What is success and failure in God’s upside down Kingdom? (2)

Blessings from Failure:

 

Back in 2011 and prior to my discovery of dyspraxia, my boss tried to help me rectify my overloaded caseload. We worked together and I tried hard to please my manager. I never could. I fell down constantly. He was trying to manage me better. In the end the chronic stress was too great and I was signed off work for 5months with severe anxiety and medium/severe depression. It all happened at the beginning of Holy week.

 

This was not the first time I had been off work with stress. The first time was March 2002. This is when I had asked a previous manager whether I could change my hours to work part time. Even then the reason for my wanting to go part time was that work and the chronic stress surrounding it was taking over my life. On this occasion the manager had set up a meeting to confront me as to how I would manage my outstanding list of final reports, especially when working part time. The stress and inability to perform had made me ill. On this occasion I was signed off with work related stress but managed to return after three weeks. The stress I had suffered was not mentioned again in that work place.

 

This second time in 2011 was even more damaging than the first because a series of life events also had added to the mix and my depression was more entrenched. Still unknown to me was the real cause for work related difficulties. This was dyspraxia and a poor working memory and slowing than average ability to process information.

 

It was a picture of Jesus that rescued me. Literally!

 

In 2011, I had been avoiding Church services. We had moved house to the town where I had been born and brought up and I had never settled back into Church life. Despite this I was still loosely affiliated. Later that year there was a prayer day on a Saturday at the Methodist Church I had attended as a child. I decided to drop in. I came across the picture at a point of the prayer walk. It is a picture of Jesus crouching on the ground looking directly the person viewing the picture. His eyes are gentle and he is reaching out his hand. Behind Jesus people are standing. They stare with a mixture of expressions, some hard judgmental, openly hostile; others curious; some indifferent. The picture was placed above a bowl of water in which you could place stones symbolizing the burdens you were carrying. I placed my burden to be washed by Jesus in the water. This helped. The picture helped even more.

 

A few days later I asked the Methodist Minister if I could borrow the picture. She let me keep it. Over several weeks I found myself gazing into the eyes of Jesus, quiet and on my own at home. The picture reminded me of the story of the woman caught in adultery, naked and exposed. I was that woman. The shame I felt was a physical feeling in the gut. Yet Jesus’s eyes did not condemn me. I learnt to look at Jesus and forget the rest. If he did not condemn me, no other person’s views mattered.

 

Today, I know that our Divine Three- in- One God loves me. I know that deep down. Yet old habits die hard, and old worries and feelings of inadequacy get in the way, especially as my failings are found out yet again. I don’t want to fail, and let people down. I suffer from a stricken conscience when I fail.

 

Despite this I recognise blessing in failure. I have learnt worthwhile lessons because I fall down. It has taught me a measure of humility. It is hard to be proud and self-righteous when you know that you make mistakes and could be wrong. Failure teaches me to accept other people’s mistakes. Sometimes I think I accept other people’s mistakes more easily than I accept my own. I have discovered that being merciful and forgiving is an on-going process, especially if you have emotional scars. These scars, though unseen, are as real as physical ones and hurt when touched. Falling down has taught me empathy. Because I know what it is like to struggle I think I am a better therapist as it helps me to relate to my clients and their struggles. Finally, when I am less stressed and in a happier place, I have plenty of laughs at the daft things that have happened to me because of my dyspraxia.

 

I will end with the treasured words of Brother Lawrence in conversation and published back in 1692:

 

That he had no qualms; for said he, when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so; I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself.

 

If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that success comes from Him.”

 

 

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About Gentle Breeze

Julia is married to Kevin. They live together in Todmorden with their black and white cat Willow. Todmorden is a small rural town nestling among the Pennine hills in the Upper Calder Valley, on the border of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. Julia is a mixture of contradictions. She happily shares her email address with her husband; yet when she married she kept her own surname.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Meditation, Reflections, Solitude, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What is success and failure in God’s upside down Kingdom? (2)

  1. kyohinaa says:

    Hi Julia, I hope things are picking up since this post was written.
    One line you wrote stood out for me: “I have learnt worthwhile lessons because I fall down.”
    Indeed, everything happens for a reason, even things which seem very difficult…
    Sending good thoughts!

