Life Happens! (But what is God trying to show us?)
"We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer." Proverbs 16:1 (NLT)
I was supposed to work today. However, that verse was my Facebook status this morning at 4 am from my devotional. I typed it after scrubbing the couch and floor and starting a load of laundry because my son came down with a stomach bug and didn't make it to the bathroom before vomiting all over. I truly believe that God allows all things to happen in our lives for a reason, and I feel that lately He has been showing me how I need to realign my priorities. This was just one more lesson in that. While I feel awful that my son is sick, it has been another reminder to me of how important my role as a mother and wife is.
The last few weeks, I have been working quite a bit. The truth is that I currently have 4 part-time jobs. I work as a nursing instructor for 2 different schools, which means that I teach 2 days at the hospital each week. I am also on-call in the local ER and work at another area hospital as a RN Case Manager on an average of 2 to 4 days per month. Occasionally, other instructors will also ask me to sub for their clinical groups. Between all of these jobs, I have been averaging somewhere between 42 and 60 hours a week for the past 3 weeks, and my schedule continues to be just as intense for the entire month of November. The light at the end of the tunnel is that I have hardly any days scheduled in December, and I have decided to be much more choosy about which days I agree to work during that time.
Originally, I had picked up some extra shifts because both of our vehicles needed new transmissions within 3 months, which was a very large expense. We had wiped out most of our savings to pay cash for the first one and wanted to be able to pay cash for the second one as well, so it seemed fine to work a little more for a short time and be able to meet the goal. (And I'm so thankful that I have a career that allows me to do that!) However, while I started this schedule for good reason, in reality, I truly do love to work. As much as I love to work, though, I love my family more, and the reason I took the part-time jobs in the first place was to have more time with them while the kids are still little. I was already feeling a little unsettled about the situation, then 2 other nurses that I hardly know made comments comparable to calling me a "workaholic". While I don't remember what exactly was said, I do remember feeling convicted by what they said because it was a confirmation of what I was already feeling myself. As much as I truly enjoy my job and am satisfied with the things I am able to do with my job, there are often things left undone at home and I feel more disorganized that ever even though I am taking a year off of school to get my life in order. For this reason, I am praying diligently for God to show me which jobs I should keep and which ones I could do without.
The last week or so, I finally feel like I am getting some clear answers. One of the hospitals will be starting to use an electronic charting system in the spring, which would including having to attend computer training sessions (a total of approximately 6 days), meaning more time away from my family. Plus, I would then by trying to use multiple computer systems (which are very complex) on back-to-back days frequently which may be very difficult to keep straight. I spoke to my husband about the transition, and he was in total agreement that it would be a good time for me to step out of that role, so that will free up at least 2 more days a month for me to be home. Secondly, now that I am no longer attending school at one of the colleges that I teach for, the pay is not that good compared to the other school without the half-off tuition discount I was receiving and that just happens to be the teaching job that gives me the most stress, so I am seriously considering giving up that position as well.
I am so thankful that we have a God who is working in our lives everyday. If we are seeking Him, he will open or close doors on things that are helping or hindering us. The key is to be paying attention for what he is trying to show us. My co-worker has a beautiful framed sign hanging in our shared office that couldn't be more true for this season in my life. It reads the following:
"We must listen quietly for God,
because He whispers while the world yells."
It is important to think when we are going through our busy day-to-day life if our activities are filling up our time or giving our life a purpose. For me, it required some real soul-searching and some tough decisions, but I know that when January arrives, I will feel like a much more balanced person which will hopefully allow me to feel like I am truly fulfilling my calling as a Christian wife and mother.