I’m on the edge of doing something major, and all I can do is stare at my pay stub. I remember how excited I was when I heard the offer, realized how much more it was and thought about the possibilities. I see the vacation hours and personal days, the health insurance. A tight month simply means I’m paying more toward my debt than before, not that I need more money.
How can I give this up?
The security is intoxicating. I calculate the number of hours and how much I will need to make to pay my bills, see which loans I can defer for a time. I create different possibilities to see how many hours here, how many hours there, how much per hour, etc. I estimate taxes and try to avoid a breakdown.
Then the crazy thoughts come in. Is there a website to find a rich husband? I would be a great trophy wife. What about my master’s degree? Isn’t it worth something? Maybe it’s time to join a pyramid scheme. I bet draining my savings into a startup will pay off. Will someone pay me to write?
No, no, no, I tell myself. Focus on the real world.
Logically, it makes more sense to stay at my job, figure out what I want to do next. I know this, ok? I also know my job won’t necessarily equal my passion and fulfillment and sometimes we just have to work to support the things in life where we find those. I KNOW so do not try and tell me.
It’s important to note I’ve prayed and fasted for contentment and being present at my job, understanding it enables me to live a pretty cool life. I try to remember I’ve dedicated almost a decade of school, internships, volunteering and working to get here. I didn’t stumble into this career; I earned it. In many ways, I’m quite proud. But I know I can’t stay.
For the first few years, I cared about this field. I invested time and energy into learning more and bettering myself. I live tweeted events and read industry articles. It was like I was on autopilot and I knew all the correct boxes to check for success. I worked in jobs I didn’t like and served in volunteer roles for experience. I stayed places where I wasn’t happy because you’re supposed to stay and suffer for your resume so you can continue to work. I didn’t stop to think about where I wanted to go, only where I should go. Achieve, achieve, achieve, that’s the dream, isn’t it?
For the past two and half years I’ve sat alone at a desk in an office, following my dreams and designing and writing and updating Facebook. At first, I was grateful and I didn’t realize what I was missing. Then the restlessness set in and I thought I needed a new environment. What took me a year and half at my old job only took six months here. This isn’t where I need to be.
In her book Restless, Jennie Allen proposed a question to ask when you feel that pull on your heart to go – “Is my job the most strategic place for my life, my story, my personality and everything I need to preach the gospel?”
I could maybe argue it’s a good place for my life because of security, but that’s it. What I’m doing doesn’t fit who I am or what I can do. I thrive around people and here I wither alone. My story is filled with courage and following even when it’s scary, so staying now goes against who I am.
Again, you might just think I’m a crazy millennial who is looking for something she’ll never find. And you’re also probably thinking I’m being very defensive, because I am. This isn’t the first time I’m having this conversation and it’s always met with well-meaning opposition. Underneath the emotions and impulsiveness, I am fueled by a relatively intelligent human who wants the safest course.
I look at my expenses and my pay stub, and I’m scared. I’m afraid to drop out of a field where I’ve built my career. To put it simply, I am stuck in the ‘what if’ game, too nervous about the risk involved. I question this decision compared to weekends off and the beautiful 9-5 life.
What I have is safety and security, but God is calling me to uncertainty. I’ve felt it all my life, but assumed I wasn’t the type of person God would call into such a place. I come from stable parents who work hard. I’ve done well my entire life so surely the normal life was for me. I ignored the nagging at my soul because I was sure God was mistaken. Now I know.
I don’t know what is next or where I’m going. I wish I had more answers for myself and my family. I don’t know how I’m going to have enough money to survive. Throughout all the ‘I don’t knows,’ there is a greater voice telling me He knows. And that is the only voice I need.
“Let the Lord lead you and trust Him to help. Then it will be as clear as the noonday you were right. Be patient and trust the Lord.” Psalms 37:5-7 CEV
This verse doesn’t promise instant results; all we get is ‘then.’ Trust God and then others will see. There will be opposition and those who think you’re foolish, but the world doesn’t know your heart. Is it made new and ardently pursuing the Father? If the answer is yes, it’s likely what you’re feeling isn’t from you.
It’s hard to be patient when everything is scary. When I’ve spent seven years doing one thing and now I have to find something else. I want to see the shore before I step out of the boat, but that isn’t faith. I need to jump out of the boat, trusting in my Savior to keep me from falling and guide me to the other side, wherever it may be.
Please pray for me, friends.