August 29, 2016

just like that

Last time we chatted (and by chatted, I mean I typed and you read), I shared how God was moving in my life and I felt drawn to walk away from something known, comfortable, and good because sometimes I am a crazy human. When I made the decision to step away from my last job, I had no idea what would come next. My worst case scenario plan was to just pick up and move back to California. I'd live with my parents and look for work. The only thing about that situation that would be a worst case scenario is the bed in my parents guest room. It is the worst. Everything other than that would be totally fine because my parents rule, have cable, make delicious food, and live in a beautiful place. 

To understand how I ended up exactly where I am, we need to rewind to January of 2015. I had found myself at the part of my graduate program where I had to do a clinical internship. I applied to a couple of different agencies, interviewed, but one day drove past this little place that piqued my interest. It was an organization centered on recovery so I called the number on the sign outside and met with the clinical supervisor. I found out that not only did all of their programs center on recovery (which I care very much about), they had a program in which they contracted with the federal government to provide services to inmates in transition (another thing/population I care a ton about). Insert all the heart eye emojis here. You know that's my jam. I spent roughly nine months working with the most unique individuals and had some triumphant moments and truly devastating moments. Several months into my internship, I was offered a job upon my graduation. I wasn't interested. Thanks but no thanks.

When I started to feel the nudge to leave the university, that offer was in the back of my head but I didn't really want it. I remember telling a friend that it was flattering, but I wasn't interested. I started to look at jobs all over the world essentially. I looked at a school counselor position in Seoul, South Korea, a case manager position in Nashville, a slew of different jobs in Seattle and California, and a job at a school in Washington DC. After applying to the job in DC, I received a letter that they were going in a different direction for hiring and thought to myself, "Uh okay, nice try but you're a small little Quaker school so you'd BE so lucky to have me there." A couple months later, I found out that was the school that President Obama's daughter went to. I take it all back, I would have gone a different direction too. No hard feelings, little Quaker school. I even pursued a couple of positions in Boise, but had my heart set on Seattle or California. Slowly but surely, everything I had pursued failed to pan out the way I wanted it too. 

Meanwhile (I know, I know, I should have seen it coming too), the agency I had interned for started mentioning again that they'd love to have me if I was interested. I politely refused again. I'm not sure why I kept refusing. I'm not sure if it was pride or fear, but whatever it was, it kept me thinking that I needed to continue looking elsewhere. Things kind of clicked in mid July when I thought back to a conversation I had with a dear friend as we were walking at Lake Lowell months prior. I said to him, "I think I'm being called to work with the incarcerated population and that scares me a lot." He asked me why it scared me and I told him, "It's really hard work. I want to be called to something more gentle, something easier, a population more receptive..." As I thought back to that conversation, I realized that my next step had been right underneath my nose since January 2015. A few days later, I asked my supervisor there if they were still looking for someone to come on staff and he said yes. I asked if I could be considered and was given the job right away. I started two weeks later. 

I told my roommate the other night that I keep waiting to hate my job because I've had a few people tell me I wouldn't like it full time or that I'd get burnt out so quickly, but everyday, I leave loving it. Don't get me wrong, it is hard work. It is messy, emotional, and can sometimes seem hopeless, but for some reason (hey Jess- it's probably because God is good and ordained this and loves you so maybe just lean into that, ok?) I come back excited and grateful every single day. I don't know if this is something I'll do for the rest of my life or maybe it's just for a short season, but here I am. 

As I type these words, I'm overcome with gratitude. It is in not lost on me that I have been given such an incredible opportunity to pretty much run my own program and oversee my own clients. I have flexibility, a supervisor who believes in me and trusts me, and clients who trust and respect me. When I think about whether or not I earned this or deserve this, the answer is a resounding no. Of course I don't- there are probably people who are far more qualified than I am or smarter, but again, here I am. Obedience has had an incredible way of opening my eyes to blessings and creating a strong sense of gratitude in me. 

I'm confident that there are tough days to come, days where I probably wonder if I made a mistake by leaving my own job, days where I cry and don't want to come back the next, or even days where I contemplate cashing out my savings and driving straight to Mexico to start a new life (yes, I have entertained the thought before..). Even if, nay, even WHEN those days come, I hope that I'm able to remember all of this and see that I have been so incredibly blessed by God's providence. 

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