I quit my job.
I wasn’t unhappy. On the contrary… my team, my boss, my peers, the work… it was good. Really good. I felt valued and appreciated. I wasn’t leaving for a title or for more money. I wasn’t running away from anything.
I was running toward something.
But before that I was afraid. That’s honestly why it took so long. Fear is powerful. And everyone expresses their fear differently. For some it comes out as avoidance. Or solitude. Or inaction. For some it comes out as anger. Or lies. Or impulsive change.
But at the heart of all fear is what you could lose. Perceived loss. Don’t get me wrong, your perception could be well founded, grounded, rationale… backed by science, by history, by personal or relational experience. But perceived loss can also be emotional, irrational, uninformed, misinformed… inflated.
In fear you think you can lose a lot. Physical health, cognitive function, your life. You might have trouble putting it to words, but sometimes your responses in anger or defensiveness are about fear of losing credibility, respect or access to things that give you comfort or an identity or meaning.
In the midst of fear we are often not our best selves.
So I took some advice and wrote down my fears. On paper. The worst case scenarios. The mid case scenarios. Seeing my feelings in writing revealed how I was allowing my emotions to rule my choice. So I kept writing.
- If this thing happens, my response can be X.
- If that thing happens, my response can be Y.
Turns out every scenario had acceptable alternatives. And every scenario was also unlikely, if not occasionally, downright ridiculous (e.g. leaving my company meant I would never be employed. again. ever. doing anything).
And I asked myself where those fears came from. I prayed a lot. I wrote those down too.
- Was the fear from God… warning me and guiding me and protecting me?
- Was it the world misguiding me, and telling me where my worth and purpose come from?
- Were these fears getting me closer to or farther away from my passion?
- Were they bringing me closer to or farther away from God?
- Closer to or farther away from my marriage?
- Closer to or farther from making a difference in the things that tug at my heart?
I wrote down the answers. Eventually the fear subsided. I looked up. I knew what I wanted to do.
And I was at peace about it. Actually I was excited about it. I couldn’t stop smiling, alone on my porch with my coffee and bible listening to the birds, embracing the sun… I was ready.
There was also planning. And math. And multiple walks in the woods for hours talking it through. There was research and spreadsheets. There were tear filled conversations with trusted friends. God asks me to trust Him. And I do. But he also asks me to use the brain and the life I’ve been given to be thoughtful and wise with the free will He gave me. So I do that too.
Three weeks ago I quit my job.
Today I started a new one.
- Am I afraid? Not anymore.
- Am I nervous? A little… I mean this is a big thing.
- Do I move forward with confidence, purpose and hope? Absolutely.
Why? Because there is something on the other side of comfort. On the other side of familiar. Because God didn’t create me, so I would live for me. He created me with a purpose that is clear and simple and yet hard to follow.
Love God and love You.
- Which you? Not myself. You. The person reading this. All of the you’s. Even those who don’t read it.
- Why? Because He created you. And that is what gives you value.
- And my way to love Him, is to love you, because He loves you.
- When we agree. And when we don’t. When you love me. And when you don’t. When you love God. And when you don’t.
So no matter what happens. No matter my work tasks for the day. No matter my employer. I can be confident that I know who I am and whose I am. I can be confident that in this change, on the other side of fear, I can live out this purpose.
And I will.
In my town.
One business at a time.
One owner at a time.
One employee at a time.
One customer at a time.
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you
WHEREVER you go.