As I woke up this morning, dread creeping in about another day at work, contemplating why I had accepted a position at a new company, and thinking back on what my life at my old job was like (easy, comfortable, flexible, but with no upward movement), I realized that I am struggling with my identity at this job. I am in a role, which is not ideal for me, wondering where I am going, what I am doing, how I am going to succeed, and how to navigate the many, many personality types that surround me. This all while dealing with a recent death in the family, a guilt about not taking care of myself, a fractured heel bone, two kids in sports, science projects and book reports due, FSA testing every week (not necessarily accurate, but that is what it feels like) two kids and myself struggling with anxiety, and a fast-paced workplace that leaves me exhausted at the end of an eight-hour day. I come home, I feel fat, I feel angry, I have no patience, no love for myself, and I struggle to cook dinner at night.
I go to work the next day, and I look around at this new job, my boss is 4 years younger, and my coworkers are averaging approximately 14 years younger. I have more experience than all of them, and I am still not any closer to achieving the recognition I have sought after in my career. I chose this position.
I was promised an opportunity to learn and grow and have now realized I am in a place that leaves me nowhere to go, and the more frustrated I get, the further backward I step. No upward movement, no chance to prove myself. I have become disheartened seeing how to fix the problems around me, but having no authority to do so, seeing my coworkers struggle with the workload and lack of appreciation, no management, develop yourself, sink or swim, you are on your own environment. I had prayed about taking this job, prayed that It would lead me the right direction, and now I felt as if I was given an impossible task. I can’t survive here, I can’t thrive here. I have talents that I cannot use here. All the while, I am trying to navigate a world where my beliefs, my faith, does not come first with anyone but myself. Why am I allowing all this burden, this job define me as a person, but more importantly as a Christian?
I saw a sticker that said, “stay true to yourself.”
Well, what does that mean? I don’t even recognize myself. I don’t even know who I am, who I have become at this job. I see glimpses of myself with my kids, with the ladies group at church, with friends, and my husband, but not the whole me. Not the person God intended me to be.
Why am I focusing on this job at all? Why don’t I just get a new job? This can’t be where God wanted me to be.
Then it hit me.
God didn’t put me in this job to be promoted and move up and make money and become the star. He put me in this job to learn more about myself and to learn how to be strong in my faith while surrounded by chaos. To truly discover and use my God-given talents.
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your benefit, which leads you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17.”
It doesn’t matter that everyone else is in their own sinking ship just emptying their own buckets of water trying to stay afloat. God is using this job to teach me that my worth is not defined by what is happening around me. He is using this job to show me that my faults are not what I should be focusing on, that my failures are not as big as I think they are, and that I can do more than just empty buckets out of my own boat and stay afloat. He wants me to use my God-given talents to learn to love myself, to learn to be happy and feel accomplished with what I have done in my life. To become the woman I am today, and to use my gifts to show God’s love in my life to all the sinking ships around me. My boat isn’t sinking, it’s growing. Growing with God’s love, making room for other people to come aboard and feel this same love.
“Each and every day of our lives, God presents to us the people & opportunities upon which he expects us to act.” Father Walter Caszek
After meeting my spiritual Mom for my bi-weekly mentor/mentee breakfast, and after letting her read all of this story from above, I headed to Walmart for the first time this year. I was browsing the beauty section looking for a hair mask and ran into a former employee that worked for me over 10 years ago. I asked him how he was, how life was, and he did the same. He is in his final residency at the University of Florida in Internal Medicine and I couldn’t be prouder to see how far he has come. After we made it through catching up, he proceeded to tell me that he wanted to thank me for everything I did for him, that I was tough on him, but he wouldn’t be who he was today if it wasn’t for me. From letting him stay at my house over Christmas break to pushing him to be amazing at his job. He was grateful. By this point, I was crying, in the middle of Walmart, like a true Walmartian. No makeup, boot on foot, workout clothes, hair up and crazy, crying in the middle of the beauty aisle. If that doesn’t paint a pretty picture, I don’t know what does. I had shown him God’s grace and God’s love, and for that he was thankful.
God has a way of showing us when we are on the right path and where we should be going when we are unsure. All the stress from the week, and coming to the realization of what God was trying to tell me, led me to Walmart to hear precisely what I needed to hear. When we listen and obey, we are blessed and reassured in Him.