i quit this week.
no, not my job. but the period of frenzy that gave way to the deep discontentment at work was met by god's unfailing grace and we are back in a place of sweet contentment, affirmed in the knowledge that i'm here for a reason and a season (just a season longer than i had originally anticipated).
i quit photography class.
earlier this autumn when signing up for both junior league and photography class and adding that to leading bible study and actively participating in our church community and being intentional in my friendships and my marriage, oh and that small part of my day called work; i did wonder if i was biting off more than i could chew. perhaps i should listen to that internal prompting a little more? two weeks into class i knew it was going to be a bit much to handle. i knew because i was struggling to make it all fit. i knew because it meant that i was definitely out of the house three nights in a row. i knew because it felt like my life was spinning out of control. i knew because that angry monster of anxiety that's been on my back all autumn was getting bigger and louder and more overwhelming. i knew that something had to give.
but what's funny is that while dropping the photography class was the obvious choice - it's a finite course of 10 weeks, it was offered at our local community centre so it was relatively inexpensive, and i had only gone for two weeks so it wasn't as if i had half a term of work behind me - my first thought was to drop my volunteering with junior league. and so i got to thinking about it. because really dropping junior league didn't feel right. i had invested a significant amount of time and money and i did enjoy the people and the cause. so why was i thinking to quit it instead?
i think it was my own selfishness getting in the way. i wanted to do the photography course, but it was only going to benefit me, there wasn't going to be a significant impact to the wider world. now please hear me, i think we should do things in our spare time that bring us pleasure and joy. i already do a lot of those things. i read and knit and watch tv and go to movies and cook and workout. we travel extensively and have a nice home. i am not saying that taking a photography course wasn't a good thing to do, i am saying that one of those other good things i just listed would have had to go instead, and i wasn't willing to make that sacrifice.
for a couple of weeks i wrestled with quitting junior league, it didn't feel right and yet staying felt overwhelming. i took it to god in prayer and discussed it with le boy. i chatted about it with friends. and then i realised that actually, what i was being called to lay down wasn't junior league, it was the photography class. and when i did. when i made the decision, the feeling of relief that swept over me was remarkable. i need flexibility in my evenings. to spend time with my husband, to cook and keep our home, to go to the gym or see a friend for a glass of wine. i need the flexibility so that i can give of myself in the homegroup we lead, and the church we attend, and the volunteer activities i am invested in.
last night i realised the reason why this felt so right is because it lines up with our value statement. before we were married le boy and listed our ten values in order. i made a word collage with them and it hangs in our living room. and i realised that i had made the decision in accordance with those values. and then last night when i was worrying about one item over another, i realised, go back to the value statement, what we have decided is important to us as a couple - use this to make decisions.
our values in order are:
and so when one part of my life conflicts with another, i will choose according to our values. in some ways it made the decision making process, the weighing up and going back and forth in my mind, the pit of anxiety in my stomach about making the right choice, simply disappear. i know we've already thought long and hard about what we value, so more often than not, making a decision in submission to those values will be on track as well. and that my friends is what i call a lesson in the freedom of obedience.