This past year has been all about changes for me. On the outside, it may seem like a lot is the same, between my job and my family, but I have been growing and evolving so much. One of the biggest changes has been my perspective–toward my job, my roles in life, and my dreams for my future.
I’ve been seeing more and more through my experiences, Bible study, and other reading that life goes in stages. What is the best decision one day may not stay the best decision forever, and what is right for you and your family right now may not be the right thing four years from now, or even four days from now. One of my pastors told me once that God’s will isn’t always about making a specific choice, say between this job and that job, but more about who you are–if you’re seeking God and seeking to become more and more like Him, God can use you wherever you are.
This has become more and more evident to me in terms of my job. If you know me well, you probably know that I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a long time. All through high school and college I knew that was the career I was working toward. I didn’t need to take general classes to see what fit me in school–I knew what I wanted and I went after it. I got a job straight out of college and got my Master’s, and then started working toward becoming Nationally Board certified.
But in the 7 years that I’ve been teaching, something has been working in my heart and in my head. I just didn’t really LOVE what I was doing. Of course there have been amazing aspects of teaching, and I know that I have been right where I belong for these 7 years, but something was off. I taught at a private school first, and thought that unsettled feeling was because I was being led to public school instead, so I applied for the public district and got a job there. I know that was exactly what I needed to do at the time, and I was at peace about moving to a rougher school from what was really a cushy job. But as I’ve been teaching at my current position, I’ve still felt that unsettled feeling that I just don’t love what I do. And this year I’ve decided (along with the support of my husband) to take a break from teaching after this year ends and stay home with my son.
This decision has been a really tough one for me to make. I’ve always either been a teacher or been working towards being a teacher for more than half of my life–it is part of my identity, who I am. What am I if not a teacher? What about all the time and money and effort I’ve put into my degrees and the beginning stages of National Boards? What about the students I’ve taught and built relationships with? What about the income I’m bringing in? These are questions other people have been asking me, too, when they discover my plans to leave teaching, at least for a while.
It all boiled down to one question for me, when I really thought about it: Who am I to decide that I want something more for my life? What makes me different from anyone else who is unhappy in their job? Why should I get to make a choice to live my life differently? I’m not the only person in the world who would rather stay home with their child. I’m not the only one who dreads their job every day. I’m not the only person who has anxiety every night before work, thinking about the job. I’m not the only one who is unhappy, so why should I get to do it differently?
I’ve been doing a lot of praying and reading and soul searching, and I’ve come to one conclusion: of course I’m not different than anyone else who feels stuck in their job and dreams of something different. But I’ve done one thing: I’ve given myself permission to have a different dream. I’ve decided that I can. If I feel called to something more, something better, than what I’m living right now, and it doesn’t go against what I know to be true, why CAN’T I make a change?
And so I’ve decided that I can. I’m taking a leap of faith into what I feel called to do. I’m scared to death about it, if I’m being honest. I have so many insecurities as a wife and a mom, and sometimes I take solace in the fact that I work as an excuse for falling short in those roles (falling short in my mind, anyway). It’s scary to take that shield away, but I know I’ll be a better wife and a better mom when I’m not stuck in a dark cloud all the time. It’s scary to jump into my coaching business full force and have people that love and care about me think I’m completely insane, but I know that I’m making the right choice for me.
I have spent too much of my adult life feeling stuck, and I’ve decided that I can. I can get unstuck. I can live a different life and dream a different dream. And I’m excited to see where that choice takes me!