One of the hardest things, at least for me and my journey to find meaningful work, has been to be persistant in a new direction.
Figuring out that I needed to change direction took a lot of time, by the way. I first needed to realize that the depression, boredom, dissatisfaction, and general sense of ‘I can do so much more than this, and I LONG to do so much more than this!’ were not feelings that I needed to suck up and live with.
Look around you! I would yell at myself, if I dared to think I should try to do something different. There are so many people around you who have to work two, three, even four jobs just to make ends meet – and you’re complaining about working one full-time job that ‘doesn’t fully engage you?’ Suck it up! Be grateful for what you have!
Months burned by under that line of thinking. And on some levels, that line of thinking is totally true:
- I should be grateful for my work. And I am. I was.
- There are lots of people around me who work their tails off around the clock just to pay their bills, and I am and was blessed to have only one place of employment.
Those were true arguments for sure, but after careful examination I discovered the truth behind them: they were fueled by fear.
I was afraid to try something different. I had settled for underemployment.
I am blessed and so thankful that God has opened a new door of work for me. I LOVE and feel completely engaged by the work I do each day. The boredom is gone. The depression is gone. I even get so excited and engaged by what I get to do, and the people I get to do it with, that I can sometimes find it hard to sleep!
But there is still a battle going on inside of me, and on multiple fronts:
- Impostor! I’m trying something new in a few arenas of life right now. While I’m doing things that I know I was created to do, I sometimes catch myself thinking that I’m not really qualified for this! (Even though doing this kind of work was what I was longing for back in my underemployment stint.) The impostor voice whispers: back down! You can’t do this! You’re totally going to fail if you keep going! Go back to where you were before, at least you had MORE skill than the job required! It’s safer there!
- Change is MESSY. Everything got thrown up in the air with my career change, and my wife and I knew it would happen. Instead of working nights, I’m now working during the day. We homeschool. That used to be mostly me working with our boys while my wife worked a full time day job. Now she works with the boys and is holding down a high potential casual/on call position while I’m working. That’s MESSY as we try to get used to our new roles. Change whispers a constant message of: Are you sure you made the right choice? Look at all the upheaval you’ve caused! Maybe this wasn’t the right move…
- Finances are messy. My wife’s pay periods used to be on the weeks I didn’t get paid. In other words: every week we would have a cash injection. It was great! Now, we’re working off my wife’s casual income and my full-time pay check. We’re still trying to get used to it. Financials yell at you, they don’t whisper. And they’re mean too. What? You’re not saving anymore? You’re failing. You’re only making minimum payments on your cards? Failure! You know better than to have those blasted credit cards anyway – Loser! (At least that’s how my finances feel at times.)
All of those voices feel like they’re trying to pull me back to the way things were before. They also seem to tempt me into keeping my head down, and not try new things. To not rock the boat, just settle with what you have already.
I wonder if they are speaking to you today, too? And I wonder what will happen if you listen to them….or more importantly, what will not happen?