The year had been full of events, deadlines, accomplishments. I was working hard teaching English in a private school, as well as tutoring from home. Simultaneously I was working on a diploma in Russian Philology and a Cambridge Proficiency Certificate in English. On top of this, I was leading Christian meetings at a university center and an English Speaking club. It was a full schedule and I loved it.

And then there was my graduate thesis. I had been working on this for the entire year, collecting material, analyzing information, asking teachers for advice, rewriting parts, etc. By the end of February, I thought that the main work was nearly complete, with only details left to finalize. How disappointed I was to be told by my mentor that my “masterpiece” did not hit the mark and that I should redo it from scratch!

Until then I had been managing everything fine, teaching in the mornings and afternoons, and studying in the evenings and weekends, and somehow even meeting up with friends. But now my little world was ruined. I had just two months to redo the paper before submitting it at the beginning of June. In a month and a half, I would take the English exam. My school class would also be sitting year-end exams in May, which in itself meant more work than usual—finishing books, filling in forms, updating student records, etc. I was overwhelmed.

By the beginning of May, I felt worried, stressed, incapable, almost depressed. Then, perhaps unsurprisingly, I got physically sick. I was in bed for a week with bronchitis, high fever, and a very bad cough. In this place of forced rest, I read the Bible, prayed, and simply had talks with Jesus. The biggest lesson was not to worry or stress about things. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t work. It’s not worth it!

Recovering my strength, I rewrote my thesis and successfully defended it. All my students passed their exams, and I finished the school paperwork on time. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass my Cambridge exam. It was a pity, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I will prepare better next year, hopefully without as much stress.

Looking back, I am thankful for the time of sickness that reminded me that I should always take time to communicate with my Boss, to ask for His wisdom, knowledge, and peace of mind. That’s the “antidepressant” and “anti-stressant” I need the most.

Mila Nataliya A. Govorukha

Mila Nataliya A. Govorukha does missionary and volunteer work via an NGO in Kharkov, Ukraine.

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