college & career

Failure is a Bruise, Not a Tattoo.

The last few months, school has left me with an unsettling feeling in my stomach. I let many things slip past my attention. A brew of courses that should have been taken, bad decisions, and my naivety made this season so incredibly stressful. I felt worthless and unmotivated. Inadequacy gnawed my conscious, throwing me into a deep depression. I was taking classes I didn’t care about, writing papers about things that didn’t matter to me, and reading books I wish I wasn’t. My undergraduate experience was not what I had hoped it’d be. How do you cope with settling for less? For a girl who always had big dreams, this was the end. All my options were gone and I was a failure. Or at least I thought so.

I thought there was no turning back for me. That there was no way I could fit my passions into my studies. That I had wasted so much time not knowing which path to take. I’d neglected my work because I simply didn’t care about it, leading me to score terribly on tests and papers. I felt that I was wasting my time. This spirit of worthlessness and inefficiency kept me awake at night. Sometimes, though, you have to hit that rock bottom before your brain clicks and tells you that you need God, desperately.

And so I went running back to God, begging him to heal this bruise in my heart and work his will over my life. I cried out to him because he was the only one who could take my disappointment and dispense of it. He was the only one I could trust in to ease the pain.God redeemed me. All I needed was to trust in him. He gave me the peace to look beyond my current situation and find a viable solution. He gave me the security to know that I really could reach my goals. And he gave me the endurance to plan for the long-term.

Days later, I find myself sitting in my major advisor’s office, working out a way to fit in what I’m passionate about into my schedule.

I left campus fulfilled.

Now I sit here, happily ordering textbooks for my new favorite classes. I meditate with all my heart on the phrase, “God is good.” It’s not just that I asked God to come to my rescue in a time of need. I am constantly in a time of need because I, just like the rest of humanity, am as far from perfect as can be. I am utterly, completely broken. I barely have a hint of what I’m going for in life, but I know that it will all be ok because, ultimately, God is in control and I am not. My pastor shared a quote by Jon Sinclair with us this week, “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.” And by God am I glad of it. So, I will keep on trying. But every time I fall, I will run to Jesus and he will redeem me.

words by Anashe Barton and photo by Kate Bartley

A learner by heart, I take the lessons that pass me in life and turn them into little gifts. After I study in the great halls of Oxford, you'll find me mountaineering on the Isle of Skye or the Outer Hebrides until I die.

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