Anxiety Induced Season of Life:
Anxiety is the worst! In November of 2021 my anxiety was through the roof!
In 2021 we had a very busy year! Joshua and I graduated in May, got married in June, I started graduate school in August and found out we were pregnant in September. That is enough anxiety for anyone! In my picture perfect plan we would have a baby the next summer and then I would figure out the balance of the second year of grad school with a child. While the Fall semester was ending, registration for Spring was looming over me. I was miserable, anxious, and heartbroken.
To add to my anxiety, my advisor didn’t want to work with me. I was told that I would have to work over the summer to complete my thesis. How would I do this with a baby due in May? I proposed that I would be able to start my thesis over the spring, take the summer off, and return in the fall to continue my research. Despite the unique situation of being pregnant and willing to do research early, they denied my proposal.
Discernment through Anxiety:
This anxiety was getting the best of me! I remember calling my sister Karen to help me sort out my thoughts and feelings. She is several years older and has always been like a second mother to me. Along with that, she is my confirmation sponsor and she knows my faith and my heart. She also had a similar situation where she had the courage to walk away from a troubling work environment and live in total trust of the Lord. Because of this choice she was left unemployed for over eight months and I could not imagine a better person to seek counsel from.
Karen listened as I shared with her how upset I was. The situation at hand was overwhelming! The workload ahead of me seemed impossible! Graduate school was only a “backup” plan in the case that Joshua and I would not be able to have children. My dreams were to be a stay-at -home mom if God gave us the blessings of children. After all the tears and venting, Karen asked me an invaluable question:
“So why don’t you just quit?”
I felt downright stupid!
Why didn’t I just quit? I didn’t want to be in school anymore, I didn’t like the life ahead of me, and I had nowhere near any sense of peace. What I was feeling was not the anxiety of a difficult or unknown situation, but instead, the physiological warnings of a path the Lord wasn’t calling me to.
The Result of Good Counsel:
Karen reminded me that careers and education are not our primary vocations. Single, married, or consecrated life are our vocations. Careers are the ways we glorify God in our outside lives and provide for our families. She reminded me that I was married to a wonderful husband, we were not in a bad place financially, and had the blessing of a child on the way.
Karen said to me, “You’ve got it all…right there. You don’t have to feel like you must do anything else. You can do what you want from here.”
Those words were freeing because those words were true. I felt stuck…I sensed an obligation to keep going, even though it wasn’t what I wanted. A further education, for me, was not what my family needed. It was something I felt trapped by…There was no reason for it.
I wanted to have it all!
Why? Why did I want more in life, when I already had all God wanted me to have? Graduate school kept me up crying at night and made me miserable. It was not God’s call for my life.
Once I let go of everything, I had so much peace.
Having it all is a lot. We can look at life as a buffet or a meal: “Would you rather have a tiny bit of everything, or fill yourself up with the best things?”
Buffets are fun occasionally, but we need meals to sustain us.