My heart is so heavy as I write this.
I never really imagined my life in this spot. I guess no one probably does.
I have cried. I have prayed. I have prayed a lot. I have cried a lot. My soul has been weary. I’ve let the stress of the situation overcome me and I haven’t given it over to God. And that’s why I write this.
I contemplated even writing this at all. My pride and the enemy wanted me to internalize it and not share it. But God’s calling won, so I’m writing it.
I’m writing it for me and I’m writing it for whomever else needs it for whatever reason.
I need to write it to release it. And I know someone needs to read it.
I quit my job a few weeks ago. My dream job. The job everyone thought was “perfect.”
My last day is August 12, 2016.
I have worked at a news station for a little more than two years. It was my first job out of college. And I started somewhere most people have to work a few years to get to.
I graduated and started working there as a digital producer, wanting to be on-air as a reporter all along.
It’s been my dream to be a news anchor, a journalist since I was probably 15 years old. I don’t remember ever not wanting to do it. I just knew, ever since I was young, that I would be on Good Morning America one day. It wasn’t a cute fantasy. It was my goal.. and I was in the process of reaching it. I just new it.
And I did it. I got to the first major step. Then, I got promoted to traffic reporter and then to a full-time reporter by the time I had been there about a year and a half.
I was in the role I’d dreamt of, fought for, worked for, studied for, prayed for, cried for. And I wasn’t happy.
People always say, “Wow you’re on TV! It must be so fun and so glamorous! You have the best job ever.”
It was so fun. Not so glamorous. But so fun. I worked so hard and learned so much and the people I met changed me. But I felt like something wasn’t right.
My mental and physical health have been way less than they should be. And even worse, my spiritual health was deteriorating. I’ve been sick from the inside out.
It all kept getting worse. I started dreading going to work. And this had nothing to do with anyone but me. I started having a bad attitude. I had a spirit of offense, so any time I felt like someone was being “rude” or attacking me, I attacked back. And I pushed people away.
I stopped being a doormat, but I started being a bulldozer. I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore.
I got tired of waking up at 4 a.m. and I got tired of the stress and I got tired of being tired.
Then one day it hit me and I knew I had to quit. I had said I was going to quit before, but this time was real. I called my mom and told her. I didn’t ask her if I should. I told her. And the sound of her voice told me that she approved of whatever decision I made, and that gave me the green light.
I told my bosses and we talked about it and worked out a deal. I knew I had to pay to be released from my contract, but I also know there is no price tag on personal happiness.
Ever since that day three weeks ago, I have been more sick, more stressed, more tired, and more upset than I ever was before.
But I have gotten closer to God.
I have struggled in wondering if I made the right choice and if I should tell them I change my mind. I have struggled to find another job – one that pays more and allows a normal schedule and allows me to use my skills and my degree.
I have felt ashamed, stupid, and pathetic. I have felt like a failure and a quitter. With every “no,” with every moment of fear, with every “What are you going to do now?” question, I have sunk deeper and deeper into the beginnings of a very dark depression. And that’s real. And it’s scary.
I have said to myself, “What are you doing? You have a job so many people dream of and so many people would love and so many people think you are perfect for, and you’re throwing it all away to be happy?”
And then I have answered myself: “Yes. To be happy.”
I have fought myself out of what could be a very bad place in my life by resting in Truth.
I mean, I took a HUGE leap of faith quitting a solid job without another one lined up. But it’s strange how many people have said, “Wow, I’m proud of you,” or “Wow, you are so brave.” That shocked and excited me. Other people want to do the same thing, but they are scared. And so am I. So, I’m not doing anything but trusting God. I have to not only say I have faith in Him, I have to ACTUALLY have faith and live that out.
Not everyone is in my situation. But some people are. Some people want to quit their job and pursue their passions. Some want to leave a relationship. Some want to change their major. Some want to move. Some want to start a business.
And fear is a huge reason so many of us don’t.
I’m telling you right now that if God wants you somewhere doing something, you will. He will guide you there.
And if you make the wrong choice, if I made the wrong choice in quitting my job, then guess what? We are not smart enough or powerful enough to mess His plan for our lives up. That’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given through this time of struggle.
