It’s crunch time! The clock ticking, your brain reaching exhaustion, and silence overtakes the classroom as your classmates attempt to finish the last exam before the start of winter break. You know once you put that remaining answer down, you will feel something like the feeling you get when you are hungry and broke, but happen to find enough change for a McChicken from McDonald’s. The emotions felt are a mix of relief, satisfaction, and pure happiness. So, the excitement builds as you come to the last question. The last solution to the exam marks the end of the long hours spent studying, the end of painful learning and one step closer to reaching your goal- finishing school. At last, you wait for your final grade and hope the urgency to finish the exam did not cause you to fail.
Similarly, we face problems every day, some even come with a time clock. The clock ticks, exhaustion strikes, and everyone around is silent trying to figure the answers to their own personal problems. Often, we become desperate for a break, we need it for our own sake. We have spent hours, even years, learning how life works. Sometimes, however, it feels as if it is not enough, so then, we research for answers in books, counselors, psychologists, doctors, teachers, religious leaders, family, and friends. Sadly enough, the final answer still lies on our hands.
In my journey of finding solutions to my problems, I noticed a pattern. I relied on the opinions of others, as if their opinions were always better than my own. Consequently, I struggled for dear life to voice my thoughts and feelings, I wanted others to decide on my behalf; it served as my comfort. I figured if I failed, I could blame it on whoever decided for me. A perfect excuse to not face failures- it did not work. I still faced the consequences of the decision. To clarify, I am not discouraging seeking advice, or having any kind of support system considering the amount of help it is to have support.
As mentioned above, I faced an unhealthy problem. I was distant from understanding my uniqueness and trusting it. No one understands our needs better than ourselves. I now have understood how difficult it is for others to comprehend my life to the detail I can. Taking back the control I gave others over my life, became a battle with myself. Realistically, I still struggle sometimes in being a self-reliant person, but life taught me a valuable lesson: I am the answer to a problem. I realized my thinking, skills, personality, and everything else about me are tools I need to succeed. All the troubles I face in life are preparing me for something bigger. The harder the struggle, the stronger the breakthrough, the greater the blessing. The problem solving phases we all face throughout our lifetime will take us to new levels of growth that will ease resolving the more complicated obstacles. In simpler terms, all the little issues we face in life, are learning lessons that will give us the answer to the final question of life, the one answer that will take us to the greatest success; a fulfilled purpose.
We will prosper when we are fearless to voice our thoughts. If we stay within our own lane, we will make it to the end of the race faster. Now and then, we can become distracted looking at how much greener the grass is for others and maybe even envy the life they have. At least, this was true for me. Even if we had them or the most successful people deciding our life for us we would not find happiness. In reality, we will always lack satisfaction when we do not know the reason for our existence. Nothing will make sense if we are not making use of our own talents for what they are for. For example, we might try to land in the medical field when we seem to work better in the business field. We are attempting to walk in shoes that do not belong to our feet. How can we find contentment in that? We are under-using our skills and wasting our energy, we will fail if we juggle tasks not assigned for us to tackle. I trust in a perfect designer (by a designer, I am referring to the God of all creation). We all make conclusions on where we come from, but I prefer to consider a greater being as the artist behind our design. Life is more fascinating knowing how complex our brain was (designed). Our mind is not only a carrier of ideas, it also leads our bodies to give life to our thoughts. If we can fill our minds with positive thoughts, I believe we can change the course of many life problems. A brain filled with healthy and productive content, resembles an iPhone loaded with apps; it’s convenient, and the convenience makes our challenging lives manageable. My faith showed me to view life as being meaningful; my future depends on the choices I make every day. With that said, having others decide for me was only harming me. My learning and growth hit a roadblock; I was only suppressing my own abilities; walking in circles, delaying my breakthrough and becoming bitter with people for not “helping” me. I held my opinions and decisions in a mental bondage. Each time I met another life problem, I found it difficult figuring a solution on my own. Even more annoying, expecting an answer to fall from the sky. The fear of failure terrified me.
The attention I gave to the opinions of others, resulted in fears of failure. I felt a need for people to accept me, when I did not feel welcomed it became challenging to withstand- sound foolish? It was. Again, living a life dependent on others and their opinions. Fears disabled me, the famous “what if” questions tormented me. “What if I humiliated myself?”, “What if I were unimportant?”, “What if I were insufficient?” Well, what if I was just focusing on lies and drowning myself for nothing? In fact, I was. On a day of bible reading, I came across Psalms 139:13-16, It felt as if a blindfold fell off, some of the words in that verse injected in me the dose of self acceptance I needed. If you are struggling to accept and trust yourself, I will share with you the verse:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.- Psalms 139:13-16 (NIV)
Did that not make you smile? King David; a man with many flaws who understood he was a masterpiece in the eyes of the One who made him, wrote Psalms 139. His confidence was up to the rooftop! He was fearless, therefore, prosperous in everything he did, it led him to become King of Israel. In other words, having faith gave David the courage to conquer his battles. Like David, having thoughts that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, has kept my mind away from fears of failure. Who would not trust anyone who is fearfully and wonderfully made? I needed to grasp on this belief: I am enough to speak out the solutions to my struggles. If I failed, I had another bible verse prepped up ready to conquer my fear:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.- Romans 8:28 (NIV).
If that is not uplifting enough, then I suggest grabbing a pack of cookies, a cup of milk, and rereading that verse until it becomes engraved in your heart :). The good news, there are no right or wrong answers in life; all things will work for the good of those who have placed their full trust in God.
With confidence, we can conquer anything! What I hope you take away from this blog, is the point that you are the answer to a problem. Live life as an answer, not a problem. Focus on the end prize, you are on a journey of learning, soon you will answer the final exam question and the rest will be history! Above all, stay away from distractions, keep your eyes on what you have longed for and work with diligence to make it there. You know that feeling of satisfaction, relief, and happiness we all long for? It is just around the bend. Will you trust yourself enough to walk yourself there? Let yourself go from relying on the opinions of others, this pathway is your own. Take it and make it a beautiful journey.
“You will truly be free when you stop caring what others think”- Joyce Meyer