GoodBadUglythe subject of the e-mail said, “it’s time for yearly reviews.”

my immediate reaction said, “crap.”

immediately i started thinking about all of the places where i blew it over the past year. i remembered every mistake. i remembered every ball i dropped. i remembered every bad decision i made.

in an instance, a day that was going pretty well took a hard right turn to a place i hadn’t felt in a while. all of the feelings of not being good enough, of not knowing what to do with my life, and of being trapped in this unhealthy cycle of highs and lows came rushing back into my head. it was overwhelming to the point where i had to get up and walk around for a minute to clear my head.

there’s a moment in any journey through a crisis where you feel like you’ve made it past the turning point and you have no desire to look back. you acknowledge the pain happened. you even have the scars to remind yourself. the last thing you want to do is relive the entire thing sitting across the table from the people most affected by your mistakes.

and yet, that’s exactly what i knew was coming.

in the week’s leading up to my review, my running joke was that the first half of the year sucked and then it got better. boom. let’s move on. there’s no use going back in time and opening old wounds. we know they happened. let’s focus on the future.

unfortunately, it didn’t work that way.

i walked into the review and everyone knew what had happened. there was an uncomfortableness around the table when the mistakes were brought up. i didn’t want to hear them and i was worried i would be defensive when they were said. instead, we mentioned them, i acknowledged and owned them, and then we kept going. before i knew it, we were past the mistakes and i was being told things i was doing right. i was even being told things i was excelling in.

wait, what?

how did that happen?

i had an absolutely horrible six months. i was a mess personally, professionally, and spiritually. i had no right whatsoever being told that i was doing a good job, that i was knocking it out of the park in this area, or that they were excited to see me do this one thing in the future.

there was no way i deserved that.

and yet, sitting across that table, i was being affirmed, built up, and encouraged.

my yearly review for the worst year of my professional life taught me one of the most important lessons i’ll ever learn: there is no mistake so big that we can’t bounce back from.

what’s your mistake? what’s the one thing you’re thinking of right now that you’re thinking you can’t bounce back from? an affair? addiction? job loss? whatever it is, you can get past it.

if i can encourage you in anything this week, it’s this: there is hope. there is a way out. there is a future. you are not your past mistakes. you are not your past failures. you are not the sum of all of those thoughts that flood your mind when your head hits the pillow at night.

you are you. you are in the situation you are in right now to show people just how big our god is. you don’t have to fix things yourself because the promise is and always has been that he’ll take the reigns of your life if you’ll let him.

a year ago i never would’ve imagined being able to sit outside on a summer night writing this story with so much hope in my heart. i didn’t see a way out. i knew god had a plan and that he was good and all of those things that a good christian boy is supposed to know, but i didn’t know how i was ever going to get there. now, five months after the last bit of fallout, i can tell you definitively that you can bounce back from whatever “it” is.

i’m just one kid and this is just a small part of my story. the entire reason i have this blog is to bring to light the things we all go through but no one talks about. i never could have made it through my crisis without other people speaking into it. if i can be of any help, even if it’s a quick conversation to get things from your brain out into the open, please don’t hesitate to comment on here or to e-mail me.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.