So … I don’t have a job anymore. I am officially 2 days into “retirement”. And just typing that is weird.
But yet, somehow, actually not going to work each day is not that weird. I expected to wake up yesterday morning and feel like it was just against my grain to not go to work. However, it felt like this was the way it was supposed to be. There is far more peace than I anticipated there being.
I have been busy. Granted, its only 2 days in, but I have managed to catch up on laundry, grocery shop, make lunches for Josh, reply back to emails, run countless errands (that does include three trip to Target already, uh oh) and spend some time taking care of me – gong to the doctor for my cough, reading a book, making some hot cocoa. It’s been nice.
But the one thing that hasn’t happened yet is the question. The one I am dreading. The “so, what do you do?” question? It comes up in every casual conversation. I tend to talk to people – a lot – and before I always felt a sense of pride in sharing that I was an HR Director at a psychiatric hospital. I did important things! I used my networks, I was good at what I did, I enjoyed it. So now, when someone asks, “so, what do you do?” …. I don’t know what to say.
I could say “an HR Consultant”, which is true. I am staying on board with my company in an Independent Contractor capacity until July 1st working on a large policy project. That sounds important – adding value to what someone might think of me. But what happens when that ends?
I could say “I volunteer at my church as the Director of Early Childhood Ministries”. Ah, Director is an important title. And volunteer, that sounds good. They might nod their head and ask a few questions. I am busy in that role and truthfully am really excited to be able to invest even more in the program.
I could say “a blogger.” Haha kidding. I couldn’t get that out with a straight face. Some days I still can’t believe I write for the whole world to read.
I could say “a stay at home mom … to a dog.” Now that would really generate some odd looks and responses.
At the end of the day, not having a response to that question makes me feel like a slacker. Like someone that either couldn’t keep a job or isn’t good enough to be employed somewhere. A causality of the economy or someone that is lazy. I know that’s not true of people who don’t work, but I feel like by not having a respond, my work ethic will be questioned. And that is painfully humbling. I want to launch into a spiel about how I had a job, a great job, a job I was really good at and respected in, but I quit. What’s that? Why? Oh, because God told me to. Uh huh, yep. God. For the potential of what is to come. To prepare my heart and body to become a mom. Yea, no I am not a mom yet. No, not even pregnant.
And then there are the people who don’t understand how this could be a hard crossroad for me. Who wouldn’t want to stay home all day!? You don’t have to take care of kids? You have the whole house to yourself? An easy husband. A sweet pup. How could that be anything less than ideal? But it’s a odd new reality. People in the secular world put so much value on our professional identity that not having a “good” answer confuses them. It halts the conversation. They will change the subject to baking or the weather, I just know it. I still have value to add to discussions!
But it’s in these conversations in my head that I am reminded about my real identity. The one that doesn’t have anything to do with a job title or pay scale. That doesn’t make people tilt their head in admiration or applaud that “tough job” that you do. I am a daughter of Christ – someone called to live a life FOR HIM, not for myself, not for my own pride.
Author Mark Driscoll writes “Our identity is to be received, not achieved. The first lie is to create an identity, not receive an identity…” When I read that, I realized that by always having an answer to that question, I have been working to create an identity for myself. And it’s only now, when that identity has been stripped away, that I am realizing that I never should have been creating an identity, I should have been receiving the identity that God created me to have.
It’s a really hard balance – this identity in the world of infertility, now as a “retiree”. I try so hard to remove the labels – that poor infertile girl who can’t get pregnant or the girl who quit her job – and live as someone who is walking each day to be used by God – but it’s hard. And I am at a crossroad now which I need to refocus. I am being humbled. I don’t doubt that God will have an exorbitant amount of people randomly ask me what I do, simply to remind me daily that a job title does not define me.
We all have identities that we cling to. I clung to my job title. You may cling to your title as a wife, a mom, a valedictorian, a champion athlete, someone who never swears, who plays the bass better than anyone else or has the voice of an angel. We so often rely on these earthly tokens to build ourselves up. Set us apart from the rest. But it really doesn’t matter. It can all be stripped away in a day. So my prayer is Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
God made me. He will work out His plan for my life and I have to admit, it’s exhilaratingly exciting to see what God is going to do. My Lupron shots start tomorrow morning at 8:15 am. Today could be my last day for the next several months where I am not doing a daily injection. Whoa. That’s exciting stuff!
This is a humbling place to be but I am thankful for the shared excitement of all of you as well. I loved that we were able to celebrate what was and now celebrate what is to come. So … let the new adventure begin.