So my previous post about ships and anchors was way too cryptic and metaphorical. Good lord, sometimes I try too hard to be literary and stuff.
Truth is, I resigned my teaching position in February. The decision came as a complete suprise to most everybody except John and me; although, if you would have told me in August that I was going to resign in February, I would not have believed you. I was fully dedicated to my career, even the parts of it that were making me weary.
My reasons for leaving the profession are fairly simple: primarily, I believe God is calling me to do something else–namely, to put my husband and my children first. That’s the simple answer. It’s the easiest way to explain it, and it’s what makes the most sense to myself and others, and it is true.
I’ll confess, however, that there is a lot more going on beneath the surface that I don’t even fully understand. I didn’t quit to be home with the girls. I didn’t quit because I’m tired of teaching. My reasons dwell somewhere in the space between and something altogether different. I was led by God, whom I want to know better but have never fully trusted, to take a huge step of faith–and I did it. A significant part of that step of faith is to not know what’s next. To not fill up my future with plans to make myself feel more secure.
Over the past four months, I have come to understand that I am supposed to dwell in this uncertainty for awhile. It makes so much sense in terms of my spiritual walk. What does a child do when she is about to walk into a room that is a little too dark, or a situation that is quite overwhelming? She holds the hand of someone who is bigger and stronger–someone she trusts. I accepted Jesus when I was six years old, and finally, thirty years later, I am ready to trust Him and let Him lead. When I first made this decision, it was exhilerating. I was full of peace about it.
I still am at peace about it.
But that is not to say that there have not been troubling spots along the way. I gave up my thesis work–a decision that was (oddly enough) even harder to make than resigning. Knowing that I am putting more financial pressure on my amazing husband makes me feel anxious and guilty. Having to tell certain coworkers that I was leaving was incredibly hard because I knew that they would be disappointed… which meant that they had been counting on me… which meant that I was valued… which made me feel as though I was letting them down. All those things I have respectively avoided, worked hard for, desired, and never wanted to do so much in my professional life. It was far more difficult than I had anticipated.
Then, as the school year wound down to an end, the well-meaning questions started: Are you getting excited? Yes, but I have some big stuff on my plate to deal with this summer. Are you looking forward to being home with your girls? Yes, but I am planning to work in the fall at least part-time. We can’t afford for me to not work. Whatever God has planned for me, I’ll do. Have you started looking for another job? No, not yet. Not really. God will make it clear what I’m supposed to do when I’m supposed to do it.
I could see them reading my face, not necessarily judging, but trying to understand my decisions. I’m fortunate that I worked in a community where I could say, “I’m stepping out in faith,” and most people would affirm that–at least in words. But in the faces of many of them, their eyes would register a fliker of uncertainty. Maybe they were just mirroring something in my own eyes that I couldn’t see. Then they’d backtrack to how nice it was that I would be staying home with the girls (despite my previous clarification), because that made more sense to them. It was easier for them to talk about in those terms.
I’m not going to lie, it was very difficult for me — my pride — to admit that I was doing something that could be construed as irresponsible. But I knew that to pretend I had a plan when I did not was foolish. If I was going to step out in faith, then I had to be honest about what I was doing. Otherwise, where would the testimony come from? What was the point? How can I be a witness if I hid behind answers that seemed more acceptable? More to the point, should I hide this step of faith under the proverbial bushel?
Embracing the unknown can be scary. But letting people see me be vulnerable… giving up my pride and letting them judge me however they wished without giving a pretense that would soften that judgment… that, as it turns out, was far scarier.
…ever so freeing.