My worst fear is the fear of failure. I’ve always held myself up to an impossible standard; if I even slipped a little bit I would reprimand myself.
After I graduated college in 2009 I had this nagging thought: how am I going to find my dream job and what does it look like? The only thing I was sure of is that I wanted to help children and make a difference in their lives.
I got my dream job in Florida working with a home for kids who had been abandoned or abused.
I thought it was God’s plan for me.
Everything I had been praying for, hoping for and dreaming for seemed to line up perfectly.
The night I packed up my neat little life in Tennessee was a blur. Although a bit nervous, I was excited. I was so ready to hit the road and get going. As I drove down the interstate I felt such a sense of freedom and the wonder of adventure and a new life ahead of me. All my friends and family were praying for me. Failure was NOT an option.
Then it all came crashing down.
“You aren’t the right person for this job. Goodbye.”
And the door was slammed in my face. I was devastated. Here I was all alone in a state where I knew maybe three people and 11 hours from any sort of familiarity or comfort.
The next few days I became a hermit in my apartment as I tried to process what was happening to me and what to do next. Sleep was a nightmare. Each time I closed my eyes my mind would race with thoughts.
God, why would you lead me down here only to leave me alone?
Everything I thought about God and faith had completed shattered. Everyone kept saying to me God has a plan, everything will be okay, we’re praying for you. While I appreciated it, I still couldn’t understand it.
It was incredibly hard to maintain perspective. I would get mad at God and then feel guilty for being mad because I had been told that being mad at God was wrong. Yet I felt completely abandoned and betrayed by God. I even began to question my belief.
Did God really speak to me or did I just make it up?
Job searching is brutal, but especially so when you don’t know that many people.
I had had a few interviews but nothing really came from them. I didn’t know whether to keep trying or just pack it all up and head back home.
My finances were stretched, my soul and mind stretched even further. I started to draw into myself and not speak to anyone. If I could just sleep it all away that would be great, I kept thinking. I kept praying but it felt like my words were bouncing off the walls of my apartment.
One day I felt a tugging at my heart to visit one of the churches in the area.
So I went to their Saturday evening service and I sat in the back, hoping I wouldn’t be noticed. I felt scared to be there, paranoid that people could see my failure.
The pastor spoke about the parable of the seed, how the seed represents God’s word and the soil represents our hearts. Some of us have calloused hearts as people who have grown up in church; our hearts become hardened and cynical and lose the wonder of who God is. Or our hearts could be shallow; our faith can be great at first, but when storms come we become outraged, wondering where God is and why has he abandoned us.
Then he said something that surprised me. The only way we can develop receptive hearts of God’s word, believe his promises, and regain wonder and awe is if we first become broken.
I was stunned. God knew I needed to hear this message.
Tears started to fall as I silently prayed to him in my pew in the back row, “Jesus please forgive me for my poor attitude and my anger. Please restore in me the sense of wonder and awe. Help me remember that you are strong when I am weak. Thank you for never leaving me and always being faithful.”
Through this whole process I realized that my heart had become so shallow and hard that I was unable to fully believe in God’s promises or fully experience his presence in my life.
God won’t leave us in the storms. He holds us close, never leaving or forsaking us. He has a plan for our lives, and for our hearts. Because of His everlasting love He wants to help us grow; we just have to keep our hearts open to Him. And I am so grateful to him for that.
Anna Kaye is a Tennessee Native currently living in Orlando, Florida. Anna Kaye loves to write about things that inspire and encourage others especially young women in their pursuit of learning more about their identity in Christ. Along with writing, Anna Kaye enjoys photography, caffeine and building new relationships. She blogs at http://annakaye-organizedchaos.blogspot.com/ and tweets @akgilbre.
[photo: AKZOphoto, Creative Commons]