Failure is a concept that I do not grasp very easily. I consider myself to be incredibly productive and have a list of goals and dreams that I am so passionate about achieving. I sometimes find it difficult to discern that point where I am walking in step with God or if I am pushing doors in my own strength that are clearly not meant for me.
I have been in a season of confusion and I will admit, a lot of pain. The number of times I have questioned if I heard God correctly has been many. I have had days of feeling erratically emotional and days of numbness. It took me a good few months to lay down the expectations that I clung to so tightly and surrendered them to A God who I know has my back.
I told myself Thailand was my forever home. I was on track to build a project that matched my passion with social action. I was pushing my body daily in the hopes of claiming podium places in competitions and I was attempting to act the role of a social butterfly.
The thing with trying to do everything is that one day it catches up with you and you realise that there is still unrest in your soul.
I came back to the UK exhausted, depleted, and beyond confused. What went wrong? How could I have failed so epically?
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
Something I have come to discover is that when you come to the end of yourself, God meets you in such a beautiful way. He had a thing or two to tell me but I needed to come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness.
Over these past 4 months, visions have begun to be birthed in my heart. Some dreams that had already been formed but had laid dormant were beginning to brew afresh within me.
When we feel we have failed, shame can begin to attach itself to us in ways that are hard to shake. When shame settles in our soul, it can manifest in ugly ways.
Brene Brown ( Shame and vulnerability researcher) tells us, “ Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” I can testify to this. I shared in a previous blog that I felt I had lost the ability to dream. It was only when being prompted by a coach, to set my soul back on fire, I needed to allow myself to dream big again. I wanted to see change around me and I wanted to be apart of that change. I could not let shame and broken expectations stop me from doing the thing I was called to do.
Letting go of the old
A part of my story involves dropping out of university when I was 19 due to both drinking and mental health problems. Another drop in the bucket of failures or so I thought. The shame I carried threatened to destroy me and yet just as always, God used this as a piece of his beautiful plan. Just like Joseph in the scriptures, things that were meant to do harm were turned into something precious. Ashes were traded in for beauty.
There has always been a burden in my heart to study again. I love to learn especially around areas I am passionate about. I invest much of my time reading subjects such as Psychology, gender, theology, and social justice.
I have not been able to shake the nudge that I have felt over the years and so after much prayer, I took a leap of faith and applied for a masters program The fact that I didn’t have an undergraduate weighed heavy upon me but the course grasped at my heartstrings with modules in counseling and pastoral care, chaplaincy, and coaching and mentoring. It was time I dropped the shame of the past and pushed a door that may or may not open.
As I write this piece, my interview took place yesterday and I was offered a place on the course to begin the end of August. Waking up this morning I am still in shock and awe. I never did imagine that after months of confusion and heartache, I would be embarking on a study program that addresses everything I am passionate about.
I have had to sit in a lot of disappointment and it felt like that many things were slipping away from my grasp but here is the thing I have come to learn. Control is quite simply an illusion. We can attempt to manipulate situations and grasp things so tightly but in the end, if they are not meant for us then they will either not stick or we end up walking through a door that was never supposed to open.
I feel at peace for the first time in a while. I feel a deep joy and excitement about stepping into an area that is sure to equip me in the areas I feel called to.
In my last blog, I talked about the 100 dreams that I wrote down to inspire me to be bold in my asking. I cannot wait to continue on this journey of adventuring along paths that I am yet to walk. My heart at present is to focus on my studies, my writing, and giving my life over to social justice in whatever way that looks like. I am exploring further into utilizing my gifts during this time and allowing God to whisper into my heart new desires.
Alone but not lonely
The road ahead is incredibly unknown and I think I am ok with that. This past weekend I found myself in London to meet with some beautiful people. On Saturday I had a day to myself to explore and enjoy the 36-degree heat that was beating down upon the big smoke. London sometimes has a way of making you feel overwhelmed, sometimes anxious. At that moment I felt like Peter walking on water and having a panic. I began to look around and see the hugeness of the situation I was in. I looked upon people sat in groups drinking after-work bevies. I felt lost. I did not feel rooted and it frightened me. Sometimes life can be scary especially when we don’t know what is ahead of us. We spend hours obsessing over if we’ve made the right decision and searching for some tiny bit of affirmation that we are on the right track. I think it’s important to have those moments and to be alone. After coming home that night, putting on the OC and balling my eyes out. I felt a sense of peace. It may not be an easy journey ahead but I made a decision that I knew was right for me. I felt empowered for the first time in a long time and of course, I had the God of the universe as my champion. To me, that’s pretty exciting.
As the days roll ahead and I prepare for new adventures. I look forward to the unexpected. My wings are being strengthened day by day and llike a little bird learning to fly, my heart yearns to soar again. The twists and turns of life are what excites me and I am convinced that beautiful things lie ahead.