His plan is like a route. You are going to a destination. You might take a few wrong turns or run off the road or take too many bathroom breaks, but you ARE going to get where you’re going. You just have to follow Him. He has the map. If you don’t follow the map, you won’t get there. If you do follow it, you’ll get there – it might be messy and tiring – but you’ll get there and there will be a lot of beauty and growth along the way.
This process has hurt and been one of the very hardest times of my life. I’ve had breakdowns, cry-fests full of mascara and snot, and moments of just emptiness. But at the same time I’ve never felt myself moving closer to God. It’s a wild, awesome paradox.
At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with a “job.” It has everything to do with God reminding me why I’m here and who I am. He is just using this to shake me.
Jobs do not define us. Careers are not all life is. Jobs can be used for His glory and they can be an outlet for us, but they are not who we are. We are His. And if what we are doing is not furthering His kingdom or drawing us closer to Him, we have to make a turn.
My profession can be used for Him, and I believe I was using it for Him at one time, but that’s not the case for me anymore. So, I have to make the choice to turn.
A life change like this is scary, but it forces you to either rely on yourself or in something greater. So many times, I’ve tried to make it by myself. I haven’t let anyone help me or tell me anything. I haven’t listened to God. And that’s when I have been broken.
But the days when I seek Him and surrender my worries to Him, I am free.
I am scared out of my mind but I am free.
My favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert, constantly says to never quit your job to write a book. You have to have a job. And I’m not quitting my job just to write a book, but I am quitting A job to write a book. To live. To press into God and His church more. To pour into students. To spend time with family. To love on friends. To travel more. To exercise more. To cook more. To find a new job. To DO more than I have while I have been worn down in a place I’ve already been used. It’s time for me to go.
Most people don’t understand what I’m doing and that’s ok. I don’t either. But He does.
Change is scary. You won’t understand and everyone else won’t understand, but that’s ok. Change is good and necessary for growth. Growing pains are real, but the outcome is something bigger and better.
Today, one of my co-workers told me about a dream she had.
Co-worker: “I had a dream my boyfriend proposed. He bought me a religious card and it had a Bible verse in it, which is weird because neither of us are very religious.”
Me: “What verse was it?”
Co-worker: “Psalm 17:1.. It’s weird that I remember the verse.”
Psalm 17:1 “A prayer of David. Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer– it does not rise from deceitful lips.”
At first I thought maybe she needed to hear that verse for some reason, and that’s why she dreamt it. But the more I thought about it, I realized I needed to hear it, and she was a vessel for God to speak it to me.
I have been crying out to Him with honesty and innocence and sincerity. And He wants me to know He hears me. He wants you to know He hears you. Our prayers are not in vain because He did not die in vain.
You and your life plan matter. Even when you are in an “in-between” stage where you might have to swallow your pride and work somewhere that isn’t “cool” or “prestigious” or “fun.” The fact of the matter is the plan was never ours to begin with.
I have learned that I have to read His word and worship Him to hear Him. I can’t hear Him if the noise of the world, the Enemy, and my messed up thoughts are inside my head. So I have been so much more dedicated to really leaning in to hear Him. What a difference that makes.
And I may have to do something I did not plan on doing or do not want to do to get to where I am supposed to be, but that’s fine, because He never said life would always be fun or easy or glamorous.
I compared this entire thing to a relationship just the other day (of course I did).
When I was in college dating the guy I thought I would marry, I knew deep, deep down, he wasn’t the one, but I was too scared to leave. We broke up, got back together, and had a very unhealthy relationship. But in the end, we broke up and I moved on.
I then dated someone who helped me move on. He was fun and distracting, but He wasn’t the one either and I wrestled with what to do. So, God did it for me.
After I let go of my own plan for my love life and surrendered it to God, He delivered me the most wonderful, loving, caring man that will be my husband very soon.
The point is, it was a long journey to get to my dream guy. It hurt so bad and I made so many mistakes. I didn’t always listen to God and I drove myself crazy. He removed unhealthy relationships and habits and helped me grow every step of the way. And in the end, I finally gave up and let Him do what He had been trying to tell me to be patient for.
And I’m confident the same thing is happening now.
It could be a long time until I have my “dream” job. Because my dream changed.
