Change can be Exhaustingly Energizing
One of the biggest goals of this year of turning 40 was to change jobs. I was able to check it off the 40 for 40 list. However the process of seeking out a new job, finishing out my previous position well, and now learning new responsibilities and developing new relationships has been exhausting. Each morning though I get up and arrive to work earlier than I ever imagined I could make it and am energized to face a new day. The exhaustion has meant a few of the other 40 for 40 goals have taken a back seat.
My previous position was working with the Department of Mental Health with adolescent and young adults. Though I loved many aspects of my time there, it was time to make a change. In May 2010 I went to the Catalyst Conference in Dallas. Andy Stanley spoke about the Courage to Go, the Courage to Stay, and the Courage to Ask for Help. The talk resonated with me as staying would have been safe and I would have continued to “do good.” However leaving would be uncomfortable so that I could serve and grow in other ways God has placed on my heart. Leaving young people I have grown to respect and care about was emotionally exhausting. Facing the possibility I would not love my new job has been a thought I have needed to keep in check.
I am now working in a middle and high school program for students with special needs. I have gone from knowing my job well and feeling quite confident of my abilities and relationships to a time where I am constantly thinking about my abilities but also my deficits. What do I need to learn? What skills can I transfer? Where can I step up and lead? How can I get better? Can I really connect with students? When will it be easier?
I keep reminding myself that I am only 6 weeks in. Relationships of years can’t even begin to be compared with 6 weeks of school.
What am I learning – that change is both energizing and exhausting – and it can be seemingly both at the same moment. I had forgotten some of this lesson. Though in the past I may have been exhausted but energized during a retreat or conference the job change is a more enduring process. Months of change in relationships, commute, faces, policies, routines, role, etc.
I received a card from a friend on my softball team the other day – a quick note. She had no idea, or quite honestly she most likely had every idea, that change is challenging. It was quick note of thought and encouragement regarding change. It allowed me to give myself time and also reminded me to give grace and encouragement to others in the change process.