This post is by Leigh Kramer, our Pilgrim in Residence for the month of November. Every journey offers an invitation to deeper self-awareness, and as our Pilgrim in Residence this month, Leigh is sharing stories of her ongoing journey of self-discovery each week here at A Sacred Journey. Learn more about Leigh here. -Lacy
I couldn’t sleep the other night.
I lay in the dark and swiped at hot tears careening toward my pillow. I tried to distract myself with other thoughts but they made a quick beeline back toward job searches and budgets and all the false starts two months can contain. What should I do? What could I do?
I had done my best to ignore my situation during the day but as the sleepless minutes ticked away, I was defenseless. My thoughts turned fatalistic. Nothing would ever change.
I screamed at God. There was no holding back. I offered up how I really felt and gave Him some helpful pointers and then I shrugged my shoulders because I’m not convinced these prayers will change anything. Sure, He may be at work behind the scenes and He certainly cares about how I’m doing but will my words magically make action happen? Doubtful.
I pray anyway because it’s all I know to do.
It’s actually remarkable I haven’t had more trouble sleeping in recent months because my stress level is at an all time high. I haven’t talked about it much but there’s an ever present running commentary in my mind and it’s not of the positive variety. It’s all I can do to cling to a shred of hope it will all work out.
I can’t sugarcoat it: seasons of transition suck.
Oftentimes, transition is presented as exciting and adventurous and it can certainly be those things. It’s also filled with unknowns. Change is hard. Change is especially hard when you don’t know what you’re transitioning to, which sums up my current season.
The last three years of nannying allowed me to write my first novel, build my platform as a blogger, and start work on a nonfiction project. It gave me space to decide to retire from social work. No regrets whatsoever. But children grow up and it’s time for me to move on. Only I’m still not sure what I’m moving on to.
I’ve cobbled together a mix of Enneagram coaching, legal assistant-ing, babysitting, and other odd jobs to keep me afloat. I’m also working on for-now-unpaid writing projects. Every day I search for other part-time options. Friends offer up suggestions and I try them on for size. These exercises make me feel like I’m more aware of what I wouldn’t be good at instead of where my talents lie.
I second guess my decisions almost every day but then I reaffirm them. This is hopefully leading me where I want to go. I’m orienting my life toward the dream of someday writing part-time and Enneagram coaching part-time.
If any one of my jobs could become more consistent, it would be a load off my mind. It could actually be an ideal situation. Alas, the jobs and hours change from day to day and week to week. I have to dip into my “rainy day” savings account to make up the difference. (Thank you, Mom and Dad, for instilling the importance of having such a fund to begin with.)
My budget is pared down to the essentials. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do so. I hate having to weigh every dinner invitation against my bank account. I write best in coffee shops but I can’t justify the expense more than once a week but then wonder if the work I accomplish justifies the means in the hope of it leading to a paycheck down the road.
I’m not living in a complete state of abnegation but small expenses add up and so quickly.
It makes me grateful for the ones who have come alongside me. They’ve shown up ready to listen or pay for my latte or hire me for this or that. It’s humbling.
Underneath all of these questions lurks the fear of what will happen if I can’t find more consistent work, if the money runs out, if I can’t pay my bills. I don’t have a safety net.
So you can understand why I couldn’t fall asleep the other night. Why the tears came hot and steady. Why I yelled at God, why I pleaded for something, anything to work out.
He didn’t say anything in return.
But I know He heard. I know any day, any moment my circumstances could change for the better. He’s using this time of transition for my good.
I’ll keep investigating job options. I’ll keep showing up. I’m trying to be open to however God wants to use these extra hours in my day. And until something changes, I’ll be taking melatonin at bedtime because I need my rest. Without a good night’s sleep, the outlook seems more grim than it is.
I don’t want to miss out on the excitement and adventure of where this time will lead, even if it looks different than what I asked or imagined.
How do you handle times of transition? How do you practice self-care? Do you ever yell at God? Share your response to the questions or the post in the comments.