Today, I was reading a particular tweet when I remembered the time I failed an exam. It was a challenging period of my life.
Let me give you a background story. I hate maths! I still try to understand the basic ones like addition, subtraction and the likes but all those simultaneous equations, find x and y and so on always leave me confused.
I wrote WAEC twice before I managed to have a ‘C6’ in Maths. The day I checked my result and discovered that I had a credit in Maths, I was so happy, I ran round the house screaming “I made it!” like someone who won a large sum of money. I knew it was just God who helped me.
Fast forward to when I got to the university and discovered that I had to do Maths in 100 level, even though, my course had nothing to do with it. I was dejected.
I remember the day I was told. I lost interest in schooling. All my struggles in secondary school came rushing at me.
It is true that fear is a terrible thing. It makes hope to seep out of a man.
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the futureThich Nhat Hanh
I read and wrote other exams knowing that God would see me through but you see maths! I couldn’t even prepare for it. Even when my course mates tried to explain to me, I just didn’t get.
Somehow, I trusted more in my abilities than in God’s. I mean, if I put my trust in God for courses I knew I understood really well and leave Him out in the very one that I knew nothing about. Does it not mean that I was actually focusing on what I could do and not what He could?
This is what we do, most times. Trusting God when we feel we can do it well(which is trusting ourselves in disguise) and panicking when we are not so sure of our ability.
Anyway, I didn’t write the exam well. Obviously.
When results were released, I had ‘A’ in all my courses except in Maths. I had ‘F’
Imagine a white wedding dress, a very beautiful one, with a palm oil stain, right in the middle. That is exactly what it felt like, to me.
“I should have at least had a ‘D’ or an ‘E'” I said as I walked back to my hostel with tears streaming down my cheeks. The fact that I was going to rewrite that course made me more sad.
I got to my room and just continued crying. I lost appetite for food. I lost appetite for everything.
“How will I even tell my parents that I failed a course in my first year” I kept on asking myself till I slept off.
I woke up the next morning with a headache that threatened to separate my head from my neck. I didn’t feel better. I didn’t feel like talking to God or anybody.
“I need some time to myself” I kept on saying. I didn’t know that I had embarked on a journey to the land of depression.
I snapped at anyone who tried to get me to speak on phone.
I felt like I was a total failure.
I honestly do not know how I forgot that it was an ‘F’ in a sea of ‘A’s
I stopped eating.
I withdrew so much.
I became a shadow of myself.
There was a week break. So, it wasn’t like I was missing classes.
It is true that God loves us and that He always comes for us when we are sinking.
It is also true that He places people in our paths for reasons that we may not know. He is intentional about us and even the friends that we meet.
Honestly, God never leaves us to sort things out on our own. He provides, someway, somehow.
Most times, we don’t even ask for it. It just happens. I tell you, that can only come from a place of One who is deliberate about you.
Reminds me so much of Saul of Tarsus. How God sent him Ananias after he had an encounter on his way to Damascus. He wasn’t left to figure out things on his own. He wasn’t left to walk the path following his salvation, blind and confused.
My friends had tried reaching me but I didn’t pay them attention. Six of them. Amazing people, I must say. We were always there for one another (We still are).
We are friends that pray together, play together, have serious discussions and generally just do things together.
They all came to my room that afternoon. They saw how messed up I was and they got right to work.
No, they didn’t start telling me how wrong I was to have allowed fear get the better part of me or how wrong I was to allow failure mess me up. They didn’t.
They all embraced me and started reminding me of memories that made me laugh. I laughed so much and then burst into tears. That was the part they were waiting for.
“Talk to us, Tee. How do you feel?” They said to me.
Amidst tears, I let it all out. They took turns in praying for me. They encouraged me. They told me that I was never going to fail a course again.
They reminded me of God’s promises.
“The plans that the Father has for you are of good and not of evil, to give you an expected end” They made sure that I smiled and then forced me to eat.
They dragged me out of my shell and took me out.
Soon, I was able to shift my focus from the failure and place it on the successes. I was able to celebrate the fact that out of eleven courses, I had distinctions in 10.
I was able to appreciate God for my brilliance.
I spent my remaining days before the new semester meditating on scriptures that address fear.
One that particularly struck me is found in the letter of Paul to Timothy.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
In 200 level, I rewrote the exam and I had a ‘B’.
I still hate Maths(LOL)
Who are the people in your inner circle?
Are you the kind of person that thinks you do not need friends?
When life threatens to turn you upside down and you don’t even feel like talking to God, are there people who can bring you to the front of Jesus?
Do you remember the story of the man who was paralyzed and had to be healed?
There was no space for those carrying him(his friends, most likely) to pass. You know what they did? They went to uncover the roof and then carried him through the roof and placed him in front of Jesus.
Do you have friends like that?
Most importantly, are you that kind of friend?