Okay, this is it Shonda.
Just get it over with.
It’s for the best...
Inhale... exhale... just breathe.
As much as I kept repeating these words in my head, anxiety had overtaken me. I could feel my heart bounding at a rate too fast for me to count. Palms sweating, hands trembling. Every breath in and every breath out got deeper and heavier. One lonely tear drop turned into a flood of uncontrollable streams rolling down my face. This was it. I was done!
The short distance from the comfort and safety of my office to my Pastor’s, felt like miles of agonizing shame. I knew there was no turning back since I had already made the call that I was on my way. My mind was made up. I was leaving full time ministry. Just like an actor preparing for his grand finale, his closing scene, I rehearsed my resignation again and again. No standing ovation needed. Just drop the curtain and show me the exit.
See, it wasn’t that I was burnt out. I knew what that felt like. Been there. Done that. This was not burnout. This was that death defying, overwhelming feeling of being a failure. Not just a failure at work, but in life and ministry as a whole. Nothing seemed to connect anymore. Every win still felt like a loss. Every step back was stressful, and every push forward was painful.
How did I get here you ask? The answer is quite simple, I became addicted to success. Well, what I thought was success. I started measuring my calling and purpose against others, questioning my every move. When my results didn’t look like theirs, when the numbers didn’t add up, the phone didn’t ring, the email didn’t come, the grant got denied… I thought I had failed. My purpose didn’t seem to be heading in the direction of what God was showing me or, so I thought.
So, there I was, crying uncontrollably using up all my Pastor’s tissue. He listened, encouraged, and confirmed. You see, I had become so focused on being successful that I stopped just simply being. Not only did I stop being me, I stopped being obedient to God in some respects. I said yes to some things that I should have said no and vice versa. So, it wasn’t that I was failing, it just wasn’t my assignment or my time. But also, during all this, I had to take a hard look at myself and do some inside work before moving on.
Well, I didn’t resign, I realigned. I realigned myself with the path that God had me on. I had to redefine success and what it looked like for me. And for me, success was simply being obedient to the call and plan that God specifically designed just for me.
Here are a few things I had to do to get myself pass that feeling of failing:
• Stop looking at what everybody else was doing and comparing myself to them. Just like no one else has my fingerprint, no one else has my unique purpose and calling.
• Self-assessment is crucial. Not all my problems and issues are because of external factors. What’s going on within me? What adjustments did I need to make? What shifts needed to happen with my mindset?
• Slow down! Busy don’t mean productive. How could I make adjustments if I never slow down long enough to assess?
• Schedule out my time. Meaning, calendar EVERYTHING! This has helped me to prioritize what needed to get done in my personal life and business.
• Seek assistance. One of my biggest problems was I didn’t want to ask for help. People would be willing to come along side you if you would just open your mouth.
What does being successful look like for you? I would love to hear from you!