I decided to give my notice, but then agreed to periodic part time work to help through the transition, until a new person was hired. So I technically ended this week, after a very long "leaving" haha.
So many factors went into this decision. I realize how lucky I am to even have the choice.
1. Let me reiterate that I LOVE ORU (Oral Roberts University). This is where my husband and I met and went to school years ago, where two of my girls go now, and where I worked this last year. I also say, and mean it, this is where some of the top quality college students go! I loved being in the mix with the students on campus, had FUN with and so appreciated my boss and co-workers, and am so grateful for the quality people who make it an awesome college. I will miss all of that for sure. I'm so glad for the things I learned, the students and people I met while being so closely involved on campus, and I'll miss running into my daughters for sure!
2. For many years, I worked part time from home doing a variety of things. I always find a way to make a little money. (I'm sure I still will). Then four years ago I took a leap of faith and began to not work at all (for money), with the support of my husband, to concentrate on the girls ministry and program I was attempting to take community wide.
Looking back, I can see what was accomplished in a couple of years of effort: community girls camps and workshops, after school programs, invitations to speak began, a cookbook published, a book on middle school was started, and a book proposal was requested by a publisher then denied (to be resurrected!).
3. Then about a year ago, the time for college hit with my girls. Life got more expensive, and I thought I'd help the family budget by contributing again. So I took a full time job at the college my girls attend. My husband didn't ask me to, I just decided to one day. I think I felt the self imposed pressure that "this is what we do now that we're almost empty nesters", and I also felt a bit of fun excitement over a new season and new challenge. I guess I thought I could do it all for a short season.
4. But now I know I couldn't do it all, at least well. I took on more than I could chew. Often in our culture, we do too much, and run on fumes, instead of doing what we are meant to do, well. It's easy to fall into. I've always been the type that wants to do one thing and do it really well....not so much this last year!
After trying, I realized I couldn't do a very full time job, be the family member I want to be, take care of myself, and take care of a growing girls outreach. At least not while staying sane. :)
Granted, part of me feels wimpy at this realization, because the whole world lives like this, it seems!
But the other part of me is thinking "No wonder our world is as it is!" Life is out of balance, in many ways. I don't do well flying by the seat of my pants in every area, all the time.
What my spirit wants, is to be where God wants me to be. Exactly where that is, is what I was trying to discern over the last few months. As I was trying to be responsible and help contribute to the needs of family, the Lord started challenging me - wouldn't He take care of me if I take care of His needs (what He wants to accomplish in my family and life, as well as in girls and moms, through whatever He leads me to do)? At the same time, I don't feel like taking this job was a mistake, at all! Don't misunderstand. It had so many good parts, I gained skills, made great contacts, and loved the people interaction. It was tremendous and necessary. But the American/human self-sufficiency is so ingrained in us, even if we don't think it is. I know from experience.
I fought a mental battle- of being logical and responsible, yet wondering if God was sure He wants me to concentrate on a life well lived and a calling, more than a full time job, (for now. I can't guess the future). I wasn't even sure I was hearing right, because my spirit felt very out of whack compared to how I had been. I felt wimpy and guilty at not being able to do both. Everyone does this, shouldn't I be able to?
I AM entrepreneurial and work oriented, just in a different way. I do have long term business and ministry goals. There are so many ideas I want to see come to fruition! They need more time and focus than I have been able to give this last year.
5. I've lived long enough to know that there are seasons to life, and desires change. I have been a stay at home mom, worked part time from home, and now worked full time, all while having kids. So I've done each, and felt right doing each at the time.
I knew when I quit that I would be misunderstood by some, maybe judged, but I felt willing to take the misunderstandings, and even the jokes. "The four hour work week" and "I'm leaning out, not leaning in".......yeah, yeah, yeah. hahaha. I can see the humor. (Those are plays on two current books, if you didn't know).
One person asked what message my quitting was giving to my kids. (I didn't mind the question, it was a good one). That made me think, and I was happy with the answer. What's my message? Sometimes it's better to make the hard decision, to go against the flow, to make the unlikely choice, when it feeds the spirit, the family, God's purpose for us, and life in general, instead of employment that feeds in a different way. I realize I have the choice, because my husband works and okay with this. Some don't have the choice I realize, and I'm only speaking of my experience. Some may say my message could be "quit when it's hard" or something similar. I knew that was a possible misunderstanding I might have to deal with, but I knew that wasn't my message.
Sometimes quality of life is more important than what culture pushes us to do. There is tremendous pressure on women from one angle to work, and pressure from another angle to not work. It's a catch-22. But it's a battle we all feel!
There is also something that tells us once the kids are older teens, the mom being at home isn't as important. But now I realize that isn't true, for me. There is something to be said for peace in the home, and being present in the way our family needs us to be, instead of trying to do it all, with partial ability.
Some can handle it all. At this stage in life, it wasn't my forte! So I decided to make a change.
I can't compare what God is leading me to, with what He is leading others to do. What He asks of me may not be what He asks of you, and vice versa. But for me, the ministry He's called me to is not an option. I don't want it to be! There are people waiting to be reached, plans waiting to be done, writing to be completed, that won't be done until I'm ready to make the room in my life for the purpose He's put before me. And I'm happy to do it! It needs a certain amount of time and energy. I can't help but do the girls ministry. In my spare time, I'm doing research, writing (sometimes only in my head), thinking about the issues of the day, talking to girls and moms, planning events, buying cute things I see for meetings, thinking up new curriculum. It doesn't take effort. (well, the writing does). I'm happy and excited to do these things. They are energizing!
SO, I am giving my focus to this ministry, to family, and to a balanced life. Meanwhile, I'm asking God to continue to provide for all that we need, like He always has. We Americans can be so good at feeling the pressure to meet our needs ourselves, whether we need to or not, when we can turn to the Lord instead. Doing our part, (and knowing what that part is), and then letting God do the rest, is what He requires. I plan to enjoy this fun season as my girls enjoy the college years, like I did. I'm so blessed they are there! As I get in my place He wants me in for this season, I believe He'll bless every member of our family. I'm thankful for a husband that gives me this freedom.
And because of the exciting news that my girls outreach became a non profit this summer, I look forward to growing it. When I think of the potential Girls 101 Foundation has, plans are endless! The issues facing girls today as they grow up are only becoming bigger, and we want to help girls grow up well, and be an encouragement to those raising up girls as well.
That is my newsflash. Just so you know. And an explanation why blogging has been scarce the last few months. It was a full year, lots of milestones and happy occasions, coupled with difficulties too. Isn't that how life is.
P.S. One final tidbit of news. Carpal tunnel. I got that in the last few months on the job. Or I may not have gotten it (they can't name what is wrong with me yet for sure, it seems to be a combination of things- all I know is that my hand doesn't work right anymore, and that my arm is in a constant state of feeling abnormal). That might have pushed me to a decision making point, whether to keep working or not. I'm dealing with doctors to fix it now. I can't write legibly (torture as a journaler), and can only type for very short amounts of time. (This blog took multiple settings!) So I'll need a little time before all those writing goals come to fruition.
Speaking of blogging, I miss it! But by the time I finished typing all day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was type more at home. But blogging will continue. I'm experimenting with voice typing, and maybe even using someone to type my voice text into blogs.
I look forward to this new season. More to come!