Monday, September 12, 2016

when taking a step of faith gets real

back in April i announced my career change slash life change. i actually named that post "when dreams become reality" but the ironic thing is that at the time i wrote that post it was still a dream. it wasn't yet reality then, but it is reality now. 

it's cool to read back over all of the doors that the Lord opened for this change to be possible. and i remember feeling so much confirmation that this is what we were supposed to be doing. and now here we are, in the thick of it, doing this thing. so, what now? 

it's almost as if trusting the Lord feels easier when you're talking about taking a step of faith, than when you're actually taking the step. because, before it was just something we talked about, now we feel the weight of it. it's become reality, and reality doesn't always feel like dreams. reality is a messy, hard, stressful place. 

i would be lying if i said that i had no doubts since starting this journey. the fact of the matter is that it can be easy to get discouraged when you're in the thick of it. next week we start our internships, and i think a lot of the MSW students feel like we are walking into something we aren't prepared for. it's one thing to discuss theories in class, and to learn about social work, but it's a whole other ballgame to actually be doing it in the world. so now it's real. 

the overwhelming workload of graduate school means that the stress and insecurities have all been brought out. and this is the point where faith matters so much, because without it doubts are all you have. i think it's completely normal to be anxious and unsure at first though. as Aliza so beautifully said in her recent post (which is super relateable to me right now!) "you are, quite simply, at your beginning." so, it's okay to process through doubts and insecurities while following Jesus where He leads you. these kinds of situations are what grow our faith, and challenge us to understand who God is. 

a few things i have learned through this transition of talking about taking a step of faith, to actually taking it:

1. i should be praying through the journey as much as i prayed about the journey. you better believe that Thomas & i spent a lot of time in prayer before we sold our house, uprooted our lives, and made all of the sacrifices we did in order to make grad school a reality. but it would be foolish to just say "ok, thanks God for getting us here" and then peace out. praying shouldn't stop when the journey starts, it is something we should be doing daily anyways, but we need God just as much in the easy times as we do in the hard times. although i have a feeling that even though we went through a lot this past year to get to grad school, that was the easy part on this journey. ;)

2. i didn't get here by my own strength, and i won't get through it on my own strength. this goes hand in hand with the first one, but God is the one who helped me to get to grad school, so why would i think that i've got it now? i need to lean on Him through grad school, and not think that i can do it all on my own. that is how burn out happens!

3. dreams are good, but reality is still hard. it is easy to glorify a dream and to think that everything will be peaches and rainbows. but the truth is that even if you are following your dreams, life is still hard. there are challenging situations in the classroom and in my internship that i will face. but i need to remember to be open minded because the uncomfortable times are when i will learn the most. and it's okay not to have all the answers yet, learning is the things that matters.

4. find your person. when going through a life change like this, it can be easy to stay stuck inside my own head, but i've found that processing things with other people helps tremendously. i've been lucky enough to make a few good friends right off the bat in grad school, and it's been super helpful to speak with them about the transition, as well as hear their struggles and perspectives on their own transition. sometimes it is good to hear that other people are struggling through the same things that you are, and that you aren't alone. also, even though Thomas isn't going through exactly the same things i am, he is my person that i go to for encouragement and a fresh perspective. so it's important to find your person or your people that can be an anchor through this time. 

what are some truths you hold onto in times of transition?

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