I often share stories about the things I have learned from my emotional healing work with people who are enduring hardships. Today I’m feeling like my own personal story is the one to share. Although I can’t say that it has been a particular hardship when compared to the things that many people have experienced in life, I think it’s a story that many of us can relate to because many of us have experienced transitions. I have been in a bit of a transition in my life for the past several months. I have been presented with what seems like two distinctly different paths to follow. One of those paths keeps me in the traditional healthcare world, where I have spent much of my career, and is definitely a more comfortable place for me to be. The other path takes me towards a more non-traditional role (for me) where I am relying more on my own capacity to market myself and my holistic emotional wellness services. For some, this sort of marketing may be a no-brainer, and may be very easy. As I am a bit of an introvert (though not to the extreme), this prospect is somewhat intimidating, and has without a doubt led me to make some choices that have kept me “playing small”.
Although I have had many “Aha” moments along this journey, a few recent “Aha” moments have been very enlightening. I had the opportunity to interview for a Nurse Practitioner position with a physician who owns an alternative medical practice which I believed would be a great fit for me. Even in my work as a Nurse Practitioner, I seldom fit well into a traditional office setting where everything is fixed with a prescription for a new pill, and I’m lucky if I get to spend 15 minutes with my patient. This is just not my style. So this office seemed to be the perfect fit…I really liked the physician and the staff I would be working with, it was a great fit for my particular experience in Women’s Health, and the physician even told me during the interview that I was his first choice of the people he had interviewed so far. Everything really felt perfect. Almost. The office was a 45-minute drive from my home each direction. But in my head I’m thinking, “But everything ELSE is perfect!” So I just chose to disregard that whole “90 minutes spent on the road every weekday” thing. 🙂
In the week following the interview, I gave a lot of thought to how I could work this new position into my life. I considered moving a little closer to this office, I thought about how I would handle the commute time and still manage my life, and I acted and thought in every way as if this thing was going to happen. And then…it didn’t happen. The physician sent a very kind email stating that although he really liked me and thought I would be a great fit for the office, he had chosen someone else for the current opening. 😦 I had placed so many thoughts and plans around this one thing happening that it actually took me a day or so to readjust to the new reality, rather than the false reality I had constructed in my mind. I kept thinking, “But everything seemed so perfect, and I thought this was God’s work, pushing me in the direction that I was supposed to go.”
In my process of confiding this to some close friends, one of my friends shared this Bible verse with me: Be sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Although I have heard many translations of this verse, most of them begin with the word ‘Faith”. (Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen). I spent a lot of time thinking about this as I was processing through the loss of this position that I so hoped for. How had I lost my faith? How had I failed to expect to have this thing that I wanted so badly? I couldn’t think of a single way that I had lost my faith. This irritated me even more!
But as I continued to think about this verse, a new interpretation came to me that I hadn’t considered ever before. Being sure of what I hope for had always meant to me that I needed to be sure that what I hope for would come to me. But perhaps it also means that I need to be sure WHAT it is that I’m hoping for. If I am not sure what it is that I’m hoping for, how will I recognize it when I see it? If I’m not sure what I’m hoping for, anything that is in some way better than what I’m experiencing right now will be enough. And that standard isn’t always a very high standard. But if I know what it is that I hope for, and I hold myself tightly to that standard, knowing that I am meant to have it, I behave differently. I can say no to anything that isn’t 100% perfect for me and my life, because I know it’s not exactly what I am hoping for! In fact, I could end up having something that’s even BETTER than what I thought I wanted! Either way, I don’t have to settle. And if I do settle, it’s only because I have chosen to settle, and not because there aren’t any bigger and better things available to me.
This simple shift in how I thought about faith was enough to lift me out of my cloud of sadness and grief over the position that I wanted. Yes, it was ALMOST perfect. But I know what I hope for, and I know that I DON’T hope to spend at least 90 minutes on the road every day. So I can let go much more peacefully of this ALMOST perfect opportunity, so that I can make room for the ABSOLUTELY perfect opportunity. It’s out there. And I have faith that it will be revealed to me.
The crucial part of this process is to keep listening. Keep listening to myself. Know myself well enough to know what it is that I really hope for. And each time that I choose to invest my time and energy into choosing exactly what I hope for, I not only get more of what it is that I hope for, but I also solidify my faith that more of what I hope for is coming. In other words, I can be certain of what I do not see…yet. 🙂
If you’re not getting what it is that you really want out of life, I would highly recommend making sure that you know what it is that you’re hoping for. Then, go ahead…be selective! Be VERY choosy…hear yourself saying, “That’s for me!” or “That’s not for me!” It’s an incredible exercise in faith. One that will be rewarded.