I remember sitting at my desk back in 2006 thinking:
I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this.
From the outside looking in, everything seemed perfect. I’d made it. I’d achieved everything I’d ever wanted:
I had my MBA.
I had a high paying job.
I flew on corporate jets and stayed in the nicest hotels.
I had a huge house on a golf course.
I had a country club membership.
I had nice cars.
I could buy anything I wanted.
And then one day I walked in and quit my job. I didn’t even clean out my desk. I left all the remnants of one life with the intention of moving on to something I hadn’t even found yet.
Really, I had started to check out well before the day that I actually left. I remember driving into my driveway in the wee hours of the morning (because I rarely got home the same day I went to work), I’d turn the car off and just sit there. Every night I pulled in there was a family of deer by the edge of the house. This went on for weeks. I would sit silently in my car and watch them eat the perfect landscaping that we’d spent so much money on, almost laughing at the irony of it all. Sitting there, with the whole world asleep around me, I would think:
Is this all there is?
And I knew that I wanted more but it came with overwhelming fear.
My mind was on repeat:
How do I walk away from all of this without looking like a failure?
How can I be brave enough to change the path I’m on?
How will I explain to people that although this may look like success it doesn’t feel like it?
How do I rearrange my whole life…..just to figure out what I want out of it?
Where is the exit? Please God give me an exit!
Then, on one of those nights, sitting in the still and quiet of my driveway, I found the quiet gift of grace. The fear vanished. I didn’t know what my path was going to be yet. I didn’t have anything planned out. I just knew that I didn’t want what I had.
The funny thing about faith and bravery is that they start to build on each other, if you let them. In the 30 days following the day I quit my “dream” job:
My husband quit his “dream” job.
We sold our “dream” house.
We sold our “dream” cars.
We walked away from a non-refundable country club membership.
We moved 3,000 miles across the country.
We didn’t bring much with us, mostly boxes of books, journals and photos. I gave Mr. LBB a box or two as well.
And yes, everyone thought we were nuts. Here’s an important message, write it down:
Sometimes it’s a relief to be NUTS…..when people think you are crazy it takes away the need for explanation.
But the truth is, I’ve never regretted walking away from it all. Ok, maybe for exactly 3 seconds every time I look at my huge stack of medical bills, but it quickly goes away. But maybe that’s not regret, maybe it’s just a little bit of longing for security. We all want security, but in the physical world there isn’t any. When I start worrying and longing for something else it means I’ve drifted away from my faith. It’s an easy measure for me.
For so long, I thought I had to be this hard shell of bravery and endurance. I viewed success and failure as black and white. But sometimes being brave is allowing yourself to fail. Now I look at failure not so much as an exit but as another door opening.
I feel something stirring in me again. I feel restless. I want less. I want simple. God can be kind of relentless sometimes….and it always seems to be when I think I don’t need him so much anymore. I need to find time to be still and listen. And I need to be brave enough to re-arrange my life to fit through whatever door opens….wherever it is.
Update: The quotes from this post came from a book called Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. I’m in a bible study right now at church that is based on the book. It’s very inspiring.
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