Hi friends! It’s been awhile since we have really caught up, so I thought it’d be nice to carve out some time for a hypothetical coffee date today. Will you join me?
As we order our warm drinks and find a cozy spot in the coffee shop we catch up on what’s been going on in your life. Afterwards, the conversation turns and you ask what’s new with me.
For awhile now, whenever I’ve been asked this question my go-to response is “honestly not too much, just living life.” I never say that to withhold anything. I’ve said it simply because it’s true. But today, I chuckle on the inside because for once, that response isn’t fitting. Because the last two months have been a bit of a rollercoaster.
I fumble with my words as I find the best way to portray what has been going on, but it comes out plainly that the gym I worked for went out of business at the beginning of December, and I am currently unemployed. As the words come out of my mouth, the questions that everyone has asked me quickly come out of yours. Did I know? How am I doing? What am I going to do next? And so we dive into the depths of where my head and heart are at.
In regards to the end of the gym, it was quick, but not sudden, if that makes sense. We hit a tough year with the fitness market in our area, and people just weren’t coming in the door like they used to. All year we had been digging our heels in and fighting as best we could to help the business stay alive, and hopefully thrive again. Unfortunately, in the end, our efforts came up short, and due to a combination of circumstances the decision was made to close up shop the first week of December.
Obviously the ending of a business isn’t easy for anyone involved – the owners, the staff, or the clients – so the final days felt a bit subdued. It’s certainly been sad to experience the end of this chapter. But at the same time, I’m surprisingly doing really okay with it all. For one, our last week of business was full of reminiscing on the highs and lows of the journey, giving us the opportunity to end with gratefulness for all we had done. But more significantly for me, in the last month or so of business – when it was still being determined if we were going to remain open or call it good – I spent a lot of time at the feet of Jesus in prayer about the entire situation. And in many different ways, bit by bit, God gave me overwhelming feelings of peace, hope, and faith.
The root of it stems from when God’s living and active Word seemed to speak directly to my circumstances. The Bible study I was going through happened to lead me to John 15 when Jesus is telling his disciples about how he is the true vine, and instructing them to abide in him. Amidst this conversation, he says “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit [God] takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Even though this wasn’t the focal point of my study, these words stood out in a way I couldn’t shake.
You see, this job has been incredibly fruitful in my life. I still firmly believe it was all in God’s perfect plan that I landed where I was (which may be a story for another day). My entire experience there brought so much to my personal and professional life: refinement and growth, new physical and mental strength, and new knowledge and new skills. Plus, I hope and believe that I had a positive impact on the people I interacted with on a daily basis. Even as the office manager, I had the opportunity to come alongside our clients within the challenges of their own health journeys and cheer them on. In the two years I worked at this gym, God streamlined some major refinement on areas of my heart and life that were long time struggles, and I don’t believe they could have been worked out as effectively in any other way. So with all of that being said, as I read verse 2, I viewed this job as a fruit bearing part of my life, and with it at risk of being stripped away, I asked myself, “could it be because God wants me to bear more fruit?” Perhaps everything that God has been doing within me in the last two years (both in this job, and outside of it) would now give way for such a time as this.
And what is “this” exactly? Well, despite my continued insecurity of how lame it may sound, I remind you of my firm belief that God has called me, and keeps calling me, to blog, but I haven’t found the footing to fully commit to it as much as I’d like to. So, what if God is removing this piece of my life so that I can once and for all not have any valid excuse standing in my way of being obedient to Him? Not even a job that consumes time and energy that I could be using to blog, or to invest in some relationships in deeper ways. At first, it just felt like a hopeful wish. I had a brief season of being a “stay-at-home-wife” years ago when Adam was in his job training, and I loved it. In fact, that’s when I took my first steps of obedience in starting my blog. But is it really practical and wise for me to stay at home when I’m perfectly capable of working? It feels like a selfish desire, and can I be completely honest with you? I’m worried it could make me appear like a lazy, freeloader. But the details seemed to keep leaving the door open. With adjustment we can survive off of Adam’s income, we will only be living in Cheyenne so much longer so I could be limited on time, etc. And my greatest affirmation has come in the form of my sweet husband’s support. In fact, he has been more forward about me taking this time to follow God’s call than I have been. So I’ve been swallowing my pride, and trying to accept that while some people may not understand this decision, God has been intently calling me to this for so long that I can’t doubt that He has greater plans than I can imagine. And if He takes what feels like an extreme measure to remove my job title, then I should really start taking this seriously.
And so, since the first week of December I’ve slowly been determining what this new season is going to look like. I took a bit of time to recoup, recover, and do what felt like grieve after the dust finally settled. And now I’m seeking to establish new rhythms and routines to set up a healthy structure in this seemingly unstructured season of life. But I’m also really heading into this season with open hands; trying to remain attentive to what God is leading me towards, and trying to become more fervent in obediently following Him, wherever that might be.
I’m hopeful. I’m apprehensive. I’m excited. I’m still insecure at times. In some ways this decision feels like it doesn’t make sense. But then again, both in Scripture and in life I have witnessed God move in the biggest ways through the nonsensical (I mean, for crying out loud, we did just celebrate a holiday centered on Jesus’ virgin birth). I’ve had fear that people may question these choices, but the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me that it could raise the opportunity for me to proclaim my belief that God is on the move and that He is faithful through it all.
I finally pause to take the last sip of my coffee. You smile at me, and express your happiness for me in this new season and for what God has already started doing in me. I thank you for your listening ear, your understanding, and your encouragement. It helps affirm me even more on the path I feel God leading me on. And I look forward to hopefully having more time for get-togethers like this in this season.
We grab our coats, toss our cups, give each other a big hug, and head our separate ways. Until next time, friend…