It’s Fearless Friday once again, and I am slightly embarrassed that I have only posted once since the last Fearless Friday entry! Things have been crazy and busy here in Rwanda, but we are enjoying our time and I look forward to updating you some more soon! In the meantime, I am happy to welcome a guest post by my good friend Correne Harnett. Like me, Correne has been on a journey to overcome fear in her life. I shared about one of her triumphs in Self-Confidence Sunday a while back, and have been so blessed by her encouragement and inspiration as we walk this journey together! Today, Correne tells the story of overcoming the fear of change and the unknown when it comes to career security. Enjoy!
After 18 years of shift work assisting adults with disabilities, I knew that the negativity that was starting to radiate from my life just wasn’t reflecting the person I wanted to be. It was time to face one of my fears: a change of jobs. I loved my career, but I knew I needed a change. I have two sons with multiple diagnoses, and they both strive on structure. Daily life needs to run smoothly and as expected, without any surprises. So how could I continue a career of shift work and call-ins?
I decided that this change needed to happen, but the anxiety about what the change looked like was too much to handle. How could I work in the same field, doing what I love, without shift work? Not only that, but we had also just finished putting my husband through four years of trade school. What if I had to go back to school? The unknowns just continued to pile up on me.
Then a friend suggested working as an EA in the school system. It seemed like a great opportunity to give my boys the structured home life they needed. After a few months of contemplating the idea, I wondered if I would be able help kids when I’ve only worked with adults. I talked with friends and family about my new plan and started asking God to help me with this decision, but I couldn’t get an answer from Him.
Then it hit me. All the opinions of these people who cared about me were how God was giving me my answer. God wanted me to listen to my circle; I just needed to learn to listen the way He wanted me to listen.
So I applied and was able to get a subbing position. This meant that I could still keep my other job just in case, like a safety blanket. Soon enough, the calls started rolling in from both places. I became content with this for a while, until I noticed the boys’ behaviours starting to increase. As it turned out, I wasn’t home more, but less. The higher their behaviours became, the more I worked to escape it. I didn’t realize that I was the problem. The stress of two jobs and two boys was too much—I knew I was deflating fast.
Finally, in the fall, I was offered a full time position at the school. What a great opportunity! I committed to that, but still hung on to my safety blanket. After all, I could still work weekends! The thought of leaving the other people I worked with and only committing myself to a 1-year contract with the school was scary. The future was still holding me hostage. If I could do both jobs, I knew I still had control of my future in case the school job didn’t work out.
It didn’t take long for me to break. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was trying to multi-manage too many things and the need for control was breaking me! My old job would call me non-stop for shifts. I was always scared to say “no” for the fear of them being angry at me… or worse, they could stop calling me. I had to say “yes”. I needed to please others in order to keep them happy. The fear of rejection was only a small part of my thoughts of self-worth (but that’s a whole other story!).
There was nothing left of me and I had to decide between these jobs. I knew if I thought about it any more the anxiety would hit me again and I wouldn’t be able to carry forward with my plan. The fear would build inside of me to the point of giving up and backing out on what I had intended to do.
I was working in class with a student one day, and I asked to borrow a pen and paper. I wrote a letter of resignation without thinking about it or even stopping to read what I had written. At lunch, I drove it over and handed it to the first person that I saw as I walked in. I was shaking, terrified of what she was thinking of me. She read the letter and asked if we could talk. I agreed, and prayed for strength all the way to the room she led me to. I gave the truth and spoke with confidence, tears rolling down my face.
After leaving, I knew it was finally over. I continued to cry, but this was a different type of cry. I had faced my fear and left it in God’s hands. I knew He would take care of me. The stress seemed to dissipate as I drove back to the school to a quiet afternoon.
Conquering the fear of change was hard work, but now four months later, I know I made the right decision. My boys celebrated with me when they found out that mom only had to go to work at one place. The structured life has been amazing for them, and I don’t miss any part of their lives anymore. Best of all, I have never looked back and wondered at the “what ifs”!
The unknown is scary, but we have to trust and know that God has us in His hands!