Within the next few days, I celebrate my 32nd birthday, and I am absolutely excited about this, for no greater reason than my determination to make this milestone a major turning point in my life and career.
By most standards I have perhaps accomplished quite a bit in those 32 years. So it is only reasonable that as I reflect on the journey to this milestone, that I take note of both the victories and obstacles that I have encountered along the way, and be guided accordingly as I look ahead.
What I mean by this, is that for every success that I have attained over the course of my life thus far, it has come at a very high cost – pain, sacrifice, struggle, with no exceptions. The script remains the same today, as it has been throughout the years.
What has changed however, is my outlook on that often torturous gap between opportunities, because it is so easy for us to become despondent and discouraged by difficult circumstances; and it is even more painful when uncertainty kicks in.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am currently navigating my way through the difficulties and uncertainties of my own “gap between opportunities”. For some, it may be unemployment, for others, a lack of funding to pursue a business idea or an academic qualification. Whatever the nature of your current obstacles, the eventual outcome, and your responsiveness to what may follow depends heavily on those critical decisions you make now.
Life is indeed a gift, and I am determined to make the best of every moment of it – regardless of whatever challenges I face along the way. Whether my pocket is empty, or everything else around me may seem to be falling apart, circumstances such as these are all the impetus that I need to be more sensitive to opportunities, visible to recruiters and other gatekeepers, physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of making the best of a difficult situation, and prepared for the next big opportunity.
Within the last month, I have personally adopted a daily routine that involves prayer, studying what the Word of God says about my present situation, physical exercise, reading within my areas of professional interest, all the while constantly re-strategizing my search for new opportunities.
Now whether it is the psychological impact of knowing that I have displaced cynicism with affirmative action, or simply the consequence of embracing a positive outlook and a progressive approach to my present situation, this is perhaps the greatest that I have felt in the last two years, and I am truly grateful to God for opening my eyes to the truth of what my struggles are really all about.
I often remind myself that troubles in life are not meant to make us bitter, they are meant to make us better – and I am absolutely convinced of this; because I have discovered, that even as we actively pursue new opportunities in life, there are unique opportunities for personal growth that can only be found in the intricacies and pain of our struggles.
It is very easy for us to believe at times that our struggles are unique to us, and that the rest of the world is simply spectating as we free-fall – clueless of what we are experiencing. That is precisely how I felt upon entering this drought-like season of my life. But I was so wrong.
With the click of a button we can find countless stories and testimonies all across the world wide web, of persons who have encountered mountains of struggles and valleys of pain throughout their lives. While some have woefully succumbed to their troubles, there are numerous accounts of those who have endured their turmoil gracefully, and emerged victoriously.
I do not take my role on the internet for granted; and I am compelled and convicted to remain as honest as possible with you, my valued readers – amidst every struggle and eventual victory in my life. My goal here, is to ensure that the truth of my journey inspires you – just as the truth of young Cedric Thompson’s journey has inspired me.
Now Cedric is a young, dynamic NFL player who has previously suited up for the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots, the Minnesota Vikings, and most recently, the Cincinnati Bengals. However, within the last two years alone, Cedric has endured a string of disappointments despite his immense talent and potential as a young safety within the NFL. His situation grew even more distressing when he sustained an injury during training camp with the Bengals just over a week ago.
I learnt about Cedric’s professional challenges via his YouTube Channel; and what has really stood out to me about his story, is his faith, his honesty and the positive energy that he always seems to exude, even when he’s clearly hurting on the inside. Not to mention the fact that he is a professional athlete with a wife and a child – both of whom he absolutely adores – at just 24 years old. Now that’s an example worth following. I respect Cedric, and I have been inspired by his story.
We need more people of influence in the world like young Cedric Thompson – those who are not ashamed to stand up and proclaim to their large global audiences, that: This is what I am facing right now. But by the grace of God Almighty, I will make it through. My situation may not be looking good at this very moment, but this is my opportunity to become a better version of me.
My prayers are with Cedric, and my prayers are with you – that you remain affirmed in the truth that your present troubles are not meant to make you bitter, they are meant to make you better. And as I approach my 32nd birthday – on Saturday, August 26th – I too am confident that the pains, sacrifices, and struggles of this season of my life, will culminate in victory.