I get upset when I look past the distraction of my 10-hour days in that office into the world around me. People I admire are doing things I want to be a part of, things in my own backyard that I could be doing. Simple acts and events that are just out of reach. And as a result, I feel trapped and distant from myself.
If I did not have this secure day job, would I feel the freedom and desire to live boldly and engage in the issues I care about? Am I only whining, because I can, nestled safely in my privilege? I’ve been asking myself these things over and over the past few weeks.
Underneath these questions are likely simpler ones:
What do I need?
Where do I belong?
What am I capable of?
But then I think to myself, I’ve only been at my current job 5 months. That’s not a long time. That’s not even a “respectable” amount of time at a job. I want to do what’s right. Discerning what is right is my challenge.
Over the last few years I’ve watched myself say yes to opportunities only to change my mind months later. My last job became a “no” for me by the second week of my out-of-state training. I pushed back against that desire and stayed for over two years longer than I hoped. And the result was love. I had a hard time saying goodbye to that place.
What if I’ve fled undesirable spaces only to have, in my rush, skipped the lesson? I’m afraid of that too.
I wonder sometimes if it’s a discipline question. I wasn’t raised with discipline. My mother was a single parent and was often too overwhelmed to create order. I was raised partly by a handful of friends and family who would help us. This further complicated my sense of any consistent expectations and consequences. When she had to manage me on her own, my mother’s efforts swung from passive dismissal to indignant and heavy physical abuse. I developed a deep and steady insecurity around what might happen in response to my choices. In many ways, I have had a dangerously high tolerance for discomfort ever since.
In the six years since leaving that home, my sense of limits have been in a process of reformation. With every passing season, I have new questions. The following are my latest. Exactly how much discomfort and how much perseverance is necessary for growth? How much only works to keep me captive? I’ve flirted with the line between growth and death many times. And today I’m not fully sure what I could have done without.
But what if it isn’t about me, my feelings in a space, and what’s right to endure? What if the matter is more practical, more basic? Do I need this job for my career? Will a shorter stint here mar my resume? Will the next chapter depend as heavily on this one as I fear? And what if it’s more spiritual than I realize? Am I where I am meant to be? What if I am being invited to take a risk? A leap of faith.
When the dust settles, I know that the answers are all here. I don’t trust that knowledge at the moment. But I know it. I need to get to a place of trust to receive what’s being offered. Yet I am more akin to struggle and fight for myself. And painstakingly I fight myself.
Now it dawns on me that I need to find stillness. I need to reach out to God. If the answers are here, I can choose to discover them. I will choose.