Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
He who began a good work in you will continue. Will you? He’s committed. Are you? Will you step up each day ready for whatever life brings—and face it head on? Will you keep getting up every time you fall down? Will you continue doing your part, knowing that He always does His—and that He’s already done that which He promised you long ago—will you do your part and keep your promise? Will you step up to the daily faith-plus-work challenge? Will you face your fears, knowing it’s easier to run and hide? Will you honor Him and keep your promises?
These are all questions that you must ask yourself and answer each day. Daily we make decisions. Daily we commit or we don’t. Daily we stare down fear or give into it. Daily we put in the work or we scrap things up and call it a lazy day. Our actions or lack thereof is the free will that we often take for granted.
Today, I host a live webinar, as the gateway to a new course my company is introducing. I’m nervous because I made the decision to make some changes, adopt new technology, and try something different and unfamiliar. Every week I teach college courses online, and every week I host live online seminars, but why does today’s webinar and the upcoming class have me nervous?
I think it’s two reasons:
First, it’s because, at the colleges where I teach I have the luxury of having two tech support teams: one for the platform where I interact with my students, and one for the software that I use from the textbook publisher. But with this webinar and upcoming course, I have limited support, through the tech support teams working for both platforms. I haven’t been adequately trained on how to navigate the ins and outs of these platforms, and I haven’t been using them daily—like I do with the platforms that I use to teach my college courses.
Second, I have a textbook to use to build ideas for assignments and projects. I can build my curriculum off of the topics and subject headings in the textbook. I can build my curriculum off of the course objectives outlined by the school. I have a textbook to reference and tell my students to read. I have other opinions and experiences to share besides my own.
However, with my new course that my company is offering, I am the textbook, and I have to find complementary secondary sources to support my opinions, and provide different perspectives. My curriculum is truly 100% from scratch. I am responsible for creating the course objectives and standards.
It’s scary to think of all of the what-ifs that pop into my head: What if the curriculum is too intense? Or not intense enough? What if only one or two people enroll? Or what if no one enrolls? What if the course sucks? What if the webinar doesn’t spark interest in the attendees, and none of them sign up for the class?
Here’s the truth in both of the fears that I mentioned earlier:
1) If I spend as much time learning these two new platforms like I did the platforms I use to teach my college courses, I will master them just the same. I’m a techie. I’m a problem-solver. I love troubleshooting. I love learning. I take pleasure in learning new things. So I will commit the distraction-free time to learn what I need to learn, and build my confidence daily.
The truth is, I rarely turn to the tech teams for help with the platforms. I resolve 99% of the issues I face. That means my fear about this new technology is only a distraction. It’s a distraction to keep me from persevering, from pressing forward, from being the best me that I can be, and from serving those that God called on me to serve.
2) Textbook schmeckbook. Who cares? I have students read textbooks to gain access to a different perspective. Okay, and I have them read articles found online. I also have them find articles online to read and find alignment to the course topic and weekly discussion.
My new course is just pivoting and giving me more opportunities to share my professional experiences, tie in case studies that I personally know the ins and outs, and I can be more creative and innovative. There are no restrictions, except the capacity and capabilities of the technology that I’m using to deliver my curriculum.
3) It’s my brand not my employers. I’m not restricted. I don’t have to align. The standards, objectives, metrics, and assessments, are all created, set, and measured by me and my team. I can be as bold as I want. There’s no grades, just my feedback, and their ability to apply what they’ve learned. Their success from doing the work, is their grade. I’m not responsible for managing a student’s level of participation, attendance, etc. I don’t have to do outreach to academic advisors to intervene on a student’s behalf. Those who come to learn and apply that learning will. Those who don’t, won’t. It’s just that simple.
I can just pour out of me all that God has blessed within me. Heck, I can even speak freely about God, without the awkwardness that I feel in the traditional academic setting. I can teach things that I’m not currently teaching, because now it doesn’t matter if my institution offers the class or has an opening for me to fill. I can teach whatever I want through my company. My courses can be as long and as intense as I want. I can collaborate more freely.
I truly can have the best of both worlds. Teaching learners with different needs, objectives, and motivations. It doesn’t distract, detract, or conflict with the work that I do at the colleges. There’s no conflict of interest. Just a different place and space for me to reflect God, demonstrate what He asks of me, express fully all that is needed, all while challenging myself. I can give more of myself because now I’m expanding my vision.
And what about the what-ifs that I mentioned?
Yeah, so what if the curriculum flops and the course sucks? I will do as I do with every class that I teach, use my students feedback to improve. I will come back better the next go around.
If only one or two sign up, then I will work that course with the same focus and intensity as I would with 20 to 50 students.
If no one signs up for the course—I will use the time to gain feedback from those who heard about the course, and apply that feedback for my next, revamped offering. I will keep tweaking and tweaking until I align with the needs of potential learners. But giving up is not an option.
All of these what-ifs are distractions rooted in fear.
What about these what-ifs:
What if the curriculum and course is so dynamic that word-of-mouth spreads and registration numbers is in the hundreds each time the course is offered? How awesome would that be?!?
What if the webinars, advertising, social media follower reposts generates so much interest that my registration numbers have 20, 40, 80, or over 100 people signed up for the course?
What if the demand for my courses has me cranking out curriculum and creating numerous courses, building the content for my own books that are published, and providing me the opportunities to reach and serve more people than I ever imagined? What if?
Those are the what-ifs that I want to think about an entertain. The faith-filled questions, not the fear-based ones.
My Challenge to You
I challenge you today to challenge every fear-based question and distraction that comes your way, that surfaces in your mind. Challenge it and replace it with a faith-filled response. Declare with confidence that “God’s not stopping and neither am I!”
Father, thank You for holding my world in Your hand. Thank You for never letting go of me. Thank You for giving me faith and strength— and for encouraging me with Your love so that I don’t become fainthearted when facing the troubles of life. Thank You for always speaking to me, both gently and stern, with direction and reassurance—reminding me that You are always here, always watching, and always waiting for me to do my part. Thank You for giving me reasons to smile each day. Thank You for each day that I rise. May I hold closely Your words and promises and rebuke the words and luring of the enemy. In Jesus’ name I humbly pray. Amen.