Monthly Archives: September 2010

Voice

For those of you who know me at all, what I’m about to say may be a bit of a surprise (or absolutely shocking to some…).  My supervisor’s main concern with me leaving is losing my voice.  I am someone she relies on to question why decisions are made and to speak up when something is not working or will not work for our needs as a department.  ‘Voice’ is something that has come up for me a lot lately.  Knowing I have a voice at work.  Trying to translate that in my life outside of work.  My body being a voice through dance.  The voices of my past that tell me lies.  The still, small voice that I’m learning to trust more and more.

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not talk nearly as much as the majority of people around me, but it often catches me off guard when people are surprised when I do talk.  There are several reasons that I don’t talk as much as people think I should.  One reason is, admittedly, that I am shy.  I’m uncomfortable around people I don’t know, and that often stops me from saying much, especially initiating conversation.  But there are bigger reasons than that.  First, I don’t care to hear myself talk.  So if I don’t have something to say, I don’t need to come up with something just for the sake of ‘talking’.  That is something that has always been misinterpreted in my relationships – it has nothing to do with not wanting to talk to someone or being afraid to speak my mind.  Those who really know me can tell you that I will speak my mind if I need to say something.  But a big part of who I am is that I love to listen.  If I don’t have anything to say, I am completely happy just listening to what other people have to say.

The biggest reason, though, that I don’t talk is usually related to opportunity.  I’m an introvert – totally and completely.  Talking drains my energy.  Because of that, it is very unlikely that I will have the energy to fight to get a word in during a conversation.  There are many times that I have things to say, but I don’t usually get the opportunity to say them.  So when I get the opportunity, people are surprised that I can dominate a conversation or talk for an extended period of time.

Though my current job does not really suit my personality, I know that God has had me here for a reason.  I’ve learned a lot about myself in the five years I have worked there, and the confidence I’ve been able to build has helped me to overcome some of my fears about sharing my thoughts and opinions.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t really surprise me that it is my voice that will be missed at work.  I have been given the opportunity to talk, and I have fully stepped into that as appropriate.  There are still people at work who tell me I’m too quiet – people who are shocked that I can lead a meeting for an hour, being the one who is talking the majority of that time – and even more shocked that I enjoy it.  But I don’t feel the need to join every conversation and give my opinion on everything that happens.  I don’t have to know the answer to every question.  I’ve just been grateful for the opportunity to share when I do have something to say.  It has been a comfortable and safe environment for me to do that, and it will help me as I follow where God leads me next.

Because it is God’s voice that is important right now.  That still, small voice.  The whisper.

When I was trying to decide if I was going to quit my job, I kept sensing that I was missing something by staying where I was.  There was something that couldn’t happen until I quit.  Over the last few days, I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that I’ve started the wheels in motion for something big.  I have no idea what or how much of it has to do with me directly, but something has started.  I keep hearing the verse in Esther, “Maybe you are here for just a time as this.”  Something is happening, and what I’m being told right now is to listen.  Listen for the still, small voice.  That voice will lead me, and I need to not only hear it, but to follow no matter what.  My decision to quit doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.  I don’t think that’s the only decision I’ll be asked to make that doesn’t fully make sense.  My journey has begun, and the first few steps are just about listening and being ready to act on whatever I hear.

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The Journey Begins

For a while now, God has been working in me to enjoy the journey.  It seems like such a simple concept – enjoy the moments, smell the roses, dance in the rain.  Why is it so hard to actually do?  I’m wired to see the big picture.  I notice how everything connects and see how one thing affects another.  It’s a strength in some areas of my life, but it also is my downfall at times.  I need to know how each thing is going to take me where I want to go.  I have a destination, and everything I do should get me closer to that place.  In the process, I miss out on a lot of great things.  I just don’t see them because my eyes are fixed on my destination.  I have a hard time slowing down and enjoying what’s passing me by as I steam ahead to my destination.  There are times that I have to slow down – physically, mentally, and emotionally, I need downtime to recharge.  But I very seldom choose to slow down simply to enjoy doing nothing.

It’s only been a day since I took the step to give up my job (and control) and see what God will do.  My journey to the next season in my life has officially begun.  Because of my wiring, I have already found myself starting to think and wonder about how God is going to provide, and what He has in store for me.  Today, though, I realized that it’s not really that important.  This particular season isn’t about the season at all – it’s about the moments.  What God will provide and where He eventually leads doesn’t matter right now.  What matters is the downtime.  I believe that is why God asked me to quit before having something else lined up.

