This post is the second of my series: The Grace of Failure. So if you haven’t already, check out my last post here. In that post I discuss my decision to drop out of dental school. In this post, I want to focus on the worries that preceded, accompanied, and trailed behind that decision. In fact worry had taken such a role in my life, I had essentially allowed it to rule and in that way it became my god. I allowed worry to dictate my decisions and decide my level of freedom.
When I came to the realization that I didn’t want to pursue dentistry as a career any longer, after a huge sense of peace came a plethora of worries.
Worry #1: Disappointing God
I was worried that maybe dentistry was my destiny and I was somehow failing God by choosing to leave it behind. There are many problematic beliefs wrapped up in this one thought but here are couple of the major ones.
First, your destiny is not a career or a title. The destiny that God places on our lives transcends such earthly things. Yes, God could have used my career as a dentist to fulfill the purpose He has for me, but He can also use pretty much anything else.
Second, I had already felt a peace about my situation. The bible says that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. The very fact that I felt confusion about going back to school and such a peace about not returning is a pretty big sign that I am doing what God wants me to do.
Worry #2: Disappointing my family
My parents, especially, have sacrificed so much and invested so much for this dream of mine. Not to mention the fact that I would be the first doctor in my family. I felt extreme pressure to fight for this dream and I felt extreme guilt when I started to fail. I didn’t want to let them down.
Yet when I finally worked up the nerve to call my parents and tell them what was going on, I received nothing but grace. They were so supportive and understanding and encouraging. I received messages from family members saying how proud they were of me for making such a tough decision that I ultimately felt was right for me.
Worry #3: Looking like a failure
I have to be honest. When the first family member said they were proud, I was taken aback. Proud? What were they proud of? I failed. But I think sometimes God speaks through the people in our lives. Hearing this from so many family members simply confirmed what God had already said. When He looks at me, He doesn’t see my failures or my mistakes. He simply sees His daughter in whom He is well pleased.
I was especially afraid of what my classmates would think of me. Yet, believing that God is proud of me and knowing that He is for me and not against, makes writing a series like this a whole lot easier. I care less about what others will think of me and that is truly freeing.
Side note: After releasing last week’s post, so many of my classmates responded with encouraging words, wishing only the best for me. Sometimes our fears are simply illusions that will never come even come to pass.
Throughout this process of failing, most of my energy was dedicated to the fear of what other people would think and it made it so much harder and much more devastating than it had to be. Worry is an all-consuming God. If you’re not prepared to give it everything, don’t entertain it at all.
If worry is something you are struggling with, I can tell you the only thing that helped me was getting into the presence of God and hearing what He says about me. His word says that I am the head and not the tail, more than conqueror, upheld by His righteous right hand, loved with an everlasting love, and that God delights in me. The only thing that can define me is the one who made me. Worry can’t. Failure can’t. Only God can.