As far back as I can remember I have loved to learn. Whether it was my alphabet or numbers, I was eager to learn new things. Well, truthfully I am not good with numbers, haha. Thank goodness for teachers and extra help. She would help me persevere and I would make it through each class.
As I grew up, I became a good student. My grades reflected it and I learned something… If I got good grades, I would get awards, be seen as smart, and as someone who had value.
This continued through college, I even got my first 4.0 my first semester away from home. I was so proud of myself. Not only had I done what we had all thought was impossible by moving 6 hours away from home, I had earned the best grades of my life. Life was good, until it wasn’t of course.
I graduated from college with high hopes of going to seminary and learning to be a pastoral counselor. You see, my Bachelor’s degree was in Psychology. I wanted to serve God by helping other people see their current situation in a different light. Seminary just seems the next logical step, right?
So off to seminary I went expecting to excel because that is all I had ever known. At first, I did okay, and then I began to experience major health problems. It may have been the demand of a Master’s program, the stress of moving to a new school, even looking back now I am not sure what triggered it exactly. All I knew for sure was that I went from being the person to who wanted to help other people to being the person who needed help.
That is when my life turned upside down…. I went from being a student to having to withdraw from school. To say I felt like a failure was an understatement. It was not until this occurred that I realized how much of my identity I equated with being academically successful. Can anybody relate? It may not be academic achievement for you, maybe it’s a certain job or _______. What happens when that is no longer there to give your life definition?
It is a scary to feel like you have lost your identity, I know I have been there. Can I encourage you for a minute? Sweet friend, hear this truth, I fought hard to learn… you are not alone, regardless of what the voices in your head maybe telling at the moment. You may feel like you have no value right now, but the truth is you have always been valued/loved (Psalm 139:14).
You may feel like it is a sign of weakness to ask for help it is not, I have learned that it takes strength to ask for help. If I had not asked for help, I would not be writing this today. It was while I worked on redefining my identity with God, I rediscovered my love for writing.
It is my hope that sharing my story reminds you that you are not alone. I hope that if you need help, you will reach out and take hold of it. I will be praying for you as we see where God leads us in the future.