Someone told me only a week before I quit, “Dreams change. People change. We grow and get smarter.” We figure things out… what we love, what we don’t love, what makes us happy, what steals our joy… and that’s called LIVING.
I have been scared of what people will say because everyone has always supported me in this, and so many people helped me get to this place. In and out of my workplace.
But, again, it’s not all about the job. I went to a university I never thought I’d go to, met people I never knew I’d meet, got an internship that led to a job in a city that was never on my radar, hated the city, fell in love with the city, fell in love with the people, met my future husband, and grew so much mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I would NEVER be in the exact place I am in life right now if I wouldn’t have moved here for this job. Hmmmm…. maybe God used the job for a bigger purpose. Just a thought.
I pray for a good job making a good living, but more than anything, I want to live. And I don’t have to devote my life to a career that used to appeal to me to do that.
I don’t have to be a famous anchor to do that. I may not be meant to do that, even thought I was so sure of it. I’ve been known to be wrong.
But I do have to press into Him and His purpose for me and run with it. Run super hard with it and don’t ever stop. And encourage everyone, absolutely everyone, I meet along the way to do the same.
I keep feeling like I’ve given up. And I have. I’ve give up MY life and plan for Him.
I also keep thinking about all the little girls who have come up to me in the park or at the mall and said they looked up to me. My job gave me that platform. I feel like I’ve lost it.
But God’s platform is SO much bigger.
I could work at a grocery store, a bookstore, a coffee shop, a school, a plant, a gas station, a mall, or at a job making millions – none of that matters. All that matters is how my life points everyone else to their greater purpose and to Heaven. And that I am filled with joy while I do it.
So, to recap (and gather my thoughts) on this whole big foggy mess of a life leap:
- I decided to quit the job I had always dreamt of and went to school for.
- I freaked out that I had made the wrong choice.
- I worried what everyone would think.
- I worried I would disappoint people.
- I worried I would never find another job I love.
- I worried people I work with will hate me.
- I worried I was messing my entire life up.
- I stopped worrying.
- I started praying, reading, listening.
- I gave it up to God.
- I applied for jobs and then let Him work.
- I decided to devote more time to my real dream of writing a book.
- I let go of my pride.
- I accepted whatever He has for me.
- I realized a job is a job and things are things, but God is God and I have to focus on that.
This has all been a lot. My mind has been in a fog, but I can see God through all the fog, and He is waiting on me right where He has always been.
I have no idea where I’m going from here. I could end up back at the job I’m leaving or I could end up somewhere I never imagined. Trying to figure that out will drive me insane, so I’m letting the Author handle it. And I’m not letting anyone else rent any space in my mind, including the Enemy.
Friend, whatever you are facing, it will all work out. As my best friend said, “When has your life not worked out?” Somehow, some way, as long as you are fixed on God, it WILL work out. It may not be how you imagined it, but all of the best things in life happen just that way.
You are a vessel. He will use you as soon as you say “OK.” Your story will help someone. Your life will lead someone. Your words will lift someone.
So, that job, that relationship, that payment, that disease, that temptation, that person, that place, that thought, that struggle… it is NOT bigger than God. It never will be. Rest, I mean like hard-nap-on-a-Sunday-rest, in that truth.
Oh, and you are LOVED. So loved. Remember that during this trial because love conquers all.
I didn’t quit my job because I was mad. I didn’t quit because someone hurt my feelings. I didn’t quit because I hated the place or the people. I quit for me. I quit to explore what else might make me happy. I quit to figure out life. I quit to follow God’s plan and pursue it more. I quit to pursue people more. I quit because I felt something pulling me away.
I’ll be sad, I’ll be confused, I’ll be angry, I’ll be numb, but I WILL be OK. You will be OK. It will ALL be OK.
Because I’ll also be happy and fulfilled and joyful and free. Not because of a job – no that is not my identity. I am not the “news reporter,” I am not “Kaitlin Chappell,” I’m not “that girl with the cool job.” I am a Child of God. I am Chosen. I am Redeemed. I am Loved.
And we share all those names. So shake off the others. The good ones and the bad ones. Because neither are important.
Step out on faith when you are called to and then actually live it out and see how He uses you.
I’m going to try my best to do that while I open up the next chapter of this really crazy, beautiful, ever-changing life.
Go be love,