As many of you know, I have been working with a dream coach for the past few months. I haven't discussed this experience much with others because I struggle to know how to explain the experience to someone else. It's been so comprehensive and deep that it's hard to give a 30 second commercial explaining what we do. The experience has gone a bit longer than planned, but it has gone a lot deeper and been more life altering than I could have ever imagined.
One common theme to what I keep learning in life and throughout this experience is the role of fear. Each of us is plagued with it. From the moment we come to earth we are being taught what is good, what is bad, what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable through our experience and interactions with others. We learn to fear certain things, people and ultimately every experience we have from the moment we come from the womb shapes how we believe, think and feel about EVERYTHING. Woah. Let that one soak in for a minute. I'm sure if we really thought about it we could identify a moment in our lives when something happened that has stuck with us ever since.
We are the results of what we choose to believe. On my last session I was assessing those things in my life that I see as failures. It has been interesting to me what things I consider as failures and what things I don't. This is going to sound silly, but one of the failures I saw myself as having was the fact that I had a degree in Music Education and I am not using it. I am not teaching in a school and therefore I have failed. I also see my sparse and fading knowledge of theory and inverted secondary dominants (blah blah) as a complete failure as well. If I can go through 5 years of grueling practice and study and then 5 years later look back and remember so little of the "technical stuff" I must be a failure.
Throughout almost my whole college experience I knew I loved music. I knew it spoke to my soul in the way that nothing else had and I needed it in my life. In some ways, I also felt like music needed me. I felt I had some unique gift to offer it that no one else could give. That's why I chose to study it. But despite those feelings and the knowledge of my "gift", I could clearly see that I struggled with the technical aspect. I struggled and drug my way through every theory and aural skills class I had to take, taking some of them over, but I got by. I did what I had to do. I didn't excel at it by any means, but I got through. I tried hard, but despite my efforts, looking at my transcript it looked like I only did enough to get by. My peers probably didn't know. I didn't talk about it, but I constantly compared myself with the department "stars"--you know the ones who are always raising their hands in class because they know the answer. I slowly told myself that I wasn't as good of a musician because I wasn't the theory wiz or the aural skills master. And slowly I began to believe that. It didn't happen over night, but over a long period of time that belief took root.
And now here I am. It's been almost 5 years since I graduated and am still struggling with that belief.
Why is it that we always see the failure? How often do we stop and evaluate the lessons learned from it? Why do we ignore the best parts of ourselves only to keep feeding a lie that serves no purpose but to hold us back? It's because of fear.
I want to share an experience I had several months ago. I had been struggling with the effects of my divorce and felt frustrated and overwhelmed that I couldn't move forward in certain areas of my life. I felt a great deal of fear over certain issues and I felt a lot of anger from what had happened. I had made an appointment with my bishop and after I had poured out my soul about all the problems I had, he told me something I had never before considered. He explained to me that fear and anger are one of Satan’s greatest tools. When I am consumed by fear and frustration I am not progressing and I am right where Satan wants me. Stuck in my own self pity and woe and not going anywhere. Think about it--if he can stop us from recognizing our own greatness, he's won! When we're consumed by fear and anger we can't see past the clouds and lack the vision and power to move on. I suppose I already knew that, but until he said it, I didn't get it.
I love the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 that reads,
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."
We all have failures in life. We all have fear that is the result of how we see our failures. But God has not given us the spirit of fear. In looking at my schooling as a failure, I'm forgetting all the amazing experiences, blessings and knowledge I received! I have been letting a small weakness stop me from achieving my greatness. No more. I believe God has great things in store for me. He has prepared me and will continue to prepare me if I will only trust Him. I am choosing to not be controlled by fear. I am choosing to be fearless.