By: Jana Greene
Greetings from the State Capital! I am reporting from Raleigh today to share a story with you that is a little difficult to share and really quite embarrassing. But I feel transparency is important, so here it goes:
Several months ago, I made a decision to start a brand new career at 47 years of age. I didn’t think it would be too hard because I’ve kind of been doing aspects of this job for many years. It’s my passion and I badly want to succeed at it.
When I grow up, I want to be a Peer Support Specialist in the recovery field.
Yes, it’s a thing. But it’s a pretty new-ish thing. I did my research and signed up for the certification class. I tried to dot my ‘i’s, and cross my ‘t’s’. I wanted to make sure it was right. I arrived today (the first of five days) early and with sharpened pencils. I would have brought the instructor an apple, but I didn’t want to appear over-eager.
So imagine my surprise when, in the middle of the first day of training (yes, it took me half of a day), it dawned on me that I was sitting in THE WRONG CLASS. I had traveled half the state away and booked a hotel and spent gas money on a program to become a Recovery Coach – a noble aspiration, but not exactly what I thought I signed up for.
When the realization hit, I felt my face burn. And the barrage of self-shame was immediate.
You DUMBASS, me called me-self. How could you get this SO WRONG? Very quickly, things got dark in my head. This is why you are having a career crisis in mid-life. Get your SHIT TOGETHER, loser. You’re old, you’re not qualified. You can’t do anything right. You just really can’t. You never have and you never will. Well, that escalated quickly!
But then I did something crazy and deliberate. I caught myself and decided to treat myself the same way I’m always imploring others to treat themselves – grace-fully.
I’m here for a reason. I’ve already met incredible people who I can tell will become friends. I cannot spend a few hundred dollars and five days to launch a new career. It will take longer and be more difficult. But so what? God’s got a PLAN, MAN. Go with the flow already.
It wasn’t automatic, I had to deliberately derail the sneaky spiral of negative thoughts. THIS IS A BREAKTHROUGH.
As it turns out, I will need these credit hours to become certified anyway. I’m just doing things in reverse – not because I’m a dumbass who cannot do anything right, but because I’m a willing participant in whatever gig Abba has got going behind the scenes. It doesn’t have to look like my preconceived notions (and it’s usually better it doesn’t.) My very kind instructor and awesome classmates (some of which made the very same mistake) all rallied around and noshed on the process.
“Is it a big deal I didn’t take ‘x’ class before ‘y’ class?” I asked.
“Oh, you couldn’t have signed up for ‘x’ class anyway before now,” the instructor informed us. “The state suspended the training. They’ve only just now re-instated it.”
Shortly after this episode, I private-messaged one of my best girlfriends. She is this fabulous, wild, creative, loving tour de force for the Father, and a safe place for me to fall on more than one occasion. She had very recently schooled me on taking every thought captive.
Me: I screwed up, but I’m not going to stay there because I’m here for whatever reason and have learned tons and met incredible people already…Here for a reason!
My sweet friend: I am so proud of that much progress in giving yourself GRACE! !! (God) allows us to make this sort of mistake so we learn to apply grace liberally and immediately!
Yes! of COURSE! Instructions for grace: Apply liberally and immediately. I LOVE that.
Be tender and gentle with yourself.
Don’t call yourself any name that you wouldn’t call a hurting friend to her face.
I’m allowed to make mistakes, and so are you.
I’m starting a brand new career at 47 years of age, and that’s kind of a brave thing to do. It’s my passion, and I will (God willing) succeed at it. It may take longer and be more difficult, but all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.
Your thing? It’s brave, too. Do the thing. So what if it doesn’t go off without a hitch. You’re DOING it!
Do something crazy and deliberate. Be passionate.
And when you mess up? Apply grace liberally, and with the same zeal you grant it to others.
You’re worthy of that grace.
Yes, you are.