that everything is always perfect in His timing, and that if I failed Chem 1A, then I would have failed knowing that it was in my best interest –perhaps science wasn’t my calling after all. As a finite human being living one second at a time, I acknowledge that I don’t have the ability to see the bigger picture. But because Christ is omnipotent and infinite, He has the ability to look out for me in my best interest. Once again in the song, as the song In Christ Alone declares:

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

Only in Christ alone, do I have such confidence.

P.S. Special thanks to ChristianCreative for featuring these pieces! Check out their post here.

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