I love to do things right the first time. I don’t like mistakes. Growing up, I would get nervous and intimated in my different classes at school because I wanted to know exactly what we were learning that day and know all about it beforehand. That way, when I came to class, I would be prepared. I remember that pressure building and growing throughout high school. My parents never put that pressure on me, I did that myself. They would say that I didn’t need to worry if I didn’t know an answer when called on in class – the teachers were teaching, I was learning, of course I don’t know all the answers, that’s downright ridiculous! That’s why they were teaching me, so I would learn. But I was always fearful of looking foolish, of looking unintelligent, of looking dumb.
Living with those expectations I placed on myself was exhausting and unrealistic. I quickly discovered in college that I would grow from my mistakes, learn to ask questions and seek help when needed (ah, humility), and try to care less of what other folks thought of me. I’ll admit it, I’m a people pleaser. I think what it boils right down to is pride. But it’s too exhausting and unnecessary to care about what others think about you – you can’t make everyone happy, and that’s not our purpose. If I didn’t learn that back in college, I’ve definitely learned it in the workforce. I don’t think living for what others think of you is enjoying what God has already done for us – who he says we are, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to make us blameless and shower us with grace. In His eyes, I’m one of his children. That’s who I am, that’s where my identity is found, not in what other people think of me or what I’ve done. It’s all grace. I’ve learned that I cannot live to please others. I simply must do my best, continue to ask questions and always be willing to learn (even at the risk of sounding silly at my own expense).
I’ve had the pleasure of working a couple jobs in Laurel, all of which I’ve loved. But my full-time work is with Choices Clinic of Laurel, and this is where my passions and beliefs collide and come to life. This is taken from our website, and explains who Choices is and what we do: Choices Clinic of Laurel serves our community by empowering individuals to make life-affirming decisions through confidential medical services, education, and emotional support while compassionately sharing Biblical truth and Christ’s love. When I first heard of Choices Clinic, I began training to become a client advocate with the clinic. At the time, I had only recently moved to Laurel and was working a part time job at Southern Antiques downtown. I loved the store and the downtown atmosphere, but knew I wanted to explore different opportunities that better aligned with where I believed my passions and gifts are – frankly, I wanted to do something related to my sociology studies, more so in the area of counseling. Once I began training at Choices Clinic, the opportunity to work there as the administrative assistant opened up, and I eagerly jumped at the chance to work in a place where my passions and faith collided. And here we are! Only God could have orchestrated all of this – the timing of it all, the fact that I can walk to the center (remember, Jim takes the car to work so I have to walk everywhere), the women who work at the center (the absolute best!), and the job itself.
Since working there, I’ve been given different opportunities besides the regular duties of an administrative assistant. I’m sure many of you know, but when you work at a non-profit organization, you get to wear many different hats. My dad recently told me it’s good to be one step out of your comfort zone when it comes to your work. With his advice and the belief that it was the right thing to do, I’ve accepted one of these opportunities to try something different, and it has me about 10,000 feet outside of my comfort zone – to teach a group of public high schoolers about boundaries and self-care. I’ll only be teaching a few days, but the idea of standing up in front of high schoolers to public speak about a topic that is extremely important makes me afraid. What if I cannot articulate, what if I’m uninteresting, what if I stutter, what if, what if, what if… wow, what a self-centered way to view this entire opportunity. Worrying about what could happen, instead of focusing on the entire purpose of me being there: to make these teenagers aware of what is and is not ok concerning boundaries, what sexual abuse can look like, what verbal abuse can look like, what emotional boundaries look like, who you are and that you have meaning, purpose and importance! No, I cannot worry about failure. Because I want these high schoolers to know what is and is not normal, what healthy boundaries look like, even if they walk away taking only one concept with them. Because I wish someone had taught me me about these things when I was younger. (Note: my parents are amazing parents, this isn’t an issue of how I was raised. You can’t protect your kids from everything, no matter how much you want to shield them from the harshness of this world).
I saw this photo as I was scrolling my instagram feed this morning (via Old Try), and I felt completely convicted. Sometimes doing what’s right isn’t always easy. But it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for others. To step one foot outside of your comfort zone (or 10,000 if that’s how you roll). I’m still scared and nervous when that day comes and I stand up in front of these students to speak, but it’s not about me, it’s much bigger than me. I want to play a part in God’s redemptive story as it continues to unfold, even if it’s a small part. To God be the glory.