    • Thank you. I appreciate your good thoughts. Today I am visiting Occupational Health, two months after the latest crisis. I hope that they will be able to help me, because despite my issues, I want to continue working and I love helping people find solutions and connecting with my clients. Yes, I also appreciate the lessons i have learnt because i fall down…

  2. Hemangini says:

    Hey Julia… I hope you are doing much better now. 🙂
    I can understand your situation since I also work in a large firm and the way workload is piled on each person is so inhumane. Anxiety, depression is so easy to happen in such conditions.. I hope you have become stronger and better now.. Having fallen, we learn.. And sometimes learning is essential to leave depression and anxiety behind and march ahead hand in hand with laughs and happiness.. I wish the same for you. 🙂 Have fun. Take care.

    • Thank you for stopping by and your comment. With me , sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back as my confidence increases then wanes again with continual pressure. You are right, laughter helps, gentle, kind laughter at myself and others. Sometimes, when hurt, laughter at others can be less kind than I might hope! That’s my human side! Still I acknowledge my own weakness too!
      Thanks again for stopping by.
      Julia

      • Hemangini says:

        mmm I think its your strength as well.. To be gentle in today’s world to feel hurt and still care… 🙂 Glad to know this about you Julia 🙂

        Ps. Did I say Julia is one of my fav western names? hehe You are awesome so is your name.

        Hope this lifts your lips in a beautiful curve.. Have a wonderful day dear.. Take care

      • Thank you
        Your friendliness and kindness has made me smile.
        Today I drove home from work in tears. I had become exhausted and overwhelmed, wanting to listen, wanting to meet people’s needs and sometimes not knowing how to help them feel heard. And then I had an emotional outburst with my boss at a tiny remark and worried I had been rude to her. Again through tiredness and wanting to be candid.My husband was home, safe and reassuring. Yet I needed a female friend. I sent a text to a good friend and colleague. I said that I thought I was crumbling inside. She cheered me up and made me smile. And now you are the second person tonight to make me smile. I count you as my friend.
        Love and Blessings, Julia x
        PS. I have grown more fond of my name as I have grown older. I am glad you like that too.

      • Hemangini says:

        I hope you are more cheerful now. Workplace are quite tiresome and gruesome as well. . I hope your boss becomes warm towards you. 🙂
        I am glad I could make you smile. It’s main reason I blog and love to be here… 🙂
        Prayers and hugs for you. Take care and keep smiling dear. Your smile is source of many’s happiness. 😉

        Have a good night. Sweet dreams 🙂

      • Good night and restful sleep.

  3. Tom says:

    Working with other people can be a challenge at times. I have to keep reminding myself that I am working for God, not the boss or for others. And that God loves them with an undying love, and I am to love them the same way. I make mistakes as much (if not more) than they do, so I must be patient (though it is hard). Keeping my eyes on Jesus and what He has in store for me (heaven) helps keep me cheerful in the tough times. Blessings on your work and life!

    • Thank you Tom
      I am so sorry to take so long to reply. I was tied up with so many things going on. Thank you again for your comment.
      I discovered some time ago that I was forever trying to please my Boss and looking for him for approval and yet I constantly slipped up and the approval never came. When I admitted my flaws and weakness to God and fell on His mercy, my perspective began to change. I no longer needed to seek approval. God does not make trash. I just wanted to love and be loved because God loved me first and we are all His children. It was hard to accept that God loves my Boss as He loves me. Sometime I slip into old patterns of thinking and feeling
      when caught in the mire.
      Thank you for wishing me blessings in my work and life.
      Julia

      • Tom says:

        Loving people who are a challenge is usually a life long challenge for most people. With God all things are possible! Never give up and seek Him daily for your strength in it. You are not alone in the challenges you are going through. God is with you.

      • Thank you
        Yes, I agree, it is a life long challenge.
        Mostly I can get along fairly well with someone who has hurt me and perhaps who I have hurt in the past. On a superficial level I can remain cordial and friendly and even feel able to wish them and their family the best and that no harm will befall them.
        What I struggle most with is trust of that person. I remain wary and more guarded with them.
        I also have emotional scars just as much as if they were physical scars. And as with physical wounds the scar tissue remains thin and tender and the wound can be opened up again.
        And yet, I would not have it any other way. Suffering teaches me empathy and compassion and I would prefer to be sensitive rather than not.
        And yes, I know God is there in the suffering, even if at the time you cannot feel it.
        And sometimes there is light, laughter, playfulness and camaraderie with fellow sufferers along the way.
        Thank you for your assertion that God is here with me. I need Him near. Amen

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