As I wrote earlier in the week, my word for 2014 was rest. I chose rest following what had been the busiest year of my life, blissfully unaware of what 2014 would hold. I had hoped that I would be able to take a break from the hustle, but reality knocked the wind out of me. Life doesn't always go according to plan.
For the past year, day to day life has been divided between three counties, with my job often taking me far outside that radius. By the time I got home from work, I was too mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted to do much. Honestly, there were days that I came home from work and just went to bed. There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was go go go. And maybe its the running and the hustle, or simply the season of life I'm in, but lately I've been feeling this overwhelming desire to stay. Home has become my element.
Especially in the latter half of the year, I began to hate my job as a social worker. We had all prayed for this job. I spent the first five months after C and I got married scouring the internet for any potential job openings. Old professors and pastors allowed me to list them as references. And here I was, absolutely loathing that half hour commute to the office, and feeling apathetic at best towards the children and families I was working with.
All the while, it seemed like people around me were flourishing. I watched as my friends stepped into leadership roles in our church. I watched as they led worship, as they spoke, as their pieces seemed to fall perfectly into place. I cried, and cried a lot. I felt alone, and terribly fragmented.
Eventually, I reached the point when my restlessness outweighed my fear of failure and rejection. I knew I had to make a change.
So when a position opened up in my home county, I immediately applied. My supervisor had told me that I would have to go through the process of being interviewed again, but if I wanted the job, it would be mine.
Perhaps I should offer a little bit of back story: when I was first applying to work in child protective services, I intentionally avoided applying for any positions in my home county. I thought there would be freedom in the anonymity. I would be able to graze the frozen food aisle without the dreaded possibility of running into a client. And it goes without saying that people who work in child protective services are not always the most liked. So I commuted half an hour to and from work every day, thinking it would alleviate that possibility of discomfort. What it really did, though, was leave me feeling entirely disconnected.
So this new possibility not only meant that my commute would be significantly shortened and I could spend less on gas, but it also afforded me the opportunity to breakaway from some of my more tiresome and time consuming cases. What had been originally seen as a burden has become such sweet relief.
The running had exhausted me. What's more, it rendered me incapable of putting down roots. I can't tell you how soundly I slept after I made the decision to move.
I think sometimes we get scared of movement, especially when we lack a clear sense of direction. We're brought up to think that if we take a chance and wind up stepping outside of God's will for our lives, we will end up facing a whole lot of bad consequences. I thought that way for a long time, and it wasn't until this past October, when I was writing the identity series, that I began to consider a different perspective.
My friend Alyce said that I have options, and that I have to take ownership of the path that I'm on, knowing that the identity Christ purchased for me is not compromised by a single misstep.
“I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” -- Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways
Now, I can feel more air filling my lungs as my margins widen. I have the space to take a step back and take an inventory of the raw materials I'm working with. Throughout scripture, we see the threads of everyday people taking whatever is in their hands and using it to fulfill the mission of God. They were willing to show up and to trust God, even when they couldn’t see the next step, and even when things didn’t make sense.
I’ve also thought long and hard about my word for 2015. At first, I considered wholehearted, and then thought I had settled on aligned (I told my husband its a wonder we got married because I am so dang noncommittal). I even advertised for both words here. But I haven’t been able to shake this idea of blooming where we’re planted.
So my goal for 2015 is to learn myself, to examine the ground that I have been planted in, and bloom.