“Fear is good. The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” -Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art.
I am scared and nervous to say this out loud. I’ve been testing the waters, sharing with people, for a few weeks now, and it has not gotten less scary.
Things you should know about me:
-I have a plan for everything. Even my plans have plans.
-I am not a risk taker when it comes to finances. We have retirement plans I think about often, long-term financial goals, and safety nets set up at every turn.
-I have had a job and a steady paycheck since turning 16. I am currently 36, and, while math is not my strong suit, that means I’ve been working non-stop for 20 years.
-I like working; I’ve been the main breadwinner our entire marriage and have a sense of pride about that.
-I work hard; teaching, tutoring, full-time job while in college, part-time jobs if I felt like I had too much free time, writing and blogging nights and weekends in between teaching and parenting and coaching.
-I never stop; maybe it’s an Enneagram 8 thing, maybe it’s an oldest child thing, maybe it’s an anxiety thing. But I don’t stop doing things. Projects, writing, home remodeling, cleaning, creating, traveling, reading, I am always working on three things and getting ready for the next ten.
-I am making this list to make myself feel better and to justify (to myself, and possibly you, too…) what I’m about to tell you.
When I learned last fall that my school was closing, it didn’t feel real.
Then this spring when I had time to process what was happening, it became very real.
Today is my last day of school. I’ll spend the afternoon at field day at a local park then I’ll come home, work on finalizing my grades, and finish up a few loose ends. I’ll turn my laptop and teaching supplies in on Tuesday.
I’ll be officially without a school or a job.
And I won’t be applying for a new one.
We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. -Ephesians 2:10, NRSV
I am a writer.
I don’t say that to brag or boast. It’s just what I am. I can tell you with absolute certainty I was created to write and encourage and say hard things and point people to Jesus.
We’re all created for that last one, but I know the way I’m supposed to do it is through writing words.
And so I’m going to do it. Full time.
I’m taking this God-given skill and pushing into it really hard and with lots of focus to see what He wants to do with it. And what’s scary and exciting to say is the SECOND I let myself imagine not going back to teaching next year, things started happening. Things that non-believers would call coincidence, but Jesus followers know has absolutely nothing to do with chance.
Things like the renters who have lived in our rental property for eight years suddenly abandoning the house and breaking their lease at just the moment when we have the resources to get the house ready to sell. At just the moment the Indy market is hot and we could make a pretty substantial profit. At just the moment when the profit could cover our mortgage for a year while I go after a scary dream.
Things like all the interviews I had for teaching jobs being cancelled and not rescheduled. It felt too irresponsible to just decide to not find a new job without at least sending out resumes and accepting requests for interviews. But then after things were scheduled, interviews were cancelled. All of them.
Things like Chris getting a new job in the spring and for the first time in his life, he has health insurance and retirement and all the things we’d need if I was to give up my job and benefits.
And a million other little things happening at just the right time.
Yesterday in my counseling session, I told my therapist it almost felt defiant and dangerous to not take this jump. Like I would be saying no thanks to all the answers and things God’s giving me that I have been begging for forever. I’ve written about hesitating when God answers my prayers before, and it still feels silly to question but I’m doing it anyway (see list above for explanation).
“I do know from many of my interviews with people who have embraced a God-given dream that it’s not uncommon to feel some strong reservations to welcome that dream. A voice inside rises up in protest and questions, Who do you think you are? As David Benner suggests, we learn to distrust our desires; we assume that they are too much or too selfish to admit to ourselves, let alone anyone else. And yet what if our desires are the most direct access to the subtle work of the Spirit within us?” –Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-Given Dream by Beth A. Booram.
My friend Brittany heard my tentative whispers to this career change and immediately sent me the above book. I was scared to read it, because what if this book leads me to the answer of no? What if working through this process shows me I’m just being lazy and selfish and dreamy?
But the opposite has happened. That book has set a fire inside of me. Or as the book says, I “immediately felt a distinct blend of deep fear and deep joy.”
That’s what this is. Deep fear and deep joy. Simultaneously.
Last month during my morning quiet time, I read the David and Goliath chapter in the book I referenced yesterday. When I say I had to sit with that story for weeks, I am not exaggerating. I’ve thought constantly of the character of God, I’ve thought constantly of the things I’ve learned through a lifetime of following him.
God is faithful.
God is my provider.
God is my peace.
God is more creative than I could ever be.
God is my guide.
God has never left me.
God answers my prayers.
God goes before me.
So I’m doing this. I’m giving myself one year to see if I can make a career out of writing and creating. I’m giving myself one year to see if I can support my family doing this. I’m giving myself one year to see where God leads, what comes from being scared-but-trusting.
I am trusting God to do what he has always done in the life of his faithful followers, me included.
I am trusting God that if I live by faith and make choices based on his never-changing character, he will be faithful as well.
I am so so scared.
I am so so excited.
And, as of next week, I am so so unemployed.
Here we go. *deep breath*
“This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things but honest things that speak to who she is and who she is called to be.” -Morgan Harper Nichols
DISCLOSURE: AFFILIATE LINKS USED.
Photography by Huff Photography
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