Do you have a calling? Do you even know what I mean? Can you outgrow your calling? After a very emotional week, I think I have some answers.
When Kevin and I moved to Hickory, I was 22 years old and had not the slightest idea of what my calling was. I needed a job because I needed money, period. We moved to North Carolina because Kevin wanted to continue working in fiber optics. He has a calling. He knew at an early age that he wanted to be an electrical engineer and he has never wavered from this call. He has made a wonderful life for us because he is so passionate about his work. For me, it took awhile to find my calling. Decades, in fact. I had a wonderful “job” in Hickory where I made wonderful friends, but it wasn’t a calling, it was just a job.
When we moved to Indy, Kevin followed his calling and spent nearly 30 years working for Lilly. Me, I had lots of “jobs” again. None of them were my “calling”, they were a way to make money. I didn’t like any of them and I didn’t miss them when I left. After I had Molly, THEN, I felt my calling. It was to be a Mom! It was the first time in my life I felt I had a true purpose. I loved my new calling and I put my whole heart into it (still do!) When Molly started Kindergarten, I realized that I needed at least a “purpose” if not a calling, to keep myself occupied while she was in school. Since I had become active in children’s ministry, I figured that working for a Christian preschool would be perfect. And it was! And then it turned into a calling. I became passionate about early childhood education, especially early intervention and special needs children. This was a “calling” I spent many years enjoying. Up to when we moved to Oceanside. I was teaching preschool and visiting with Archie to a special needs classroom. I knew my joy!
When I knew we were moving to Oceanside, I had pretty much decided not to work with children anymore. I just didn’t think I would find a job here that would match what I had in Indiana. I can’t teach preschool here because I don’t have the “Early Childhood Credits” they require. I can’t even substitute teach because I don’t have a teaching license. When I found the Boys and Girls Club, I thought I had found my answer. I could work with children still! It would be fun! It would be fulfilling, that is, until it wasn’t.
Last week, I officially started working with children with the Boys and Girls Club and it was nothing like I expected. I thought I would help with homework. We would play games. They would run outside and have fun. Nope, not what happened. Much to my surprise, it is a VERY structured program. These children have been in school all day and this program is just an extension of that VERY LONG DAY. They are expected to eat their snack and not talk loud, (Even though we are outside, so what does it matter?) They are expected to do their homework in silence and only then get computer time. They are expected to do art projects and problem solve, again while being quiet. And me? I am expected to enforce these strict rules AND plan all their activities. Not what I signed up for. I wanted to get to know these children. I wanted to talk with them while they studied and played. I wanted to be a mentor, not a drill sergeant. I tried. I really did, but there was just NO JOY in my soul for this “job”. I wasn’t called to this, I hated this.
Then God came to the rescue as He always does if I just let things happen in His timing. Kevin has been interviewing and networking since the beginning of the year for a part time or temporary job in San Diego. We had been told that summer was a hard time to find a job, but he had NO success for months. That is part of the reason I took the job with the Boys and Girls Club in the first place. On Tuesday morning, he got a call that he had an interview Wednesday morning. Wait, really?? I already knew after one day what a big mistake I had made with my new job, could this really be happening? He had the interview Wednesday and felt it went well. Then the good news Thursday morning- he had an offer! A one- year contract doing automation at a biotech company!!! Hallelujah! Prayers answered!! Now, what do I do? Do I tough it out? Do I walk away? I went to work Thursday very conflicted, but within minutes of arriving, I knew I was going to quit. The main reason being-I HAD NO JOY IN THIS JOB! These beautiful children deserve someone who isn’t just going through the motions. They deserve someone who feels true joy in the whole process. I deserve to feel joy in my “calling”, not just a job to make money. So, I came home Thursday night and I resigned.
Via email. Because I am chicken and I don’t have the nerve to tell them that I don’t agree with the program. They need someone who will follow their lead, and I am not that person.
It has taken me a few days to feel at peace with my decision. I feel bad for walking away, but better now than after the children have bonded with me. I feel bad for leaving the team short handed, but they deserve someone who is a team player and will make the program stronger. It obviously works; it just isn’t the way I would run the program. I am so proud of Kevin for not giving up and finding a position that made my decision easier.
So, once again, no map could have taken me where I am at this moment. What does the future hold? I don’t know for sure, but I have learned that I need to listen to that little voice inside me that said all along “are you sure” about this job? I need to have faith that God has brought us this far and He will continue to watch over us and provide for us. Most of all, I need to be grateful for all that we have and stop worrying about things I cannot predict. I need to get back to my “calling” and find a way to work with children MY way. I don’t think you outgrow your calling, I think I just lost mine for a while.