It was one year ago today that I made the courageous decision to step away from my job. The truth is, part of that decision wasn’t even mine. God put up several barriers that made it obvious, over a short period of time, that He had a different plan. Here I am – one year later – aaaaand no job. When I quit or threw in the proverbial towel (as it feels more appropriate to say), my expectation was that God would drop a new, “better” job in my lap. Sadly, God has made it obvious that I’m not the one in charge, nor does He care what I think is best. Further confirmed by Isaiah 55:8, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”
As I reflect back, I am in awe of all he has done in and through my life these past 12 months and oh how I will cherish this unplanned, unwanted professional sabbatical for the rest of my life. I have had the privilege of capturing memorable moments with my two daughters; one going off to College today (YIKES) and the other who needed me to “Uber” her butt all over the place until she got her drivers license last month. From spontaneous Sushi lunches and desert binging afternoons coupled with impulsive shopping sprees, I have loved and will forever treasure those special moments. When they say time speeds up, they are so not kidding when kids hit high school… Where did the time go?
In addition, I have been blessed all year with no pressure, no rush time in my bible and the ability cross reference other versions, commentaries and sources; I know I have gained greater depth and insight and my relationship with God has grown more intimate. It’s been fun to, daily, have my dogs sleeping on my legs, enjoying long walks and endless puppy play times. I have invested in relationships that I treasure deeply and I have been able to mend some of the bridges in relationships had been neglected from being over committed and busy in the past. I felt like a hypocrite leading a Women’s Bible Study this past summer about taking a Sabbath to enjoy a more balanced life and when I was the busiest, it was because of charities and people in need whom benefited from my open/flexible calendar. My fulfillment barometer has overflowed.
On the flip side, this year has had it’s share of disappointment and more than my fair share of rejection letters (I’m refusing to count them all until God opens the door to wherever He is leading me), but it has been quite a walk on a tight rope to balance my faith, patience and contentment, while battling (almost daily) with the flood of emotions that would easily overwhelm me with feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and self-defeat.
I still have no idea where or when this journey will end, but I know I’m a better woman for having been through it. So let me turn this into a message that will encourage your heart.
- Don’t doubt God. Even when there are no answers or easy explanations as to why you are going through something you didn’t plan for, remind yourself that He is God and He has the better plan.
- Keep Moving. It would have been easy to stay in bed longer and roll to the couch in self-pity, but that’s not good for anyone; especially me. I committed to getting up early (usually 5AM) for devotional time, exercise or have coffee/walks with friends. I feel great and I’ve even shed some unwanted weight. That, in and of itself, has given me even more energy.
- Stay positive and be grateful. If I spent too much time on stinkin’ thinkin’, what a mess I would be. Instead, I would take inventory of all the things that I am grateful for and the obvious blessings in my life that can easily be overshadowed at any given moment. That mindset shift alone is a powerful tool for success.
- Don’t dwell on the what-ifs or why-nots? These questions have no definitive answers and at the end of the day, they rob you of faith that God ultimately has a plan and a purpose for your life. Our minds were created to seek answers, be inquisitive, rationalize or find logic in things. Since we can’t change the past and we can’t get a do-over to do whatever “what-if” scenarios you muster up, it’s just a waste of time and energy. Be forward thinking, learn from the past, but move on!
- Look for opportunities. Opportunities to lean in and support friends who are going through a difficult time, feed the homeless, volunteer at the jail, serve at church or join a committee that can benefit from your talents and your time. I can’t emphasize enough the unbelievable shift in your perspective when you walk alongside of or intentionally spend time with those who are much, much worse off than you. It is the most humbling place to be and you are blessed far, far more than you are a blessing to those to whom you serve.
Keep reading and following. I hope to inspire you in the Lord and I thank you for being a spectator to my life’s journey.