It’s time to get real.
I found myself in a spiritual crisis yesterday. Actually, it may be ongoing. I’ll have to see what direction this takes.
But basically, I’ve been led to the revelation that I’ve been fooling myself. In fact, I’ve been fooling myself about a lot of things, but the one thing that became clear…..as much as I would have denied it….was I was fooling myself about trusting God.
You see, I was supposed to retire this year. It would be an early retirement, because I’ve been with this employer since 1990. That’s a long time ago. When I started this job, I had two very young children – one in preschool, the other an infant. Now I have five, grown mostly. The youngest is 14, the oldest 29. My role of mom has been defined in these years, and looking back, I have regrets. Lots of them.
Because if I had to confess my heart’s desire, it has always been to stay at home with my kids. However, I have always been the “breadwinner” no matter what the situation I was in (no matter which husband or how many kids). I always felt that pressure to make money (even though I’ve never made a lot) because, without my income, things would collapse. Or so I thought.
That’s not my revelation, by the way. But I think it’s important to keep in mind about me, as I peel back the layers of this onion and discover what lies within.
So anyway, here I am, on the brink of being able to leave this job….career?….that I just stumbled into and never intended to remain in. I have reached the minimum age, I have in the 25 years (and counting); I could just give a month’s notice and be out of here. My babies are no longer babies. I’ve missed a lot of their childhood while I was working two or three jobs. But I still have three at home; I still have one about to leave 8th grade and go on to high school. I still have kids who need me.
And yet, I hesitate. And that’s where the revelation comes in. I believe I’ve been hesitating because I don’t trust God.
Typing those words feels like betrayal. After all, how could I not trust God? He’s the One who has been with me all along. Although my retirement would be considered early, my life is strictly headed toward end game – and God has been with me all along. I’ve been broken, I’ve been bad, I’ve made the wrong choices and wandered away. And still He loved me all along; He waited for my return to His arms and, when I tarried too long, my Shepherd came out looking for me and called me by my name.
But this week I realized that there’s a point where my trust is thin. And that has to do with finances. You see, if I do take this early retirement and follow God to whatever new adventure He’s leading me on, it will mean cutting my income in half. And even when you don’t make a heck of a lot, a half of it is a lot to lose.
I know that God has my back. He has been with me through some horrible struggles, dark nights that I didn’t think would ever end. He’s brought my prodigals home to Him; He’s restored my marriage when it was being destroyed and I was too deep in the throes of despair to work on it.
He has been a Rock; His love never fails. So why am I worried about things like money?
Well, money is a legitimate worry for many – us included. But the longer I put off this retirement stuff, the clearer the Lord is making it that I don’t have a future here. In August, I was pulled from my job of 14 years to work on a special initiative that was exciting (and was promised to mean a promotion for me). Since August, however, the powers that be have found there is no need to go ahead with this initiative. But they’ve already hired to backfill me and the rest of my small (3 people) unit. So they’re left with no real direction for the three of us. I’ve been delegated to supporting whatever project needs extra hands or researching whatever idea someone in central office has.
I have no promotion, and certainly no raise. In fact, I don’t even have a job title any more. Imagine how awkward that can be when you are asked to introduce yourself in a group of industry professions. “Hi, I’m Mary, and I, er, well, whatever they need me to do, I do.” Right?
So, why am I holding on? Do I really think things will get better? Do I really think this is the role the Lord has for me to play as the years go on?
No. Not really. I am just afraid of losing that regular paycheck. Because I believe the Lord provides…..only not really.
This is my struggle, friends. When I realized how true it is, it broke my heart because I recognize this is a failure in me. The Lord does provide. He’s given me all I ever needed and then loved me despite myself.
Why can’t I let go of this area of my life?