He said, “Everything you love has a beginning and an ending.”
You might read that statement and say, “Duh, of course.” You’d be right. What I couldn’t stop thinking about was how so many of us struggle with beginnings and endings, forgetting they are regular parts of life.
Do you like new beginnings? Some of you do, but I suspect most don’t. Starting a new job can bring up high anxiety. So can the start of a new school year, especially at a new school. (By the way, starting a new school year isn’t just anxiety-producing for students. It’s tough for parents too.)
So, why do we get anxious when we face a new beginning? Probably because new beginnings are a step into the unknown, and we don’t like the unknown.
I spoke with a high school graduate recently about starting college. I asked her, “What makes you excited, and what makes you anxious?”
She was able to say what excited her very quickly, but she surprised me when she said what made her anxious. Now, this is an extremely talented, personable, and successful student. Yet her responses included: “Who will be my friends?” “Will they like me?” And, “Will I be able to handle my classes?”
It’s similar when starting a new job.
If it’s not your first job, you have the skills and knowledge you’ve been developing throughout your career to that point in time. You’ve been successful in your previous position, and your new organization hired you because of those skills and experiences.
However, starting a new job makes most of us anxious because we don’t know our coworkers yet, how they handle orientation, or what processes we’ll need to learn. We might not even know where the bathrooms are!
What are the common threads in beginnings that make us anxious? First, I believe we have a natural desire to be liked by others. Most of us go to some length to make sure we “fit in” in order to make friends. Some even try “too hard” at it.
The other is we have a natural desire to succeed in whatever we do, whether it’s school, work, sports, music, or really anything.
What can you do to reduce the anxiety you are feeling in those new beginnings? Start with a look at yourself. What’s not to like?
We often don’t like ourselves, but we need to. Don’t look at the outward self (your hair, your clothing, or other elements of your appearance). Look at who you are as a person. Learn to love yourself.
You are God’s child, and he doesn’t make junk. Look what is written in Scripture: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14).
We forget God created us in His own image, which is awesome. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
Then, try to stop thinking about the past.
If you enter a new job, but you keep relating it to the old one—or start the new school year focused on the past year—you won’t be able to receive the new gifts God has in store for you. And your new co-workers or classmates won’t want to keep hearing you say, “When I was…” For them it’s about today. Now.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
And last, remember that God allows anxiety in our lives so we can shift our focus from what we do to what He does for us.
When we rely on him instead of ourselves, there is no limit to what he can do on our behalf!