In the last couple of weeks I’ve had two separate experiences where I felt so anxious, and so out of control that I could hear a voice inside me trying to get my attention.
The first one had to do with a job posting. It was the perfect job for me. A cute little shop filled with cute little local made items. What a great way to get out there, meet people, earn a little extra money. I was nervous, but what was the harm in applying?
Except, in my heart I could tell something was not right about it. I was beset by anxiety. Finally on a Sunday afternoon I called a friend that I missed so much, A friend I consider a mentor. After confiding in her all my concerns, all the pros and cons I said, “I can’t tell if this is the Holy Spirit or if I’m just scared.”
“Jessie, your not ‘just scared’. I’ve seen you do scary things before. This is the Spirit. Think about it, your kids are going to be starting a new school. You being close by, and able to volunteer is way more important to them then the money for piano lessons.” It was so good to hear her say that. To have someone confirm to me that I should not ignore that inner voice.
The second experience happened not long after. Mid summer a friend of mine sent me the link to a new website for women. They were looking for writers. I applied kind of on a whim and then forgot about it. A while later I was contacted for an interview. The interview went well, I was accepted to their team and it felt good to know that I had their approval (approval, something I never seem to have enough of). What a great opportunity, another plank on my writing platform, a way to reach more readers. Then suddenly anxiety. Little warning flashes.
When I finally took a moment to think about it I realized I hadn’t really prayed about this opportunity. It looked so great I just jumped right in. Surely if it wasn’t right God would close the door, after all. But there were things about it that were eating away at me. A different friend this time, a friend who is also a writer. The same message I was getting from my mentor, “listen to your inner voice, there’s a reason you feel this way. Your not crazy.”
I hated backing out. I was worried about disappointing them, burning bridges, missing out. After I sent my resignation letter the founder contacted me, and instead of feeling like I had let them down I felt affirmed. We understand, they said, we love your voice, if you ever want to write for us, when the time is right, the invitation is open.
Listen to my inner voice. Over and over. My inner voice, something I’ve become so adept at ignoring. I’ve ignored it for so long I can’t tell the difference between it and simple nervousness. But I’m starting to hear it now.
I know why the job wouldn’t have been a good choice for us. I’m not sure why the writing gig wouldn’t be, but that’s the thing God DOES know. We took a huge leap of faith to move here. Our life is messy, and crazy and there’s a lot I need to work through emotionally. My kids need more of me, my husband needs more of me. There’s still only 24 hours in any day, and if I’m not careful I’ll fill those hours up with things that aren’t nurturing them or me. I have a book, a book that I believe in that I want to have published so bad, and I think God is protecting my time. Protecting it for the book, for my family and most of all for me.
As women we’ve been trained to ignore that voice, but it’s there for a reason, I’m going to start listening.