Onyx, Magic City, Or Follies?
As you may (or may not) have noticed, I did not post a blog on the second Sunday of this month due to feeling overwhelmed. I started a poem that I initially felt good about, but I haven’t looked at it since. I shared in my first blog post – “The End” – about anxiety that I experience. And let me tell you, it is a real thing that I am living through as I type and as you read.
I am currently in Grad school, one semester shy of graduating, but when I tell you that I often feel more distraught and discouraged than when I started, I tell you no lie! I came into this program sure of what I wanted to accomplish and the career I wanted to pursue. I just knew that this was a part of God’s plan for my life, and I was determined to succeed or exceed expectations. How hard could this be? I thought.
There is this one professor in particular that I struggle with. I have always been good at writing and work hard to become even better. Most of my past teachers would agree, and my grades have always reflected that. But chile, I’m convinced he does not want me to succeed or be at peace. I am currently in my third class with him, and I begged the Lord to let this be the last. I even emailed my advisor to see if any other professors are teaching the same courses. Not one answer from God and a hard no from my advisor.
To be clear, I’ve had difficult teachers before, so that’s not a big deal because I don’t mind a challenge, but he is impossible. With every paper, he has a problem. I will proofread, rewrite, and reorganize my papers until the bags have accumulated under my eyes, yet he is still not satisfied. And to be completely honest, it messes with my self-worth. I question my ability to write and have come close to quitting numerous times. I even researched other possible career choices.
Magic City, Follies, or Onyx - is that you calling??
I battled with negative thoughts such as: Is this really what I am supposed to do? Maybe I’m not as good as I think? What if I never achieve the type of career I’m aiming for? What do other people think?
After these thoughts form, doubt, anxiety, and self-pity quickly follow. Doubt that maybe this is not what I am supposed to be doing, and I just wasted all this time. The anxiety that I will flunk out of grad school. Self-pity that I am the only person this professor is picking on. I wallowed in this self-doubt for a bit. It even reflected in other areas of my life, such as work and communication with my friends and family. I wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone. I cried so many nights and slept most of those days away.
About a week later, however, I was in deep thought when I felt a conviction. I remembered that there is nothing else I’m more passionate about. So, what exactly am I going to do if I quit? While thinking intently, I also caught a cliché thought that has stuck with me ever since: if it was easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?
I know we’ve all heard this before, and it can be annoying to hear again - especially in times of distress - but there is truth to it.
The goals you are trying to reach may seem impossible as you stumble through the challenges that come along with pursuing them. But rest assured that if it is a constant dream for you, if it wakes you up at night or even makes you drift into deep thought in the middle of the day, it is worth pushing through. Even if it challenges you to the point of mental breakdowns and anxiety, it may be purposed to build stamina and endurance within you. Just think, what lessons would you learn, or pride would you earn if it was easy? It may just be a distraction working to produce a reaction that will cause you to quit reaching for your destiny.
I am reminded of the story of Jesus when it was almost time for him to die, and he internally struggles with this decision. If it was easy for Jesus to die on the cross for us, do you think he would have wrestled in prayer with it? Do you think he would have had to endure so many attacks? Or don’t you think others would’ve stepped up and volunteered as well? He states:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” – Luke 22:42
If He experienced difficulty and anxiety, what makes me think that I am exempt from such? Without pain and suffering, there would be no need to persevere. With no challenges, we would have no testimony to share or encourage others.
In this, I remember that the pain I am experiencing now is preparation for what is to come and what is continuously on my heart; I can let it press me for a while as I push through, OR, I can let it pressure me into quitting. The same goes for you.
If it was easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?