It’s autumn. In nature, that means some pretty drastic changes. Leaves erupt in the colors of campfire embers and then dance through the crisp air, eventually coming to rest on the forest floor. The song of the robin becomes a faint memory. Days become shorter. Nights become longer. Creation goes to sleep.
This autumn has been especially enjoyable. In fact, I took a walk in a t-shirt last week — pretty much unthinkable in the middle of November in Wisconsin. Despite my determination to enjoy the season, it always brings with it a sense of dread. I know what’s around the corner. I practically get hypothermia dragging my groceries from my car into the house in winter. And I have an attached garage.
Change is scary. You don’t know if the next season will be mild or bring bitter winds. But we can’t stop it, and we can’t control it.
There are seasons in life, too. Personally, I’m experiencing my own autumn — a time of change. I’ve worked full time since I was 20 years old. For a while, I was an interior decorator. Then I made a switch and worked in the nonprofit world for 18 years in marketing and event promotions.
A few years ago, I entered the corporate world and became a content specialist for an insurance company, of all things. It was a big change, but I actually enjoyed the challenge of writing about something that others see as mundane and stodgy and making it into something heartfelt and inviting. Unlike depictions from lawyers’ television commercials, there are a lot of caring people in the industry who compassionately serve others during what can be scary times. Let’s face it, everyone who buys insurance never wants to use it. It means something bad happened.
Several months ago, my job role began changing to require a lot of data, analytics, digital metrics, optimization, benchmarks, and other techno-terms that, quite honestly, don’t trip my trigger. But I tried. I tried really hard. I went to a conference, read online articles, and watched webinars. While I gained a general working knowledge, I knew in my heart that I would never be as proficient or passionate as would be required of me in my new role.
I felt like a hosta. Ha! It always comes back to gardening with me, doesn’t it? Imagine it… a hosta thrives in the shadows of your yard. But if you transplant that lush foliage into full sun, it will shrivel away. Could it survive? Sure. But it would take a lot of effort and care, and it would likely still be a blemish in the landscape. It would never thrive because it wasn’t where it needed to be planted.
Neither was I.
And so, as of last week, I’m officially self-employed. Technically, I’m unemployed, but I’m having a hard time confessing that.
As a perfectionist, it’s difficult for me to admit that I can’t do something. I’ve struggled with feelings of failure and not measuring up for my entire life. The thought that I couldn’t meet and exceed someone’s expectations on the job left me struggling. That, combined with recent management changes, made it clear to me and my employer that I wasn’t a fit for the team anymore. I wasn’t planted in the right spot. I was for a season, but seasons change.
I’ve dreamt of being a full time writer, speaker, and author for a long time. In fact, I recall when I sat in that grade school auditorium listening to an assembly program speaker and thinking, "I'd love to do that someday — inspire someone with my words." I’ve never felt it was a realistic career choice. It doesn’t bring with it the certainty of a steady paycheck and benefits. I’ve always been able to trust in that before.
Maybe it’s time I trust in something greater.
I’ve sensed God nudging me in the past few years to take my crazy dream of being a writer and speaker more seriously. Perhaps he’s allowing this season of change and uncertainty to happen for a reason… for such a time as this. Or, maybe instead of nudging, he decided a good shove was in order.
It’s easy to trust in my own plans and process instead of God. I’m a control freak by nature, and letting go of control and seeing what He has in store is scary, yet thrilling at the same time.
Speaker and author, Nancy Beach put it this way… It’s like a trapeze artist who has to let go of the first swing in order to capture the second. You can’t embrace the new until you let go of the old. It’s the in-between that’s scary when there’s nothing to hold on to. There’s no way to know if you’re gonna land it.
So here I am with nothing to catch me if I fall, other than the arms of a loving God. I’m strangely at peace, and I’m learning to know what real trust is.