At one point or another, we’ve all wrestled with what it is we want to do with our lives.
It was spring of 2012 when it happened.
I scribbled my resignation letter on the white piece of paper and placed it on my boss’ desk. I would no longer be “the salad girl.”
Quitting felt good.
It wasn’t a bad job (no complaints honestly), but I had boiled enough pasta and sliced enough eggs to last me a lifetime.
When You’re At a Crossroads
Life likes to throw surprises our way, almost like a party we didn’t want to go to.
Sometimes we’ve been at the party but just haven’t been paying enough attention.
Suddenly you realize you’re not 18 anymore and you still have no idea what you’d like to do with your life, or what you should be doing.
The enemy likes to swoop in here too and raise his signs up high in the air. Like billboards all over the city square.
Signs that say:
You’re too late. You missed your chance. You’re not worthy of following your dreams. You’re not worthy of discovering what your dreams are. You’re not talented enough. You don’t have her capabilities. You’ll just have to accept that this is how it will always be.
And then we engage in the cycle, wanting to break free but afraid of what may meet us on the other end.
That’s where I was at. I had gone to one year of post-secondary school, but I had no idea what I wanted to major in. (I always loved writing but all I could think of was journalism and that didn’t seem interesting to me).
The Real Reason I Quit Exposed
At 24, I figured I would long be doing something more exciting than prepping and chopping fruits and vegetables for a living (no offense to any chefs and food prep workers out there – we all got our thing)!
I was tired of whisking salad dressings, but the real reason I quit was because I wanted to do something “better.” Something more “important.” Something more “upstanding.”
Or so I thought.
What began as an exciting spring turned into a miserable summer.
What was supposed to be a full-time gig cleaning houses turned into part-time work and eventually searching for other jobs.
I worked at a golf course (in a kitchen setting, ironically), a call center, and as an assistant supervisor for people with intellectual disabilities.
I regretted ever quitting at the College in the first place.
When the Revelation Hits, it Hits Hard
In hindsight, I can clearly see a pattern. It wasn’t the job, it was me. I felt that I either wasn’t capable to do the job or that it wasn’t “important enough.”
To be honest, I wasn’t even completely aware of this truth, my perspective was off at that point.
Making salads wasn’t impressive. I wanted to “make a difference,” to not feel embarrassed when people asked me what I did for a living and I had to say “I make salads.”
I got in my own way. And I didn’t pray about any of it. Not even about quitting my humble salad-making job.
Sure, I might’ve said a half-hearted prayer but my mind was already made up.
And so God taught me two very valuable lessons that I’ve taken with me since that experience:
If you do anything without Him, it’s going to fail.
“For without me you can do nothing.” We all know this verse and acknowledge its wisdom. But that entire job hunting/soul searching experience shed light on this verse in a whole new way.
It came alive.
I mean, we can do nothing without Him.
And yet so often we act like that’s not the case.
It went from my head to my heart and I’m so thankful it did. It sunk deep and has always stayed with me.
Any decisions I’ve made after this journey, I’ve always gone to God and asked for His wisdom and guidance. I would prefer not to wander around aimlessly again like I did that summer, feeling frustrated, hopeless and lost.
2. You are not your job title.
It’s crazy to me now to think of how much weight I placed on my job title.
Why do we do that? It’s been ingrained into us since the day we were born. We’re informed that so-and-so is doing really well in their field of expertise, they got that degree, they wonder why you didn’t go to school, and so on.
When you’re in those early stages of life there’s even more pressure placed around what we do for a living. There’s this unspoken pressure and expectation to have it all figured out. To have your ducks in a row or risk being seen as behind.
But that is not the truth.
God doesn’t work that way.
He doesn’t care what your position or title says because all that matters is you are His child. Your worth, your value, your identity, it all comes from Him.
That is the monumental lesson I learned through this entire ordeal.
This isn’t to say that we can’t pursue amazing things and go after our dreams. We just need to remember who is in control.
When God calls everything into alignment, beautiful things happen.
And we have to do our part, show up, and do the work. But in the working, we must remember that we are more than what the plaque on the desk says. More than parents, accountants, bloggers, waiters, cashiers or nurses.
We are human beings who’s first and most important job is to love God and love others.
I Had a Dream For What I Was Supposed To Be Doing
Part of the reason I was so adamant to do “something more” was also because I had always felt a calling on my life to use my writing talents.
I didn’t know what it would look like or how exactly to pursue it or how it would come to be, but I felt it down to the bones that God would reveal it to me someday.
It was such a strong feeling, like an anchor pulling me to that calling over and over again, for over a decade.
And so instead of waiting on God’s timing and clarity, I decided to rush the timeline and do it on my own.
Which was not a good idea.
You can’t rush God’s timing. You can’t stop it, slow it down or rush it.
It finally dawned on me that it was never about my job title, it was about me as a person. It was about my heart, my willingness to submit and allow God to use me where He has me.
This revelation has helped me tremendously in being content with the knowledge that He doesn’t care about our job title and so I shouldn’t either.
We still need to have character and do things with Godly character of course. But we need to stop dwelling on our lack, our wants and looking at the wrong things as a way to feel fulfilled.
I Wrote That Resignation Letter Blindly, But It Made Me See Clearly For the First Time.
When I wrote the letter, I was caught up in my feelings, my distaste and frustration with a lackluster job that had, in my opinion, no real purpose behind it.
Then over the course of the summer of 2012, my eyes were opened and God revealed the truth.
There is purpose in everything. He has us in specific places for His specific reasons.
It’s not about what we do. It’s who we are wherever he has placed us. Will we be thankful, kind and loving to those around us?
Or will we be ungrateful and chase after things for the wrong reasons?
Coming Full Circle With a New Perspective
I entered my boss’ office four months after I quit, and a week later I was back at my prep station, fruits and veggies on my cutting board, knife in hand, chopping away with gratitude.
Inevitably, I still wrestled with the life-long question of “what will I do with my life? What does God want me to do?” But this time, I was okay with being where he had put me.
There was more to me than prepping food. I wasn’t just a “salad girl.” I was His daughter, and I trusted His great plans for my life.
He told me You Are Not What You Do.
And now I’m passing that message on to you.
You are not what you do, friend. You are not a label or job title. You are a beating heart, and no matter what you want to do with your life, the kind of heart you have towards God and others is what matters above all else.