Stepping out on Faith...
When every force in your life pushes you to do something huge...
...You don't just say no.
On Monday, July 24th 2018, at 9:00pm, my life as I knew it decided to change, whether I was on board or not. My therapist called it a "mental breakdown". She said my brain pulled the brakes on the runaway train that was apparently my life, and said "We are done with this. You can't ignore me anymore."
I thought I was doing pretty well. But that's the thing about anxiety and depression: they often go unseen. I was paying so little attention to myself, burying so much of my stress, and ignoring the frustrations screaming in my face, that finally... my brain broke.
Some background: I work in a fast-paced customer service management role. I have for 4 years. I've been in customer service for most of my professional life. I have always believed that customer service was my calling - the thing I was made for. To be a professional "nice person". To smile, to fix something... "It's my pleasure" was my mantra. My reason for being. I wrapped everything up around the idea that I was put on this earth to support everyone else. I love it. And I'm good at it.
But, shockingly, as it turns out, it wasn't sustainable. There's always one missing cog in every customer service function: who supports the support? Without the concrete foundation, the rebar can't stand up on its own. And my concrete foundation was cracked and damaged. My rebar couldn't stand anymore.
That Monday night, I was falling asleep to the Golden Girls, as is tradition, and I started feeling a strange lack of control over my body. My arms covered my face, but I couldn't move them. I wanted to speak, but my mouth wouldn't form the words. My body was rebelling. Quitting. That night, I had the worst panic attack of my entire life (and only the second one I've ever had). It took 3 of my favorite people and 1 of my dogs an hour and a half to pull me back to reality.
Broken. I was completely and utterly broken.
But God meets us in the broken.
Through events that could have only been orchestrated by someone more powerful than me, God began to rebuild my crumbled foundation. An unexpected wedding invitation sparked one of the sweetest and most valuable friendships I could ever have. An inconsequential change at work sparked one of the biggest life-changing decisions I have ever made. A panic attack brought me more solidarity with people I love, and a surprising number of people I barely know.
I also started seeing a therapist.
(If you struggle with anything, and do not see a therapist, this is my official encouragement to do it. Go see SOMEONE who is trained in human psychology. It's worth every penny. I promise.)
That was when I learned what happened to me. I learned that I broke. The why isn't nearly as important, everyone has a "why", everyone's "why" is different, everyone's "why" is personal. What's important is that I broke, and I started listening to the forces in my life, instead of listening to the voices in my head. God met me in my brokenness and made me a very clear promise:
"I've got this."
The freedom. The perspective. The answers. Everything I got from being forced to let go and sink into the broken. It was worth every tear. Every scream. Everything.
Which leads me to my original point. Stepping out on faith.
When God said "I've got this" He didn't mean, "just keep doing what you're doing and everything will be okay". He meant that he was pushing me into a raging and uncertain river, but promised I wouldn't drown. He meant that things HAD to change, but that he was carefully orchestrating everything. I just needed to step out.
But when every force in your life is telling you to do something... you do it.
So I quit my job. A job that I have loved for years. A work team that has become family. An environment that has always been supportive. A paycheck that is comfortable and safe. I cried. I argued. My heart is sore. But I quit. God knows what's right for me, and this job has been right for me, up until now. And it's okay that it's not right for me anymore. Because that's life, and I'm tumbling down this river now.
Let me be clear: I didn't quit because "I can't" or "I don't wanna". I quit because I cannot ignore what God made me for anymore. I gave up what I loved for 10 years, and God made amazing things happen in those 10 years that I will cherish until the day I die. I'll never say I "wasted" 10 years. It's just time to try again.
As of November 1, 2018, I will be a full time professional artist.
I'm so blessed, so thrilled, so supported. My darling husband has never wavered in his support on this. I told him I wanted to quit and pursue my dream, and he said, "Let's do it."
Y'all. Seriously. He's the best.
He said it best, when I asked him how scared he really was. (Full disclosure, losing my salary is losing more than half of our income. SCARY.) He replied with this: "You know in the hymn Come Thou Fount, when the singer says he raises his Ebenezer? This is your Ebenezer. You are going somewhere, to do something, and we don't know what that's going to look like, but God does. And when we're there, we'll remember this moment. We'll raise up the remembrance. He'll get us there."
To everyone who has, is, and will support me through this - I'm looking forward to telling your part of my remembrance. In advance, thank you, I love you, you're the best.