Part 4 of a 4-part series: career
I am only in my 30s so I can only lay claim to a limited amount of wisdom. However, when I have reflected on my life thus far it seems that the best decisions I have made were the times when I chose my own path, one that was different from what was expected. Those decisions have been been God's way of directing me to the life He has for me.
Visions of success
Sometime in college I developed a vision of success for myself that included working in an advertising agency, having an office of myself, going to client meetings, wearing fancy business clothes, and winning design awards. And that's the path I put myself on. And I actually did all those things. Except I didn't love it quite as much as I thought I would.
Work with heart
My favorite client while at the agency was a rehabilitation hospital. Doing design work that supported an organization that did clear and obvious good in the world felt good. Not to say that doing design work for organizations with a product to sell wasn't also good. But woodworking machinery didn't have my heart the way miraculous recovery stories did.
Work with heart: library edition
My next job was to be an in-house designer (a lonely only!) for my city's public library system. You guys, my first real job beyond babysitting was at a library! Returning to work at a library felt like coming full circle in so many ways. I was privileged enough to help the organization develop a new logo and completely rebrand. I dropped to part-time hours after my second child was born and truly thought I might work there forever.
An idea that won't leave
While pregnant with my second child I gave serious thought to quitting my job completely. When I was given the opportunity to work part-time I filed the idea away, thinking I was done with it. However, the file drawer stayed open and that idea never stayed put. It kept jumping back out into plain sight. Holy Spirit kept bringing it up to me in new and various ways and I just couldn't let it go entirely.
The big decision
I said I would never stay at home full-time. I didn't think I had it in me to spend all day every day with my kiddos. My mom worked, both my grandmothers worked, I even had a great-grandmother who worked as a police officer alongside her sheriff husband. Working women were my normal.
Besides, I loved so many things about my job at the library (including the generous gift of a part-time schedule). How could I give that up? I liked working. I wanted to work. But God wanted something else from me and so I obeyed and quit my job.
Why quitting saved me
It has been 6 years since I quit and I can better understand what God had in mind. Our family life got lighter and easier even with the added complications of a third child being born and school starting for the first child. The dollars were less but the schedule was more pleasant.
But more importantly, I unwound. After many years of putting pressure on myself to succeed I was stressed by default. I had to learn to really believe deep in my heart that I was a beloved daughter even when I didn't do or accomplish anything. God had to strip away my work so I could stop using that as my identity and instead rest fully in my identity as His.
Now my own business!
So I've also said "I'll never own my own business" and here I am. I can promise you that God does indeed have a good sense of humor! He also knows what's best. I can guarantee that the Amanda of 6 years ago would not have been able to have a healthy relationship with her work if she was starting a business.
What did you say you would never do?
Is there anything in your life you swore you would never do but it turned out God had the last laugh? What was it and how do you feel about it now?