So tonight's writing may be a bit more therapeutic for me personally, but hopefully there's something of value in it for you as well. Tonight as I was getting ready for bed, I started thinking about a T-shirt I saw online a little earlier. It said, "I'm Not Unemployed, I'm A Consultant." I giggled at first and thought that maybe I needed to invest in one of those. After all, technically speaking, I am still unemployed. But the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking about how we define ourselves.
Right after I lost my job, I attended a training and meeting that was already in my schedule (and it was free, and a potential resource for possible jobs). As we went around the table, everyone introduced themselves and what agency they worked for. Needless to say, I didn't hear a word because I was too busy figuring out how I was going to introduce myself. Now that I didn't work for someone, I had no identity. How crazy is that?! But how often do we do that to ourselves? We lock ourselves into a particular identity that really doesn't have anything to do with who we are as people, but who someone else has made us:
I'm Kendall's wife.
I'm Payton's mother.
I'm Rick & Marcia's daughter.
I'm Nikki, Tabitha, & Keren's sister.
I'm with _________ agency. I'm a therapist, a program supervisor, etc.
Now being identified as one of the above does not bother me in the slightest. I love being Kendall's wife, Payton's mom, and so on. But what an unnerving feeling to not know how to introduce myself with a group of my fellow professionals.
And now that I'm starting my own private practice, it hasn't changed a whole lot. Thankfully, I do have business cards now, and that helps, but you know, it's still not who I am. It's what I do. I am allowed to decide what I do, just as I am allowed to determine who I am as a person.
I was once told that I could either make good money in a boring job by "selling" my credentials, or I could do the "Lord's work" while being creative but making some sacrifices. Someone was trying to put me in a box.
Guess who doesn't like boxes anymore? Who says? Are those my only two options? I feel like I am doing the Lord's work every day. With every person I meet. With every child I serve. Does it matter where? And can I make money and be creative? Who says I can't? More definitions decided by other people. Has anyone ever put you in a box? Told you that you only have one option? That you can't change your mind and decide to redefine yourself? Then they must not know that the Lord does in fact allow u-turns.
I don't have to be defined by someone else. It's not up to others to determine my path in life. It's up to me. I'm responsible for my own happiness. I can choose to dream little or dream big. In a spiritual sense, I can choose to allow the Lord to work in me, or I can stifle Him. But it is my choice. Who says that anything is impossible for me?
"Nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Walt Disney
Guess what...I'm ready to have a little fun.
Oh, and guess what? Since originally writing this post, I was offered an amazing career opportunity!