Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Self-induced grief"

"Self-induced grief"

This past weekend during foster care training we were given a homework assignment to create a "loss chart".  The idea is that if we can visually lay our losses in front of us we can see the different paths they played in our lives which can better equip us with supporting the losses our foster care kids will surely have...

A loss chart is a chart of all the significant losses we have had in life, the grief that followed, and finally how we were able to manage through that loss.  (moving, death, loss of a job etc)....  

Something the trainer said that stuck with me "it could be an expected loss, or a loss you created"....

And I immediately had a "loss" come to mind, a "loss" I created, or better yet I came up with this snazzy title my "self-induced grief".  TASC...

Ever since leaving my role at TASC almost 6 months ago, in my hopes to move to a "better" job I went through the process of grieving... As we all know, the other position I accepted was not at all what I had hoped it would be, which eventually led me to realize a lot of my priorities were messed up.  

I needed more time at home with my own kids and husband... For too long, I chose work over that area, all for the sake of helping others, when in fact I was leaving my own household with just the leftover parts of me...  A fact I couldn't see or live with until recently.

So, step one I identified TASC as a loss :)...  

Then there is the question on how did I grieve it?  Ouch.  Do I really have to write this down..?  It's ugly, and still kind of fresh.  I honestly don't think it was until recently and by recently I mean the last few weeks that I stopped grieving it, and started managing it...

You might be thinking:

- it was just a job

// it wasn't...  It was my passion and part of my calling.  It was a place I loved walking into because in it I knew God was working.  

- you chose to leave it

// and with good reason.  I had poured too much into my identity in TASC... And anytime you begin to seek your identity in anything besides God, you begin an unhealthy idol...  There was no longer Rachel but only TASC Rachel.

So how did I grieve?  

I cried, a LOT, and then I got mad, and then depressed...  I had really believed I would work there until I retired someday.  The thing I was most angry about was wondering if I made a huge mistake by leaving, wondering if I would ever have that sense of passion for my work again, or if I ever would have the opportunity to work with teens in such a positive way.  I was mad at myself...

It didn't help that the new job I took wasn't at all what it seemed it would be.  I would get my work done in the first two hours of the day and then be stuck at a desk for 6 hours miserably looking out my window thinking... And then I'd come from my new job emotionally exhausted... 

After 6 weeks of this, I went on an anniversary trip with my husband... While there, a million questions came to mind:

Did I make a huge mistake?
Should I just quit this new job because I'm miserable?
Should I start my own nonprofit?
Should I stay home?
Should I look for yet another new job?

As I laid under a palm tree praying for God to answer one or some of these questions, I opened my eyes to see that a sky writer had come through, and the words "TRUST JESUS" were spelled out right in front of my face among the clouds...

You see God didn't give me the answer to any of those questions, He gave me the answer that I needed --- which was to just trust... And laughingly I believe God knew I needed it to be spelled out for me.

And it was almost like I could hear Him say, "Rachel, don't worry about all this other stuff, I'm going to figure this out for you, the only thing I need you to do right now is trust Me."

And when I did finally trust... He made it evidently clear what He wanted from me.  So, I guess this part of the grieving turned into the "acceptance" part...  Haha.

Because at that point I knew God had me where He wanted me, and that was totally dependent on Him.

That doesn't mean the next few weeks were easy because they totally weren't - I returned to my new job, and each day it became even more painful..  I was on the wrong seat of the bus, just twiddling my thumbs in a sea of twilight zone experiences :)

However, painful as it was I also started realizing it was kind of funny...  As I knew God was leading me elsewhere He kept showing me this through really bizarre ways.  And then one day I just knew what I was supposed to do.

Quit.  

And this is the part of the story where the grief of me leaving TASC starting shifting into managing the loss of TASC.

You know I will always be really sad that I'm not working there anymore..  Sad that I am not a part of the programs I helped develop and grow... But that's okay.

Because through this "self-induced grief" I got myself back.  And I started realizing what Rachel wanted from life not what TASC Rachel wanted...

And I've got to say, God really works in  mysterious ways, because had all this not happened I wouldn't be able to help message for another organization on hunger needs in the community, or have a summer off with my kids, or be in the process of becoming a foster mom to teenagers...  

So, I'll keep managing my loss :). But I'm oh so glad I have a Savior who carries me through all my losses.. :)

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