The other day as I was driving to work, I was making my way through the”Must Listen” podcast playlist on my beloved Downcast app. I get like 20 minutes or so, depending on traffic, to choose my own vehicular audio enjoyment after dropping the kids off in the morning. Podcasts have become a “palette cleanser” of sorts after listening to kids music and your select Disney princess ballads. It gets me thinking and actually lets me wrestle with things that I’m interested in which, sadly, my current job does not let me do much on company time. Theology, ecclesiology, and biblical studies sadly have little interaction with home infusion, medical benefits and medical coding. But, at least in this point in my life, the latter has been paying the bills much better than the former.
The podcast that I was wrapping up was a recent episode of Rob Bell’s Robcast. It was Part 2 of his Wisdom series. The first two thirds were pretty good, but then with 10 minutes left in the podcast, he started dropping these bombs…
“When you choose to live from your true self, there may be costs…”
“For some the question, ‘What do you want?’ is a terrifying question. You know that you at some level are living distant from your heart when that question is hard to answer.”
“Sometimes we settle, sometimes we numb, sometimes we give up. If you have some sense of, ‘Well I guess this is just as good as it gets.’ probably something has died in your heart. If you have no fight left in you, it’s probably because something has gone wrong in your heart…In the wisdom tradition, you guard you heart because everything flows from your heart.”
“What is it that keeps your heart alive, what is it that when you do it, you feel like I can’t believe I get to live this life? What is it that keeps your heart alive?”
“You are far from your heat, you are far from life, and you need to get that back.”
Those of you familiar with my story will know I’ve wrestled a lot with what I feel like I’m called to do and where I find my employment. These nuggets from Rob Bell hit me like a ton of bricks as I’ve found myself in a job I’ve not found much joy in after recently being laid off from a job that was about as close as I’ve come to a dream job. Honestly, I have found myself thinking lately that maybe this is where I’m supposed to be. Maybe the whole pastor/minister thing isn’t for me and I need to learn to be happy with where I am at. Maybe, this is as good as it gets.
Those moments were not the brightest moments in my mind…but they happened.
But, before I could really think too much about what Rob said, the next podcast started. It was an episode from Zen Parenting Radio which has become a fast favorite in our family. Right at the beginning of the episode I was listening to, they reference the same podcast from Rob Bell and talk about how great it was.
Ok, God…I get it. I should be paying attention.
I spent most of the next day thinking and working over our budget, noodling with the idea of quitting my job to free up space in my life. I would throw open all the doors and windows, if you will, and let some light in. If it was feasible for our family, I figured now was a good time to open myself up to the possibilities that were around me. And, spending more time at home never hurt anyone. As I worked it through, some things would have to change, but it was well within the realm of possibility for me to do this. And definitely possible if I could shake up some kind of part-time or freelance jobs to fill in some gaps.
I felt myself getting more excited about this possibility and what it could open up.
I spent that evening detailing the plans to my wife, and while she was hesitant at first and a little bummed about a change in our plans, she ultimately agreed that my joy and embracing my calling was more important right now. We batted back and forth with some ideas about what our options were. I had concluded that I would like to be out of my job by the end of the month. Of course, sticking around at a paying job a little bit longer would bring in more money…I just felt so strongly that the end of October would be my chance. Anything beyond that just felt…wrong.
The next morning when I woke up I had an email waiting for me from one of my seminary professors asking if I could help out with some social media and email marketing stuff for him on a very part-time, temporary, but paid basis.
I’m not a big believer in signs (I hated the movie) and I definitely didn’t ask for one. But, at that moment I believe I felt a confirmation from God, deep within my soul.
This was the right thing to do.
So, here we are, two weeks out from the end of the month. When you read this, I more than likely have turned in my two-week notice to my very surprised boss. I have only worked at this place for a little over three months so, this isn’t what they planned either. I’ve had a few plans fall through and most of my ideas are, exactly that at this point, ideas.
Help out more around the house.
Find a part-time job.
Hang out with friends and mentors.
Write a book.
This week has been really hard as I tried to think through if I was going to go through with this at all. And, if you’re reading this blog post…
I will walk away from my job at the end of the month and, hopefully, into whatever is next.
Pray for me, this just got real.