(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
No disrespect to those who have had that be the worst thing that has happened to them. Back in May, I was laid off due to cutbacks in funding and what an answer to prayer.
It’s been three and a half years since I moved out of New York City, where I lived as an actress, and moved to the rice fields of Thailand pursuing anti human trafficking work. Since returning to the USA I moved to Oklahoma City, an area of the USA which thanks to its highways, has major issues with trafficking. While being here I have continued my advocacy work while working in non-profits ( if, you are interested in having me speak, please contact me) but no matter what, I just could not get those jobs to fit for me. Then I had a break-through.
One night before I was laid off I confessed to a friend how I felt I wasn’t living up to people’s expectation of me. I am keenly aware that certain things in my life could not have taken place without others’ support. I felt like I was supposed to stay in the non-profit job that wasn’t fulfilling and offered no challenges or excitement because the mission of the organization fit in with my beliefs and because the title I held proved to folks I was doing something of note. I wondered if I was supposed to be in DC, working with leading anti-human trafficking organizations and really putting my money where my mouth was. I couldn’t quite get my mind around what I was doing living in OKC. Then she said something in response that totally blew my mind,
“Is it your heart telling you this or your mind? Is it God telling you this or is it you?”.
I sat back and stared at her. I felt this calm descend over me as I thought through what she said. It wasn’t my heart that was telling me this, it was the little voice in my mind we all have that whispers we aren’t good enough or doing enough. It wasn’t God telling me to move either, he had brought me out to OKC and hadn’t opened any other doors for me that indicated I needed to leave. I was completely and utterly in my own way.
My friend reminded me of the advocacy work I was doing here and the volunteering with at-risk youth. ‘How do you know’, she asked, ‘this isn’t exactly what you were sent here for? That these aren’t the lives you are supposed to be part of and touching? Maybe being an effective advocate is doing just what you are doing. Not moving yourself to DC to work in a job you aren’t sure you want and a city you don’t feel called in to live”.
I can’t tell you how freeing it was to redefine for myself what a successful life looked like. To not listen to the voices in my head or worrying that friends who love me would ever judge my life choices. I had been debating when to leave my job (as I worried over having been there less than a year) but when I was laid off, it presented me with a way out and a wide open canvas where I could take my time and figure out how to best proceed. Since then doors have opened in my life and I am proud of what I accomplished this year professionally as well as personally.
It’s astounding to me how many people are so deeply unhappy in their (mostly corporate) jobs. I’ve been a counselor at When I Grow Up’s ‘Career Camp’ online series and it’s been incredible and sobering to discover there are so many people out there who want to love what they do. Who go into a job they hate day after day because they worry about how to leave it. I know how that feels, it stinks. ( As a side note why do these kinds of jobs have to be so awful? What would improve quality of life at the office? Respect? Better lighting? Better hours? Why a 40 hr work week? But I digress…). My advice is and always has been to give yourself permission to try. Don’t worry about the end before you have started and mostly, don’t get boxed into what you think success is supposed to be.
I am back in the more avant garde work period of my life and I have to say I love it. Some folks had expressed worry over the changes in my resume to which I say that isn’t a problem for me. I did well at all of them, learned things (whether from good or bad experiences) and it’s my life. I can give more with it this way (even if giving does not include $$) and that desire to give with my life is what took me on this journey in the first place.
In some ways, it’s been full circle.
So as this year draws to a close, I give thanks to God for His faithfulness and for being steadfast and patient with me. For redeeming all the hardships and unhappiness of 2012 with this year. I give thanks for all the wonderful people who have come into my life in 2013 and for all the opportunities I have had. Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.