Candace Tossas hails from Brooklyn, New York. The daughter of missionary parents, she grew up in Church but lost her way as she entered adulthood. Her drive to achieve the western idea of success and enjoyment led her away from a relationship with God and Church and set her on an appealing, yet ultimately un-fulfilling path.
I was caught up in a broken system but it took me ten years to realise it. As a young adult in New York, I was constantly exposed to a specific picture of success. I thought that if I could tick off certain things in life, I would be successful and accomplished. You know the things: Get on an exciting career path, find a relationship, build your wealth and make a name for yourself. And you know, I was doing pretty well ticking these things off.
I was 27 years old and surviving the hustle of New York City. I was financially stable, I had an excellent job in Times Square, my life was in "order" and I felt like I had everything I needed. But I never quite felt fulfilled, there seemed to always be more that I needed to achieve. Even though I was accomplishing so much, internally I felt uncertain and woke up each morning with the pressure to tick off more things. I remember thinking to myself, “If this is what my life is going to be like, then I’m not so sure that this is the answer for my life.”
But I didn’t change anything. I didn’t look for another option, even though the more I kept going down this path, the more uncertain I was that this life would fulfill me.
Then things got really shaky for me. I lost my job. I lost my ability to make money and keep my financial stability. It’s interesting to look back on, the moment my career path became unstable and untrustworthy, my identity and confidence came crumbling down.
When your career is what defines you, losing it is like losing yourself.
Even though I was still presenting a confident exterior, inside I was rattled. I was self aware enough to realise that something needed to change and that I needed a constant, I knew I hadn’t been building my life on a solid and true foundation. Unfortunately, I still felt the need to be in complete control of my life and so the loss of my job wasn’t the catalyst for changing my worldview.
I thought that maybe moving to Australia (a dream of mine since I was young) would get me back on the right path. So I came to Sydney, but all that had changed was my location in the world, I was still trying to replicate the life I had in New York. I was in a new environment, but still living in the same broken system. God wanted to break me out of that system. He wanted me to get out of the uncertainty and need for control and to step into the clarity and freedom that trusting Him provides. It was time to let go of the worries and dependence on myself.
I needed to interrupt my life and grab a hold of something real. So I decided to study at C3 College.
I’ve got to tell you, even though I felt this was the right decision to make, it didn’t make me any more confident. I was still worrying and viewing my decision through the lens of my broken system. I admitted this to God, I said “I don’t trust you, that’s why I’m fighting you on this.” God, gracious as He is, gently advised me that I wasn’t going to experience the freedom He intended me to live in until I let go of my broken way of viewing the world. So at 28 years old and for the first time in my life, I was stepping into my calling. I was pursuing God for real and it didn’t take long for Him to deliver on His promise, I began to finally feel free and fulfilled.
I’m on a new trajectory now.
I’ve picked up so many new skills in my internship, from setting up sound and managing production setup to leading, pastoring and even preaching. But it’s not the skills that have been the most impacting. It’s the freedom that’s the result of trusting God.
I don’t have to worry about the un-fulfillment and uncertainty because I’m no longer living in a broken system. I’m confident in God’s call and I’m growing more and more confident in myself the more I understand who God really is. C3 College was the necessary catalyst for finding the confidence and freedom that God had always desired for me to live in.
-- Candace Tossas, second year, leadership and ministry student.