Failure

So, about 7 weeks ago I took a test. It was a big test. One of those career platform type of tests. I studied for that test from July to October in intermittent spurts and some very very long weekends. On a Thursday evening, heavy into a sinus infection, I headed to Topeka, KS to stay in one of the scariest hotels I’ve ever laid eyes on and went into the test Friday morning confident that I had no idea what to expect and prayed only for survival.

At the lunch break I cried and nearly threw-up my granola bar.

At 5:30 pm when I left I cried and then drank a few too many vodka cocktails.

It was one of the hardest 8 hours of my life. And I’ve lived some seriously tough days in my 29 years.

On Tuesday, after discovering that my test results were sent to the incorrect address (yes…because that’s the life I lead…) I had to drive to Topeka, KS to pick-up my results.

I picked my mom up in Lawrence and headed to one of the government office buildings across from the capital. Coincidentally, I spent an entire internship working to fix that building 5 years ago because the facade of that building was literally falling off. But I digress…

I went up the 5 floors to pick up my results, grabbed them and headed back to the elevator. Upon reading the words “We regret to inform you that you failed the test” I sorta fell down the proverbial rabbit hole. I sat in my mom’s car and I cried. I did all the math (no…there was not a curve) and discovered I was 2 questions away from passing. Having a photographic memory, I spent the next 45 minutes on the drive replaying every question I remember being uncertain about. I spent the next few hours in a daze. And I finished the day drinking almost an entire bottle of wine by myself.

At the end of all of it with a couple of days of recovery under my belt I am certain of only one thing:

I have absolutely no idea how to reconcile the sentence “we regret to inform you that you failed the test”. I have considered writing the Kansas Board of Technical Professions and asking them to at least reconsider the way they word that, but at the end of the day the test is pass/fail and I was the latter.

I’ve never been good at failure. In fact, I’m a perfectionist to a fault and a people pleaser to boot. Aside from having to deal with the embarassment of having to inform my boss that I didn’t pass, I had to tell all my cheerleaders too. While doing all of that, I was simultaneously begging my eating disorder to just give me a free pass. I wasn’t that lucky, but I am pleased to report that I haven’t given in to it.

So back to this failure thing. It’s confusing. Because mathematically, socially, and by pretty much every other standard of this world we live in that is exactly what I am. Of course, I am not in the long run judged by those standards and therein lies the confusing part. If I’m not a failure in God’s eyes, then what exactly does this mean? Is it something as simple as “Brandi, you just didn’t study enough” or is it something more? Is this a lesson in learning to deal with failures? Is this a lesson in humility? Is this a test to see how well I can overcome this challenge? 

I was crying in the bathroom Tuesday night and my fiance knocked on the door. I didn’t answer because I just needed to cry and wallow in my pity and self-loathing. He was kind enough to just talk through the door, but his words struck a chord in me. He said, “Brandi, it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be upset. But this test has no bearing on the person you are or how much I love you.” And then he walked away and cooked dinner in an effort to help me keep E.D. at bay.

I found something familiar in his words. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard them. I’d heard them 8 months ago at a little retreat at church from my Father. He loves me. And there is nothing I can do on this earth, P.E. exam included, that will keep Him from loving me. And that’s enough to keep me going. That’s enough to make me want to try again. He has a purpose for me. Granted, I have no friggin’ idea what that is half of the time. But there is a purpose. And if He wants me to have to study my A$$ off for the next 3.5 months and take this test again…then there must be a really really good reason for it.

He knows what He’s doing. And He doesn’t believe I’m a failure.

So, I probably need to follow His lead.


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