All of my life my focus has been on helping people. That was who I was. It was what I did that made me important. I worked hard at getting better at what I was doing because I wanted to be significant at it. This was both helpful and harmful.
It was helpful because it made me better at my job and let me help people more effectively. It was harmful because I constantly told myself that I wasn’t good enough. I felt I was behind everybody else and I hoped they wouldn’t figure that out.
When I went to work for hospice I got in over my head. Now I was good at my job and had a lot of success. My patients, their families, my coworkers and other people working in the field told me many times that I was good at what I did. All I could focus on was what I didn’t know and couldn’t do. My personality wasn’t just right. And I focused on the things that could go wrong in these situations. I feared being fired.
I was going to college at this point, working on my master’s degree. I told myself that I had to be a straight A student. I told myself that the only way I could be significant was to be exceptional. That meant almost perfection. If I got an A in the class that was great. But if I got a B, that was unthinkable.
The stresses of my life at this point came to be more than I could deal with. All of the work I was doing and the studying I was going through combined with the fear of inadequacy and sent my anxiety sky high. I had suicidal ideation (I wasn’t going to kill myself but if someone else volunteered to do it I wouldn’t say no).
As I began my supervision process I did a lot of internal work. God consistently brought to me ideas and perspectives that changed the way I thought about myself and about God. As I found my true worth I was able to walk away from performance, perfectionism and anxiety.
I learned what to do with my past sins and failures and areas of weakness. I no longer allowed them to define me or limit the way I saw myself. I was a worthy man battling some brokenness.
This process has equipped me to be a counselor more than anything else I have done. I know how to walk out of these situations because God has taught me. I know that they work.