I have twelve more work days left.  That is an exciting thought for me, but it is also important to me that I treat that time responsibly.  I don’t want to look past it because I feel that there are things that I want and need to complete before I leave.  So I am forcing myself to focus most of my thoughts and energy on that and nothing past that.

In some of my conversations with friends, one of the things that came up was taking some time to decompress after my last day at work.  It would be easy for me to immediately dive into finding a new job, but God is giving me some downtime, and I need to use it.  He wants me to rest.  He wants me to recharge.  He wants me to listen.  He wants me enjoy the journey.

Because of everything that I’ve struggled with in the last few years, I really need God to provide.  But what I realized today is that I need to focus on the time between my last day and when I start the next job that God provides.  Whether that’s a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, there is something that God wants to show me in that time.  I have been feeling empty lately.  I just don’t have anything left.  I believe that God wants to use my downtime to fill me up.  I just need to stop and enjoy the moments without trying to fit them into the bigger picture of the path to my destination.

Where God is leading is of no importance right now.  Stopping to rest, to look around me, to allow myself to be filled up – that is what I need.  It’s not as easy as it sounds…

My journey has begun…

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Take The Step

There are times when I hate that God created us to be in relationship, and there are times that I am so glad that He did.  Over the weekend, I had some awesome conversations with some great friends.  They probably don’t even know how much some of the things they said have helped me to make a decision.  I love knowing what a friend really wants to say, but seeing that they refrain in order to simply offer support and encouragement.  As more and more people find out about my decision, I know that I will hear some discouraging words and experience people pushing me to rethink my decision and fix the ‘mistake’ I made.  So it’s been really great to know that I do have people around me who support me, even if they don’t completely understand.

 All weekend, I tried to rationalize a decision to stay in my job until the end of the year.  I had some great reasons that made a lot of practical sense.  Unfortunately, this world’s view of practical is not always what God wants us to base our decisions on.  On Sunday, I started to sense God asking me to really explore why I wanted to stay in my job until the end of the year versus what I knew He was asking – leave October 1.

 On Monday morning, I was reading a blog that a friend of mine had forwarded to me.  There were several places in the blog that confirmed what I had thought about on Sunday night.  If I stayed in my job until the end of the year, I would be relying on my own ability to provide at least part of what I need.  I would be able to save some money which would make me more comfortable with quitting my job without having something else lined up.  But God doesn’t need my money.  He was asking me to step out in faith, and I was trying to do that in my own way.  I believe that God would have honored my decision to stay until the end of the year, but I also believe that there are some blessings that I would have missed out on.  I want to see what God would do, but that meant doing something that was beyond scary, and yet also very simple.  Take the step.  Step into His hand and let Him do the rest.

 On Monday night, I wrote my letter of resignation, and this morning, I went in to talk with my supervisor.  I love my supervisor, so it was very difficult to tell her that I am leaving.  She told me that she hates me, but she understands and is glad that I am doing something that will make me happier.  She’s known me for almost as long as I’ve been working here, and she is fully aware that this is not something I want to be doing for the rest of my life.  We haven’t made a formal announcement to our team yet, and I’ve only shared the information with a few people.  Everyone so far has been extremely supportive, even knowing that I don’t really have anything lined up yet.  That has helped to calm some of my anxieties and confirm that I’m doing the right thing.  And as anxious as I feel about what may happen, there’s not a single desire to take back my resignation.

 I have no idea what’s going to happen next.  I have ideas of what I’d like to see happen, and I have certain things that I don’t want to see happen, but I fully realize that I have given up control of a large portion of that, and I won’t know what will happen until it happens.  But I do know someone who does know what’s going to happen.  And that’s enough for now.

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To Trust Or Not To Trust

I’ve been wrestling with something for a while now.  Maybe avoiding is a better word.  On Memorial Day weekend, I was feeling overwhelmed – not by anything in particular, just by everything that has happened and is happening and that I want to happen.  So much is involved in that.

I came to California a little over five years ago.  Before that, I was living in Texas with a great job, a great church, and a great community.  I was a live in nanny, which was the perfect job for me since I love kids.  The job had so many benefits, and I really enjoyed being in Texas.  But when I moved there in March of 2004, I knew it was a temporary stop.  I didn’t know what God had for me, but I knew that He wanted me out of Iowa.  My entire family had lived in Iowa for many generations.  I needed to break that cycle.  After a year of being in Texas, I could feel that God was asking me to make another move.  I loved where I was at, and I had many friends that I knew would be hard to leave behind.  And I loved those kids.  But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wanted me somewhere else.  In March of 2005, I felt that God was asking me to step out in faith and trust Him.  My plan was to quit my job and head back to Iowa for a visit.  I had no job lined up, but I knew that God was working, and I would not be in Iowa for long.  I moved out of the house after I quit my job because they needed the room for the new live in nanny.  I stayed with a friend’s mom and felt very grateful for the community of friends that I had.  A few days after temporarily moving in with my friend’s mom, I got a job with a family in California.  I was not completely comfortable with taking the job without meeting the family first, but I talked with several family members and friends, and it seemed like a good job.  I was going to be a live in nanny again.  And the best part was that I would be moving into the same area as a good friend who had moved there a year or so before.  I had stepped out in faith, and God had provided.

