Two years ago I went through a major identity crisis.
I was finished with teaching;
I was exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. And I just couldn’t go on with it any longer. I felt like I didn’t have time or energy for my family, for my faith, for my husband, or for myself. I was stuck in a job that I didn’t want to do any more, but teaching had been my identity for so long that I felt as though if I changed my mind, I would be betraying myself.
How would I measure my worth if not by how well I do my job?
When my husband and I were finally able to make the change from me teaching full time to me staying home instead, I found that others struggled with my decision to stop teaching, even if they didn’t go outright and say it. It would be in the questions they asked, or in their reactions to my announcement.
So, what are you doing now?
have you tried teaching at different schools? They might be easier…
Hey! A friend of mine told me of a job opening…
All very innocent responses not meant to be hurtful, and honestly reading them back to myself it’s difficult for me to even see what the big deal was. I guess it was the way they may have said it, or how often they may have brought it up?
But it wasn’t only other people that struggled with it. I struggled too.
I took those reactions to my heart. I began thinking that I wasn’t worth as much because I didn’t have a time stamp to show my hours logged; that I didn’t qualify to ‘stay at home’ because I didn’t have children to raise.
But it really does say a lot about our culture and our need to make money in order to measure worth, even if it is subconsciously.
It really says “I don’t know how to identify your worth if you’re not making money.”
When someone would ask, “What are you doing now?”, I would respond with “I’m in charge of the ‘behind the scenes’, managing clients, marketing, web upkeep, etc blah blah blah.” Which is completely true,
but is only half the truth.
I tried to respond with what I thought they would value.
My husband was the first to catch my bad habit. He would ask me, “The business is only a small part of your day, why don’t you tell them all the other things you have going on?”
What I didn’t say was that I am enjoying my life. I am visiting with family. I am dating my husband again. I am spending more time at church. I am giving back. I am cooking (more). I am cleaning (more). I am doing the things that I wished I could do when I was spending all my time working for a paycheck.
I still get in that mindset from time to time, when I sit and wonder if I’m contributing enough.
But it always comes back to that idea of worth.
So if I were to write a letter to our daughters about worth, I would say:
You were born worthy. You are worthy of love, compassion, tenderness, and happiness. You were made to show that same love, compassion, tenderness, and happiness to others.
You were born with special talents. The only job you must have is to nurse those talents and share them with others, so that they may also nurse and share their talents. Your job is to help others; to let them know they are also worthy of love and happiness. And there are so many different ways you can do that.
What you earn does not determine your worth. Your education does not determine your worth. It is only in lifting others up that we are lifted up, only in giving that we receive, and only in showing grace that we truly appreciate the grace that we receive.
And you’re allowed to change your mind as often as you’d like, but always with those intentions in mind.
A single thread in a tapestry
though its color brightly shines
can never see its purpose
in the pattern of the grand design
And the stone that sits up on the very top
of the mountain’s mighty face
doesn’t think it’s more important
than the stones that forms the base
So how can you see what your life is worth
or where your value lies
you can never see through the eyes of man
you must look at your life
through heaven’s eyes
Linking up with Brooke! Check out the letters that others have linked up!