No Regrets, Only Lessons Learned

Welcome the fourth and final post of The Grace of Failure series. It’s been a really rewarding and cathartic series to write and I hope it encourages you. If you’ve missed the last three posts in this series, you can check them out below:

The Death of a Dream: Dental School Dropout

Worry: The God I Never Knew I Had

Moonscape to Garden of God

I thought I’d tie up this series by sharing with you the lessons I’ve learned in this difficult process.

1. Tell Your Story

I suffered alone throughout a large portion of this process. I held in so much fear and pain. It’s not that there were not people available and willing to listen. I have an amazing community of people around me. Many of which reached out to me during this process and I said nothing.

I wanted to figure it all out on my own and oftentimes, I was just ashamed of what others would think of me if I told them what was going on.

I recently watched the movie, In the Heart of the Sea. It’s amazing! You should definitely watch it! Anyway, it’s about a group of men who go out to whale hunting and face many tragedies and hardships along the way. The men had to resort to very desperate measures. There is a scene years later when the one of the boys on the ship is now an old man and an author comes to his home to hear his story. The man is still affected by the tragedies and very much ashamed of the desperate measures he once had to take to survive. He wants to send the author away, but the author says something that sticks with me to this day. He said,

“The devil loves unspoken secrets, especially those that fester in a man’s soul.”

That statement couldn’t be more true. The bible says that when we confess to one another that we receive healing. What you hold inside, doesn’t go away. It only festers. Let it out. Tell your story. Be healed.

2. You are Never Alone

Many times in difficult situations, we begin to isolate ourselves. I know I did. The scary thing about isolating yourself is that you begin to believe that there is no one you can turn to, no one who will understand.

I even went so far as to talk myself out of reaching out to people. I said things like: I’ll figure it out. This will blow over. I’m overreacting. I know what they’re going to say. They can’t help me.

I know we can get so entrenched in our issues that we don’t see how anyone can provide what we need. However, we were never made to be alone. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says this,

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

3. Your Worst Fears are Simply the Ones You Haven’t Faced Yet

Failure was my biggest fear. The unknown can be really scary. I’m not saying I never failed at anything in life, but I never had a large and public failure before. I’ve been very open about wanting to be a dentist. Pretty much everyone who knows me or knows of me is aware of my journey to becoming a dentist. I’ve shared about it a lot on this blog, so failing at that as a consequence also becomes public knowledge.

It was so scary and I really thought it would break me. Yet now that I’ve lived through my biggest fear, it’s not so scary anymore. It doesn’t inform my decisions or limit my freedom. In fact, I feel free go after the things I want even more.

While our fears may seem like uncharted territory, God has already been there. God saw my failure and my triumph before they ever happened. When you travel with a guide, you don’t need a map. He knows where you’re going and what you’ll need when you get there.

4. Everything is Loss

There will come a time in your life when you have to decide what your values are. One of the greatest factors in my decision to leave school was choosing to use this time in my life to pursue the things I believe God is calling me to, not only that, but simply spending more time building my relationship with God.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that you can’t do all those things and go to dental school too. It just clearly wasn’t working out that way for me. I top my hat to those of you who can do it all.

I was willing to lose out on dentistry and regain a thriving relationship with God, my mental health, time to build this blog and write more series like this one. (Comment below if you would like to see more series and what topics you want to hear next!)

“But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life].” – Philippians 3:7 AMP

5. Your Pain is Someone Else’s Gain

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” – II Corinthians 1:4 NLT

I’m writing this series well aware that someone somewhere is facing a difficult situation. You feel like you’re breaking. You feel like life is closing in around you. You think you’ve reached the end of your rope and maybe you have. Maybe you’ve already failed and you feel immense guilt and shame. I hope that you can be encouraged by my situation and know that you can find freedom and healing in Christ. God is not ashamed. God is not overwhelmed. He is not shaken or caught off guard by your situation. He sees you and He hears you. If you can honestly pinpoint where you are now and where you want to be, God is able and faithful to get you there.

Praying only the best for all of you! Thanks for reading.

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