The job didn’t work out, but that’s of no importance.  It was how God brought me to this area.  That’s all that matters.  A few years ago, I came to know exactly why God wanted me here.  I was again asked to step out in faith and do something that was counter intuitive to my natural wiring.  But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was following where God was leading.  As I look back, I wish that things had turned out a little differently, but I would do it all over again if I needed to.  But I lost so much with that decision, and after almost four years, I still have not fully recovered emotionally.  Now I find myself faced with a decision to step out in faith again.

After my job here didn’t work out, God provided another job fairly quickly.  I was able to have a steady income, and I found a great place to live.  I didn’t think I would be at that job for very long.  I was working in an office which does not suit my personality very well.  But here I am, almost five years later, and I am still working in that office.  With every day that goes by, I hate my job more and more.  Of course, my job loves me.  I do very well at my job because I am wired to to my best at whatever I do.  I have been grateful for this job.  It pays the bills, and I feel as stable as one can in this economy.  There really is not much of a chance of me being laid off.  I have fallen in love with this area, and it is the first place that I have truly felt at home.  The ironic thing is that I have never been through as much stress and depression as I have in the last few years.  I don’t feel that I have what I really need, and it seems that no matter what I do or don’t do, nothing is changing.  So I needed some direction.  I needed to know what God wanted me to do.  His answer was to quit my job.  In theory, that was a great thing to hear.  I’ve wanted to quit my job for a very long time.  But that wasn’t the only message.  I felt that God was asking me to quit my job without having anything else lined up.  I told a good friend about it, and then I did everything I could to avoid the thought.  I really wanted to quit my job, but the thought of doing that without having another job lined up scared me more than I could deal with.  My friend brought it up a couple of times, asking if I had thought more about it or felt that I needed to revisit the idea.  She’s known me for ten years.  If I felt the need to tell her about what I was sensing, then she knew it was important for me to come to a decision one way or the other – and not a decision based on fear or comfort zones.

It is now Labor Day weekend.  Last weekend, I realized that the idea of quitting my job was something that I had to wrestle through and figure out exactly what God wanted me to do.  So I planned to work through some of that this weekend.  My friend went out of town, and I am staying at her house.  I needed to be away from all the distractions of my apartment.  There is so much there I could do to avoid thinking about anything.  I needed to take those things away from myself.  As I sit here writing on Sunday night, I haven’t made a complete decision yet, but there are some things that I know.  I am 100% sure that I will be quitting my job.  God has had me there for a reason, but there is something else He has for me in my future.  I am 95% sure that I will be quitting by the end of this year.  That is the main decision that still needs to be made – when.  I am also 80% sure that I will be quitting without having another job lined up.  That scares me so much.  For a while, I thought that I was having trouble trusting God.  There is an element of that – the last time I trusted Him I lost so much, and I ended up in a very dark place that I have yet to crawl out of.  But what I realized is that I’m having a harder time trusting myself.  Is this really what God is calling me to do?  It really makes no sense.  What happens if I don’t find a job quickly?  I can’t survive here for very long without a job.  I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs.  I even know a couple people who have voluntarily left their jobs (at the same company I’m working for).  The one thing that they all have that I don’t is a second source of income.  They are all married.  I know it’s not easy for them, but they are surviving.  I don’t have that luxury.  It’s just me.  And that scares me to the point that I can’t allow myself to trust what I’m feeling.  I know that I have a very strong sense of discernment, and God has wanted me to trust that more, but I don’t know if I can.  I’m in the middle of the toughest time of my life.  I’m hardwired to not trust myself, but because I can’t seem to get out of this dark place, I don’t trust that what I’m feeling is truly coming from God.  I have plenty of examples in my past of when God has provided.  I don’t really doubt that He will this time.  I do fear that it will turn out to be something that I will not have the strength to handle.  And I do fear that I will find out that I misinterpreted what I was feeling.  I want to fly, but I don’t truly believe that I can.  So I am still really in the same place – wrestling with the question to trust or not to trust.

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