I can’t count the number of times in my life when I’ve had to start over. There have been so many. But instead of feeling like a failure, I’m finding that each new start brings with it a new sense of accomplishment. It wasn’t always this way. For years, I saw my lack of what others call “stability” as an indicator of the ineffectiveness of my abilities in general. But the older I get, the more I see that my unwillingness to stay in an unhealthy or unbalanced situation is actually one of my best qualities.
The first big disappointment I suffered in my adult life was when I had started the process of signing up for the military. Back in 1989, I was a senior in high school, and I’d been planning to go into the Navy right after graduation. It was all I had ever wanted. My plan was to go into a college prep program as a pre-law student and graduate from the J.A.G. Corps. I had wanted nothing more than to be an attorney, and possibly, a judge in the military.
I was seventeen and wouldn’t turn eighteen until about two months after graduation. My parents were willing to sign off to let me go, but the agreement with the recruiter had been that I would be going into a college program for officers and not as an enlisted soldier. Sadly, after I completed most of the sign-up, the recruiter informed me that due to a problem with my vision, they would not be able to let me enter in as anything but an enlisted person. And so, in my disappointment, I told him no thanks. I hadn’t had a “plan B,” so when everything I’d been planning for fell apart, I fell into a deep depression. I felt so hopeless and stupid for not seeing the possibility that my plans could fall through. I graduated from high school with absolutely no plan and no prospects for anything other than a rather long, disappointing summer.
As it turned out, about a week after graduation my favorite teacher called me and asked if I was busy. I told her that I wasn’t, and she proceeded to ask me if I would be interested in temporarily working for her husband, who was an attorney. His secretary was taking maternity leave and he needed someone who could help him keep up with the clerical stuff. Thus began my journey as a temporary office worker. I worked for him for a few months until his secretary returned and then I decided to pick up some classes at the community college. While I was doing that, I signed up at a temporary agency and ended up going out on several assignments over the course of the next year or so. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was learning the skills that would become the unbreakable foundation of everything that I would do later in life. No matter what else fell through, I could always rely on the skills I learned during that time to get me from one “assignment” to the next.
Thirty-two years later, I work as a contractor while at the same time, managing my publishing business. The contract work pays the bills while the publishing company allows me to fulfill the mission that God set for me; helping others overcome their challenges and tell their stories. Even in times when certain arrangements don’t pan out or projects fall through, I know that I can depend on God to place me in exactly the right position at exactly the right time.
Sometimes it may get a bit scary; not knowing whether or not I’ll have consistent work can be unsettling and certainly has been at times. But I’ve learned to rely heavily on God’s plan for me and to take periods of “inactivity” in stride. Sometimes I don’t remember to rest and so, God makes me take a break. Sometimes, I still allow myself to be taken for granted and God, who has grown increasingly more impatient with my unwillingness to stand up for myself, makes it impossible for me to settle for being treated poorly. I’m learning, but probably not quickly enough, that God wants me to place value on myself as His child and to not let what it all looks like deter me from pressing forward.
The one constant through all of this has been that God has never left my side. Even at times when I could have sworn I was all alone; God was there, providing what I needed when there seemed to be no way. Whenever my vision has failed, His has remained clear. I just need to remember to focus on it instead of feeling defeated when my own plans for myself don’t work out.
There are no greater, more fulfilling plans for our lives than those that our God creates. When we choose to walk that path instead of the one that our limited view of ourselves presents to us, there is no end to what we can accomplish. No matter how broken, how confused, or how terrified we are, when our eyes are fixed on God, He will carry us through every possible scenario and bring us out on the other side without so much as a wrinkle in our clothes.
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.
If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.