I was asked recently if I would prefer to be a full time writer. I toiled over that question for about 24 hours and came to the conclusion that “No, I would not want to be a full time writer”. No diss to all the writers out there, it’s just that I realize I am wired a certain way and that way causes me to NEED to use my left brain professionally. If I spent 8-10 hours a day using only my right brain and my right brain skills then I would be ACHING to crunch some numbers and think logically and analytically. That’s when I had an epiphany. Could it be that the Lord has given me this season so that I could have the best of both worlds? As PAINFUL as it has been for me to wait for movement in my career, I think the pain has come because of my own limited understanding of how I am even wired. Disappointment always comes from expectations not being met. Did I have unrealistic expectations because I have only a glimpse of who I even am? Could it be that I was putting myself in a box when really I am multifaceted and there is no label for me? I was told I am not only a writer but an entrepreneur, a young professional and a respectable and capable young woman. Wow. Those are descriptors I would not have used to describe myself and do you know why? Because for me, it is never enough. If I go for a run and I make my goal of 2 miles, at the end of those 2 miles it’s no big deal b/c I did not run very fast. If I get an advanced degree, it is no big deal b/c all of my friends have advanced degrees and some of them have more degrees than I do. If I write and publish a book it is no big deal b/c there are so many around me who do the same thing and have bigger platforms. I compare myself and I fall short. Even when I compare myself with myself, I fall short.
I was listening to a testimony of a married couple who almost threw in the towel. They were trying to keep up with the Jones’. They had multiple businesses, multiple children, a big house, several cars, and the list goes on and on. They were running the rat race of the American Dream until they burnt themselves out and divorce entered the conversation. I could not deny, that would have been me.
God has been merciful to me to slow me down and even as I type that sentence I know that some (my mom for 1) would look at my life and think it is anything but slow. But He did. He slowed it down. And in that slowness He cultivated some things needed in me and is still cultivating. I didn’t realize that it was unique to my personality to become involved in other outlets when I did not receive fulfilment in my career. I did not realize that other personality types would not have done such a thing. While waiting on the Lord it can feel like He is against us. At least, it has felt that way to me. But now I wonder if really what I thought was Him withholding was really Him blessing. Right now I have the best of both worlds. I have time to indulge in creativity and utilize a gift I never would have had I climbed the corporate ladder (think Accountant meets Writer). At the same time I get the perks that stable jobs offer. Having that perspective aligns more with a view that we do not serve a God who is against us. But instead, a loving Father who is always standing in our corner. Cheering us on. And creating a path that will bring out our very best.
I did not get the job I applied for. I kind of knew that would happen but it’s still a letdown. Even applying for it tugged on so many heart strings. This journey of surrender and waiting never gets easy. When I was told there was another more qualified candidate I did a quick debate in my head. Should I fight for it? Should I believe in myself, interview and list all of the great reasons why I could do the position? Instead I chose to view it as “not the right fit” and continue on the current path I’m walking.
My mom asked recently if I had applied for the job she had suggested for me. I had honestly forgotten about it. It’s out of state and I don’t feel called to relocate. It’s difficult explaining to others how practical things in life actually pertain to a calling. I can’t just get up and leave just b/c I want to. There aren’t very many things I can do just because I want to. My natural tendency would be to bottle up my disappointment, stuff it down, and keep moving forward. I would not have written a blog about it. I would not have written about it at all. But I’m learning the “buck up” attitude is linked to perfectionism and type-A-ism and so many other isms that keep me from walking in grace. Instead I’m putting it out there. I’m writing on social media and I’m letting you, my faithful readers know. I’m disappointed. Not necessarily because I feel like this job was a perfect fit b/c that is not the case. But because it never feels good to have a door close even if there’s a better one that will one day open.
I got to spend the weekend with loved ones doing something new. We visited Disney World and saw so many of the highlights you hear about in advertisements and media. There was one highlight though we did not get to see b/c we were too late to see it. I was disappointed. We all were. But in that moment I knew, it is not about being disappointed, that is inevitable in life. It is about how we respond to disappointments. And I think we all responded well, choosing to enjoy our remaining time together, rather than sulk about the missed event.
My friend told me I was resilient. That was something I always wanted to be. People who can bounce back from adversity and keep moving forward have a special place in my heart. I always wanted to be that type of person. But I’m learning, it is not my resilience, it is His. It is not my strength it is His. So I’ll let myself be disappointed, so I can rely on His strength instead of my own to keep moving forward.
This weekend I spent time catching up with a good friend. She is a wife, mother of 4, works and is studying to be a nurse. Talk about a full plate! Our lives could not be more different and I think part of the gift of our friendship is the pleasure we take in that difference. She is definitely someone I consider a “cheerleader” in my life and I’m always reminded of the Lord’s blessings when talking with her. I caught her up on my trip to Haiti and she oo’d and ahh’d over my pics just as I had hoped. We ate at one of our favorite spots and because it was the first day of fall I indulged in pumpkin pancakes, completely ruining my 2 mile run that morning.
We played a game of back and forth, filling each other in on our lives, trying oh so hard to stretch the 2 hours we had together. This was her only free Saturday for the next few months and she needed to get back to her hubby. I was so blessed she shared her time with little old me and of course had to capture the moment with a pic.
After a quick stop at the store to pick up a few items we lingered at my car soaking up our last bits of conversation. I shared about my journey in emotional healing and how much my writing has played into that. To which she replied that my journey in healing was inspiring her in her own. I was shocked. I never think about how my actions and me just living my life is influencing those around me. I only feel my own weaknesses and the difficulty to push forward. She only sees the progress. That, again, is why I like talking to her. So often I feel I am behind or struggling and then God uses others to help me see the success and the fruit. She called me a “writer” and chastised me for downplaying my writing. I explained I don’t think of myself as a “writer” b/c it wasn’t a calling or title I was chasing after. I pursued business and therefore that was the way I assumed God would use me. Writing was birthed out of the standstill in my career. It was fruit from the waiting. But I kept her words in mind and then when another person called me a “writer” shortly thereafter I had to turn that word over in my mind a few times. Am I a writer? Doesn’t it sound silly for a published author to ask such a question? But I must ask it because there is somewhere in my heart that I have not thought of myself that way. And if I have not then that means I am not fully seeing myself as I truly am.
She and I parted ways and I went back to my fabulously full existence in this season and she went back to the grind of family, work, and school. My day was full of conversations like these with friends and family and it was so evident to me how God was bringing forth wholeness. After experiencing so many broken, unhealthy relationships ending in trauma it gets hard to believe I could have anything different. So often I feel the losses. But in the midst of those losses is the gain. The restoration. The overflow.
I have had such peace and joy since realizing I need His grace. I have been able to let go of the burden of unknowingly trying to earn my calling. I’m awakening to the truth that any gift He gives is undeserved and that is in fact the purpose of a gift. So how could I possibly work for His blessings? I can’t. He just gives them b/c of who He is.