Board of Directors

I’ve been trying to put my finger on an aspect of this job loss transition that’s making me really uneasy. It kind of feels like I’m standing all alone. Unsupported. It’s scary and unfamiliar. In some ways, it feels good to stand on my own two feet and listen to my own heart and trust the work that God has done in my life. In other ways, it feels super confusing and I feel unsure about my decisions. What do I do now??

My mother-in-law (Miriam Neff of Widow Connection) is a big believer in having a personal board of directors – especially during times of vulnerability. Loss of a spouse, financial crisis, job loss. This isn’t a literal board of directors who meet in a conference room and talk about your life. It’s a group of trusted friends who have your best interests in mind. They are wise people who you can go to for advice. Each person might have a different area of expertise – financial, household, workplace, relationship, etc. – or they may be people you see as generally wise. I’ve watched her gather people around her after her husband died in 2006. This group of people have been very important to her decision-making process.

I’ve realized that I’m missing my board of directors. In my job, I had a built-in board – a great team who I absolutely trusted. I could count on them for honest feedback and helpful suggestions, not only for my job, but for my life. I’m becoming more aware that my team scenario was a rare and beautiful gift to me.

Now that my team is scattered, I need to be more intentional about getting feedback from others. This isn’t always so easy for me – I can be a bit of a loner. I don’t mean to exclude people, I just assume that they don’t have time or don’t care about what I have cooking in my life.

My growth edge these days? Let some people in closer. Take some risks. Speak up and assume that they *might* be a bit interested. I’m willing to give it a try.

The Dumpster

We share a driveway with our neighbor. Our front doors face each other and we see each other a lot. Our neighbor is wonderful – driven, strong, creative, positive. Since she moved in several years ago, she has worked non-stop to make the home her own.  It’s an inspiration!

dumpsterShe’s currently in the middle of a major demolition project. For the past two months, a large dumpster has taken up residence in our shared driveway. Some days, it’s acquires more stuff, but most days it just sits there and doesn’t “do” anything.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Sadness, it’s-not-fair-ness, jealousy, feeling diminished, unwanted. I usually fight the sadness because in the past it’s led me to a pretty deep pit of depression. But, yesterday I decided to just give in and trust that God was leading me to just *feel* it. It felt so freeing to give myself permission to mulligrub and sulk for a day. It felt right.

Today, I woke up feeling more energy and hope. I drank my coffee in my chair, as I do each morning, looking out the window. At the dumpster. I felt a burst of impatience and anger. Why can’t that beast of a dumpster just GO AWAY? It’s so unsightly and it feels like a big bully – crowding, unyielding, refusing to be ignored.

Aaaaand… here’s another case of “the thing isn’t really The Thing”. I wasn’t really angry at the dumpster. That dumpster was talking to me about my grief. I’m so impatient for my grief to go GO AWAY.  It’s messy and won’t be ignored. There it sits – front and center in my life. Some days, I feel like there’s progress, but most days it just sits there.

So, here I am. Living with my dumpster of grief. I don’t feel despair, rather I feel some acceptance of this piece of my life. Like it’s okay to give in to the sadness from time to time.

Maybe I’ll put sparkly Christmas lights on it since it’ll be here for a while. Then, maybe whenever I encounter it, I can remember that deeper work is happening even when I can’t see it.

Vulnerability

I’ve realized lately is that one of the hardest things for me about being vulnerable is the great likelihood that I’ll be misunderstood. That’s the truly icky part about the art of communication of any form – verbal, text, tweet, blog, video.

I’ve received a few messages from well-meaning people who have told me to “stop living in the past” and “just trust God”. Others have reprimanded me for my lack of faith. Sadly, I believe that these folks have missed the point of my blogs and may have misunderstood me.

In regards to my blog series, “Inside ‘The End’“, I want to say a few things for the sake of clarity…

  1. I hold no ill will toward Moody Radio. I’ve grown and learned so much at Moody. I’ve been given lots of opportunities and I’m so grateful. Toward the end of my employment, I had several good meetings with the VP of Moody Radio. I feel that I was treated well by him and by Moody Bible Institute. Moody Radio is a good, focused ministry. There are some really talented professionals who work there and I will miss them so, so much. I have no doubt that God will continue to use the radio ministry. I’m very sad to no longer work there and I left on good terms, blessing Moody Radio.
  2. The blogs that I write are my own personal observations and feelings during this transition. My hope is that others can relate to the observations – whether the reader is going through a job transition or another kind of grief/change.
  3. I’m not looking for sympathy or advice, nor do I want to drag this on forever. Grief is a process, though. It ebbs and flows. It’s a long process and it’s messy. I’m in a good place, presently, where I can calmly believe that God is working in my life – teaching me, comforting me, sustaining me. Ask me next week, and my answer might be different. This is what it is to be human – the ups and downs and mistakes and triumphs. I intend to be honest about that.
  4. For the past 5 years or so, even though I’ve felt great purpose, challenge, and satisfaction in my work, I’ve been restless and have told God, “If you want me to leave Moody Radio, You will need to remove me – I’m too afraid to go on my own.” So, when I was told that my job was ending, my first response was, “Well, God… that’s Your answer.” And I felt relief. My very next response was fear and sadness – but, I remember that first sense of knowing that God was directing me.
  5. I’m writing these blogs because, frankly, if I was a listener of Midday Connection I would be reading these, too. There’s not a secret motive or agenda for what I’m writing. Honestly? It’s just helpful for me to articulate my thoughts here and find that many of you resonate with those thoughts. Reading your notes that say, “Yes. Me, too” are so meaningful! I want to be honest here in hopes that others will also have the courage to be honest with the messiness of their own lives, too. I mean, come on – we’re all a mess. Let’s be messy together, it’s a lot more fun than faking that our lives are all tidy!