Contentment isn’t a feeling.

Last week I officially finished training at work, which means that on Monday I was assigned a caseload. In the 2.5 months I’ve been at my job, I’ve realized that what I once thought was my “dream career” is in fact…not. And that’s been a hard realization to face. I was dreading getting my caseload Monday. In fact, I cried for a while when I got home from work.

I wasn’t an anxious person before I started this job, but lately, anxiety has been all too common, and uncomfortably steady. There is fear involved-absolutely. Fear that I won’t do a good job, that I’ll let my clients down, that I’ll disappoint my supervisor. This job directly impacts the well-being and trajectory of people’s lives, and it’s a lot of pressure. I’m thankful for this job at the same time though, because it’s taught me what I don’t want to do.

For example: I don’t want to continue to pursue earning my MSW degree. I’ve come to realize that I desire to be a licensed therapist one day- the person Social Workers refer their clients to. I’m beginning to look into different masters programs for counseling, and it’s going to be a long road ahead of me.

I do great working one on one with people, but working with family systems, the court, and everything else my job entails is met with very little passion.

And I’m typically a passionate, fiery kind of gal.

Yesterday I literally took ten minutes at a time. If I can make it through ten minutes, I can make it through ten more. While on my lunch break, I was pleading with God to give me a splash of joy when I walked back into work. Sure enough, as I walked back into the building, one of my co-workers who has become a good friend told me, “There is a newborn baby over on my unit.” I RAN. Babies kinda hold my heart. For the next fifteen minutes, I held that precious baby and gave him pep talks about how life is hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s not good. I told him he was going to grow up to be brave and strong, and I made sure he knew he mattered.

People around me gave me some funny looks as I “oohed and awed” over the lil babe, but that was the splash joy I had asked God for.

A lot will be changing for me in 2020-and I am antsy and excited for all that is to come-which makes contentment a million times harder right now. But here is what yesterday taught me:

When I pray for strength, God doesn’t pour out an unlimited supply. He gives me what I need to get through the day or even just the moment. And then I’ll go back and ask for strength again. If this job was a piece of cake-if I wasn’t experiencing the anxiety I am, or if I was completely thrilled with where I was at-I probably wouldn’t deem it necessary to go to Christ repeatedly throughout my days. So I’m thankful for this opportunity. (Yet also fearlessly praying that God gets me out of this job super soon.)

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on “Anything, even if, no matter what,” and God really challenged me with that today.

Didn’t I say anything? Wouldn’t that include a job that I don’t like?

Didn’t I say even if? Even if anxiety feels crippling and fear tries to win?

Didn’t I say no matter what? No matter what, I will serve God and stay the course He’s laid out for me.

I don’t expect to stay at this job for all that much longer, but while I’m here, I know I need to walk as an empowered woman through Christ, working to the best of my ability so that I can effectively share His love with others. It’s hard though. SO much easier said than done. I’ve applied to other jobs, and if I get offered a position tomorrow- THANK YOU JESUS. And if I don’t-God just isn’t done teaching me or using me where I’m at.

Knowing what is up ahead (moving back to Nashville in 2020 y’all!) makes it so easy to live with a mindset of “Well when I get to Nashville…” but I’m calling myself out. I need to be thinking, “While I’m in Jackson…”

God has a purpose and a plan for everything, and I don’t want to slip into a place of ingratitude or resentment. Just because things aren’t going how I expected them to, doesn’t mean they aren’t going the way they are supposed to. Why do I hold the expectation that life is supposed to play out just like I conjured up in my head it would? Life changes, my thoughts, desires, and feelings change-but God remains consistent.

Today I’ll hold onto the steadiness of God my first hour of work. Then I’ll re-visit it at 9am, 10am, 11am, and so on. Today I aspire to carry the Apostle Paul’s mindset.

Philippians 4:12-13- “I know what is means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” 

Contentment- a three syllable word that is often super hard to put into action. I used to think that contentment was a feeling. I would pray that God would let me feel content-and then I would get so frustrated when I wasn’t. I’m discovering though, that contentment is a choice. A hard and sometimes brutal choice. Which is the very reason I got this tattoo back in 2016. A reminder that I always have choices.

For the next couple of hours I’ll make the hard choice. Then I’ll look at my arm, look to the cross, and I’ll make that choice again.

I know I’m not the only one who battles this. Let’s make hard choices together. Let’s claim the peace of Christ, together. Let’s choose contentment. Just for an hour. We won’t do it perfectly. There will be hours we skip. Sometimes days. But we have to keep fighting for this.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15

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4 comments

  1. You found out very quickly the line of work you chose was not for you, where you are is very compromising and I believe working as a independent therapist is more in keeping with your integrity. Well done in reading the anxiety signs loud and clear, it is not for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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