The earliest memory of a time when I almost gave up on life was when I was in secondary school. I can never forget that experience and I’m sure God allowed that incident to happen early in my life so I could get a good grasp of what it meant not to give up.
Let me tell you about the secondary school I attended. It was the toughest school to get into in the state where I resided with my parents. Hundreds of students applied and just 80 were taken. It was a beautiful place ran by a white reverend sister from Ireland and the teachers were top notch.
There were certain classes that gave no room to new students and so if you missed the admission into JSS 1 and SS1, you may have to go somewhere else to attend school. Only on very few occasions did we find a student coming in as a new student into JSS 2. Again, even when you passed the entrance exams, you may still not be taken until you have passed the second stage of the admission process. Yeah, It was that tough.
I finally got in, excited to be wearing a uniform that connotes excellence and prestige.
Fast forward to the examinations, I began to fail woefully. I was in the Sciences and everything seemed dull and abstract. I just couldn’t understand why I had to balance equations or learn theories that didn’t make sense to me. This was coupled with my bad eyesight.
Nothing killed my spirit than seeing my report cards full of red marks, indicating my poor scores. Because many of my classmates were in a fierce competition for grades and prizes, I had very few friends. I was so in awe of the top students that when they gave me as little as a glance, I was excited. I remember how my Physics teacher had announced my test score in class one day. I felt so proud to see 10/20 on my test script.
Third term came and we wrote our promotional exam. I knew it would take a miracle to be promoted to the next class. It seemed like yesterday when I battled with depression and a low self-esteem. The only thing that kept me from committing suicide was my fear of hell fire.
There is something my school does at the end of every session. It’s called the judgement day. That day, all the students gather in the large auditorium and the class teachers filed to the front with a list of the names of the students who would be in their classes in the next session.
It was a day when some students shivered. Would they be promoted? If they had few marks left to make the overall requirement for promotion, would the school board lean in favour of them? For those repeating a class for the second time, it was a known fact to everyone that they would be kicked out of the school if they didn’t make it to the next class.
On that day, students jumped for joy while others cried. It was also a usual practice to find friends gathered around a friend who hadn’t made it with them to the next class, a time when they comforted her(It was an all girls school) and a stranger visiting would have thought she lost a parent or a loved one.
I was too ashamed to attend. So I stayed back at home. But my friend informed me later that day that my name had been called out in my former class. I was to repeat SS1.
When I finished weeping and tearing my result, I felt like I couldn’t go on again. Summer Break was the worst time of my life but it was also a turning point for me.
One day, a week after school resumed, I said to myself, ‘I’m going back to that school.’
I didn’t know if I was going to make it but I wanted to give it another try. Maybe I would succeed, maybe I wouldn’t. I wasn’t sure. I changed to arts and returned to start a new session with my juniors.
Three years later, I would graduate as one of the best students in the school. I would bag 7 distinctions in my SSCE. I would write JAMB just one time. I would write exams with thousands of students for a pre-degree program in Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU) and I would be selected. Before the end of the second semester in OAU, my name would come out on University of Benin admission list and I would be switching over to study law.
And you say, trying again isn’t worth it. I bet it is.
Mistakes are part of life. We miss the mark sometimes but that isn’t peculiar to a set of people. It is common to everyone. It’s one way of finding our path and making sense of our lives. However, we must learn to put the past aside and see the bright future ahead. So how do we pick up again? What do we do when it seems life isn’t making sense anymore. I shared five steps that I have applied in my own life. I hope you find one or two of them helpful.
1. Sit back and reflect.
You’ll not be able to make serious progress if you don’t sit back and reflect to know where you missed it and what lessons you can take from it so you don’t have to repeat the same mistake in the future.
Ask questions. Why didn’t I do this well enough? Could it be that I didn’t give enough time to that task and that was why it didn’t turn out right?
Did I lose my identity in this relationship such that I was very clingy and that made my partner withdraw the way he did?
Why don’t I have any customer buying my product?
Am I in a wrong location?
Did I choose to become a writer because Funke is getting so much influence and I want that too?
Do I just need to have some more faith that this will work out with time?
Is it possible that this relationship isn’t working well because our values do not align?
Wallowing in self-pity will take you nowhere. It will only keep you discouraged and in despair.
You must learn to rise quickly because everybody has one issue or the other they are dealing with and nobody really has time for your self-pitying talk.
Don’t get to 80 with only the story of how you failed at something and got discouraged and couldn’t move on. Who wants to listen to stories of regret. We all want to hear attempts made by people who failed and yet they didn’t give up.
2. Leave the past where it belongs.
One of the most painful situations that can leave a person, especially a lady, in despair, is having your heart broken by someone you care deeply about. Maybe, you have put in your best into that relationship but then one hot afternoon, your fiancé came to you armed with seven scriptures telling you he made a mistake when he said you were the bone of his bone. What can you do about that situation? It’s painful, I know. But it’s not enough to spend all of your fruitful years hating yourself. Sis, it’s not worth it.
Maybe you are that lady who has been dealt badly by a man who claimed to love you. After having sex with him and carrying out all the ‘wifely’ duties, he had one day thrown your box out of his house calling you a whore and now you can’t get out of bed as you keep crying, wishing you hadn’t compromised your stand.
It may take some time for the pain to go away but it definitely will go if you don’t feed it with thoughts on what you should have done or not done. You will have to talk to yourself, see what God sees about you and trust Him to heal you completely.
Could it be that you as a brother keeps creating this wall of defence and your lady can’t reach your heart even after many years because you keep seeing her through the lens of your past. She is just frustrated by your attitude and no matter what she does, you are never satisfied. You may be the reason that relationship isn’t working.
There are some things that we may not see now but they are standing in the way of our progress because we feel there is no way we can move forward or achieve our dreams and longings.
3. Starve that feeling of discouragement by feeding on God’s Word.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times this has pulled me out of very discouraging situations.
You need faith to rise again, but where can you receive faith if not through God’s word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.
One advise quickly. Get an audio bible app on your phone. The time when opening your bible seem like an arduous task, this will help you greatly. You just keep listening and listening whether it makes sense to you or not.
4. You have a Father, talk to Him.
5. Step out whether you feel like it or not.
I know your fears, dear child of the living God. You are saying;
What if I ask again? what good will it bring me? He didn’t answer me before, how sure am I that he will answer now? What If I fail again?
Our faith isn’t hinge on what we see, remember?
You are going to learn to trust God as you allow Him lead you each step of the way.
Related: Faith, an indispensable weapon.
On a Final note,
That you failed at something in the past does not mean you are a failure. Failure is not the name God gave you, don’t claim it.
For that young lady who has been abused in one way or the other: You can open up to God and allow Him heal your pain. You don’t have to carry that burden to the grave. You can trust God again. If only God can reveal a glimpse of the great things He has for you.
Let this comforting scripture minister to your heart.
Behold, I will do a new thing, now It shall spring forth, I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19.
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