I was pleasantly shocked and I felt an immediate sense of urgency and pressure to get this ready NOW. The application is only open for a week in January and, if chosen, I would have to go for an in-person grade review and orientation. The quarter would start in late March and I would be qualified as an SLPA by June. But I needed to do things fast... fast... fast! Furthermore, the course and fees cost about $3,300 out of pocket, which I don't have. Cue the panic. How am I going to raise a mint in so little time? PANIC!
I kept thinking, "But I didn't pass. I don't feel called it this field. Did I just not feel called to finish the degree but continue down this field?" There was A LOT of brainstorming and a big push from various people to go and do! NOW! Imagine trying to work on getting rid of your people-pleasing ways yet feeling pushed and pulled to do something "for the greater good!" by so many people whom you love. That's what I felt yesterday.
For most of the day, I felt like people were rushing and pressuring me to go forward and get that spot (only 35 cohorts per quarter allowed)... and do it NOW! "Think about the money! Think about your financial situation! Think about your Mom!!" The pressure got so overwhelming that I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I didn't know what to do. I was overwhelmed. I felt agitated... restless... anxious... pressured... I came close to snapping at people (which I hate doing; thankfully, I didn't), a sign that I was stressed beyond my personal limits. I felt like people were getting upset with me (they were certainly acting that way) for not wanting to continue down this path.
Towards the end of the day, I was emotionally drained and told my mother, "I feel depressed. I feel overwhelmed. I hate this pressure. I hate that people are pushing me to do this. I don't feel called to this; I haven't for months. I felt a huge sense of relief and peace when I decided to do something else. Now, this?" Then I said something that just randomly popped out of my mouth, without thought...
"I feel as if I'm turning my back on God; as I'm trying to take care of the situation myself instead of trusting Him to lead me to what He wants me to do." I'm calling this a Holy Spirit mic drop because I hadn't realized I was doing just that until I said it.
I remembered that both Fr. Jacques Philippe and St. Francis de Sales have mentioned that one feels that restlessness and agitation, it's not coming from God. After I said that I felt like I was abandoning my resolution to trust God and His plans for me, it clicked. It also took one of my best friends reminding me (and being the only person who was angry on my behalf about all the pressure I felt from others) that the stress of the career path always resulted in my decline in health; that no amount of money or career prestige was worth the cost of my own health.
I asked God forgiveness for my temporary lack of judgment. In a conversation with Him, I reminded myself that I've been praying the 54-day Rosary novena for weeks now (it ends on Sunday) and that the signs have pointed to me leaving behind the SLP/A field and trusting Him (and our Blessed Mother's intercession) when it comes to finding a job to pay back my student loans and helping Mom out with bills and groceries.
That immense anxiety and agitation I was feeling? It completely disappeared as if He had wiped it clean from my very being. I once again felt the strong resolution to trust Him completely and not worry about my financial situation; that He will provide one way or another. My mind was calm. I felt that wonderful serenity that I had lacked (which actually began with me having a nightmare involved the devil and me waking up with my heart racing) all day (into the nighttime) yesterday.
So, that's what I'm going to do... again. I'm not going to worry about the job situation. I am actively seeking (don't think that I'm just lazying around doing nothing). I'm still hoping and praying that God will provide when I'm ready.
If, in the future, God wants me to get my SLPA license, I have 5 years to do my fieldwork hours (as per the time limit the particular school has) before it's too late. But, right now, it's obvious (at least to me) that His plans include me doing something else and I just need to patiently wait to see what they are. Again, I'm not passively sitting around doing nothing; I'm trying to see which of the options I have (that is not SLPA related) is the one He wants me to take.
People will think I'm foolish for taking this approach but I'm okay with that. There will be people who think I'm throwing away financial security and "my talents and gifts" but I don't mind. There are people who dislike when others say that the Lord will provide but I hope God uses me and this situation to help others see that perhaps if we trust more in Him and His plans for us things will turn out for the best. Call it naive. Call it foolish. Call it the blind idealistic/optimistic part of me that is taking over.
I wholeheartedly and completely give up my fears and what others think and say and give myself entirely to God; to do His will in whichever way He calls me to do.
As the Prayer of Abandonment to Divine Providence by St. Jane Frances de Chantal says,
"O sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God!
I abandon myself forever to Thy arms.
Whether gentle or severe,
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt;
I will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass,
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me.
My soul finds no rest without the arms
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence,
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart.
Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance,
O my Saviour,
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances,
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that;
but I will blindly follow Thee
according to Thy Divine will,
without seeking my own inclinations.
Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee,
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms,
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire,
to will, to wish.
I offer Thee this desire, O my God,
beseeching Thee to bless it;
I undertake all it includes,
relying on Thy goodness,
liberality, and mercy,
with entire confidence in Thee,
distrust of myself,
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity.
There. I said it... and I commit myself to sharing this new part of my journey because I want you all to experience what things God can do when we give ourselves completely to Him. My world may be turned upside down and I may end up doing things I would've never imagined but that is the beauty of it. I trust Him completely.
Your will, God, not mine.