Snatched Out of the Sunken Place
Have you ever been in a place so low that you started losing faith in your greatness? If you have, then you know firsthand how exhausting and limiting that can be.
For the past few months, I’ve felt stuck. Plain and simple. Not proud, not happy, not jumping for joy in my current job (still grateful to have a job though), but just stuck. My friends and family have expressed their pride in my current position, but I’ve been consistently dissatisfied with it. Honestly, where they are proud that I have a job out of school and a level head, I’ve been disappointed because I’ve felt that I could be doing so much more. Essentially, I’ve been trapped in my own version of the Sunken Place.
Realistically speaking, this season has made me acknowledge that I was a very spoiled college student. I had some amazing experiences during those years that I thought would propel me onto a fast track for professional success. It was hard work keeping everything afloat at once, but ultimately, I didn’t have a lot of the same concerns that most students do. I didn’t have to worry about school bills thanks to scholarships; I didn’t have to stress about getting an internship because I’d secured a recurring one before graduating high school; I was active in the campus community; and I didn’t have to worry about grades because getting good ones was what I had always done. Some will hear this and think it sounds like I was ahead of the game and had it all together, but what I’ve found is that having your stuff together has disadvantages, too.
Over those four years, I became accustomed to everything falling into place for me. As a result, I got extremely comfortable in college. I expected to encounter a similarly easy transition into adulthood when I began job searching. I had some amazing experiences during those years that I thought would set me up to secure a moderately-paying post-graduation job quickly. Psych!
Senior year of college, all the steam that had pushed me forward before, ran out. I was depressed, mentally exhausted with school, anxious about the uncertainty of life after school, and I allowed myself to become crippled with fear. In a way, I was both afraid of my own greatness, and terrified that I would fail at achieving it. The lack of motivation didn’t disappear immediately after graduation either; and even when I began to improve, I continued to have a lot of guilt, discontent, and stress over the way my adulthood is beginning.
I started job searching way later than I should have, and even though I was blessed to have an offer shortly after graduating, I settled by taking one of the first opportunities thrown my way simply because I was so desperate for income. Like many others, my first job out of school is something barely related to my degree (and honestly, you don’t even need a degree to do it).
My internal dialogue has been chaotic; I’ve wasted so much valuable time lately comparing my life to the one I had in college and beating myself up because it’s felt like I had my life more together then, than I do now.
But even through all my brooding over life and feeling like it’s in shambles, God has continued to remind me that that He has a knack for giving us a push when it feels like we’re at a standstill. He’s positioned me to strengthen some of my friendships that suffered while I was wrapped up in academia. He’s also helped me to reopen some friendships that I thought were a lost cause. And my friends’ support has continuously brought me a fresh breath of mutual assurance and encouragement to keep moving forward.
Most recently, I had a FaceTime conversation with one of my friends to whom I hadn’t spoken in forever. He called me out of the blue and we picked up as if no time had passed since our last encounter. We began discussing our experiences as budding, young Black scholars and professionals, and it was in this conversation, that I truly felt God moving me to listen.
As my friend talked about his fearlessness in pursuing his dreams, his refusal to stop in the face of closed doors, and the opportunities that keep arising as he pushes forward, I felt a shift as if God was telling me to also take heed. I believe that every connection we have with others is intentional and holds purpose. On this night, a seemingly out of the blue phone call turned out to be the kick in the tail that I’ve been needing to get motivated again. In one phone call, I realized that my time for sulking has run out and I made a commitment, right then and there, to stop feeling sorry for myself, get to work, and push forward relentlessly the way that I always have.
There are three things that I’m learning in this season of my life, which continue to be confirmed. First, as one my close friends often reminds me, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Success, longevity, and legacy are not built overnight, nor will any of us be. Patience is key.
Second, the journey of life is a process, and we must trust that process. I believe that this season of my life is meant to be a humbling learning experience. Being forced to slow down and face adversity sharpens our ability to adapt and find solutions under pressure. This also prepares us for the harder obstacles that we will face in the future. By earning the armor now, we will stand unshaken in our future battles.
Lastly, count your blessings when times get rough. Keep yourself grounded by placing your focus on what you DO have, as opposed to what you don’t. Reminding yourself of what you’ve made it through so far shifts your energy into a positive space which also strengthens your faith in where you’re headed, and who has your back on the way there.
This week, as we stand right in the middle of the season of gratefulness, I am thankful that God snatched me out of the Sunken Place. I’m done limiting myself with negative thought and doubting my greatness. My gloves are back on, and I won’t stop fighting for success until it is won.