To be honest, I didn’t know that I was seeking personal liberation until I stumbled upon it. I grew up in life with one large goal in mind: become successful and start a family. In order to achieve this, I needed to get a strong education in a field that pays well, get good grades, find that job that will accelerate me into 6 figures quickly, and then find that woman to settle down to marry and have kids with.
The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 drove me to accomplish these goals, I was very future focused, and didn’t think life would truly start until I obtained them. So as one can assume with this line of thinking, as each chapter of life came and went, I did not enjoy the ride as well as I could have.
I was fortunate and blessed to find a good corporate job after graduating from University, but was solely focused on climbing the ladder to get the promotion as quick as possible. I missed out on so many critical job learnings as a result, but still got the promotion.
Next, I bought a place and drove the types of cars required to fulfill my need for speed, and continued to save money for the future. This effectively helped build the foundation I felt that was required to start a family. I immediately went into spouse searching mode, and even though I say that with humorous intent, that’s really what it was. I joined a few dating sites, and essentially assessed all my female friends/acquaintances whether or not they were “wife” material for me. I went on lots of dates, and nothing ever materialized, but I was motivated, so I kept trying.
Outside of work and some other basic commitments, my only goal was to get married, because I felt that was necessary for me to truly live life and enjoy it. Well after a few years of unsuccessful dating, I became discouraged, annoyed, frustrated, and even started questioning God why this was happening to me. At the time I didn’t know quite yet that God was teaching me how to be humble and to essentially grow up.
During this chapter of life, I was presented with an interesting job opportunity, one that does not come along often. I was recruited to help bring an American company into Canada, and become a part of history in the process: Target!! For those that know me, I love a challenge and enjoy the thrill of competition. This new opportunity presented lots of both. After being successful in almost all my jobs, I expected the same at Target. Well it started out well, but slowly, and then quickly it all started falling apart. No matter how hard I worked and how many hours I worked, the end result didn’t change. I felt like an utter failure, and didn’t know how to handle it, I hadn’t experienced this level of failure before. This was the most humbling experience of my life.
Two great failures (no wife and a job that was not successful) at a similar point in life drove me to a questioning state seeking answers. After much reflection, did my eyes truly open and see how God had his hand in everything. All throughout these experiences God was trying to teach me patience, accountability, modesty, leadership and more importantly trust in his plan for my life. Instead of just looking into the future and waiting for my main goals to occur, God showed me the importance of reflecting into the past and critically looking at my actions and lifestyle with open eyes and heart. I realized that I was very proud and did not like to accept responsibility for some of my mistakes and would use every excuse in the book to defend myself. I also learnt that I would shy away from difficult situations and conversations even when they needed to be done. Lastly, God made me aware of how blessed I was to be protected of most of the common struggles many people are faced with today with regards to health and financial stability.
Taking these learnings and putting them into action has helped me make better decisions (including those difficult ones that most people shy away from), be a better leader in the workplace, show more compassion to friends and family, and find peace and contentment. I am also thankful for those women who did turn me down in the dating world, because I was not mature and ready enough to be the God fearing husband they deserved.
As I get closer to hitting that age of 30 (originally assuming I would be married by no later than age 25), without having found a wife, God has liberated me from the chains I put on myself a long time ago: I feel free!!!. I have made the decision to be content and enjoy this chapter of life (even if its the last chapter) in real time, while still keeping an eye for the future. I have never felt such joy and peace as a result. For those that may be experiencing a similar situation, be encouraged!!! God is good, keep your eyes on him, be open to reflect and learn, and personal liberation and contentment will find you.
Benjamin Svehla is one of most competitive people you will ever meet. If you can’t find him outside on the volleyball court, tennis court, snowy mountains or golf course you will most likely find him inside snuggled up on a couch reading a novel or playing board games with friends. He is passionate about youth, and has enjoyed many years helping out as a youth leader at his church.