On the very last day of May, I resigned from my job, and I was able to jump into summer break without distraction alongside my kids. On the very last day of September, as the warm days of summer began to give signs of the transition into fall, I accepted a new position with a new organization.
I absolutely love how this time frame so neatly bookended an incredible summer that allowed me to rest and recover after a season of running hard. I was able to spend four glorious months with the freedom to enjoy my family, explore my own interests and practice patience as I waited for God’s direction for the next season of my life.
During the past month or so as I’ve been talking to people about various job possibilities and getting to know potential new co-workers, a lot of people have asked me to share the story of my life. As I’ve given the bullet point version of my adult working years, it hit me how neatly each season has fit into a decade that offered a different opportunity to grow and learn.
In my 20’s, I completed my bachelor’s degree in journalism and my master’s degree in public affairs reporting. I got to spend that decade living out my dream of being a newspaper reporter and editor. I was able to help launch some of the very first online newspapers and learn how to build web sites, and then I got to dip my toe in the area of leadership as Chicago bureau chief. I sometimes still look back at that period as my “actual career,” but it was more like boot camp. That had to have been the most challenging experience of my life and created in me a mindset that I was capable of doing hard things.
In my 30’s, I got to create humans. I gave birth to four living, breathing human beings, which is an enormous blessing that I don’t take for granted for one second. Sometimes, I can’t even imagine what I could have done right that would afford me such an unbelievable gift. I also was able to try out my entrepreneurial skills during this time, running my own business in the direct sales world. I learned so much about leadership and team building, as well as how to create systems and strategy to accomplish my goals.
In my 40’s, I was blessed to be a communications director at our church. I was granted more freedom than I could have possibly deserved to grow creatively. I learned about so many aspects of communications that went beyond writing. I was able to grow in photography, video editing, graphic design, web design and communicating through social media. However, the most valuable “skill” I learned during this decade was from the example of my amazing boss who taught us to always put relationship first and consider “the heart” of why people act and react in different ways. He patiently worked with me to soften my goal-driven tendencies and consider how we could impact people who are hurting, lost and in need of help. He also gave me a voice to speak into vision, direction and leadership in a way that allowed me to learn more about myself and grow as a leader.
During the past four months, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I’ve learned so far and how I might best put that to use in this next season of my life. I still find it impossible to believe I’m 50 years old and have been blessed to have had so many amazing experiences to help prepare me for what is next.
Going into the summer, I had a lot of projects I needed to try. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to do freelance writing, photography and even lead others in creative projects. As much as I’ve loved pursuing my own interests, I’ve realized how much I miss being part of something that is bigger than myself.
I began sending out resumes as summer ended, and it’s been eye-opening to talk to different leaders about opportunities within their organizations. The experience made me realize that I still want to contribute my specific gifts and talents to a team. As I think about all of the people who have influenced me in each decade of my life, I have become more convinced that now I want to be able to take my experiences and help others who want to learn and grow.
After wrapping up this past season of working for a church, I honestly didn’t think I would want to work for a non-profit organization again. But through many conversations and prayer, I’ve realized that I still want to contribute to an organization that is directly impacting the world in a way that has eternal significance. I know I don’t have forever to be part of the workforce, and I want to be careful to spend my time in a way that has meaning and value.
Amazingly, I have been offered the opportunity not only to be part of an organization that aligns with my passions, but it’s also doing highly creative work of producing media to impact the world. As if that wasn’t enough, the leadership listened to my heart and noticed my strengths. They created a position for me that allows me to grow in my passions of strategy, leadership and direction. And on top of all of that, I get to work with a bunch of really nice people with amazing hearts and tons of humility. A couple of them are already my friends in real life!
So, here I go. I’m extraordinarily grateful for four months of rest and recovery. Beginning next week, I will begin a new job as Director of Advancement at OneWay Ministries. I’m excited to step into a new chapter during a new decade.
Thank you for reading! I would love to hear what’s going on in your life. What are you most excited about right now?