Going the Wrong Way For the Right Reason

It happened so quickly that I hardly had time to think about it.

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My 18-year-old self was riding up a skiing chairlift with a friend, getting ready to disembark. I have always been uneasy with the disembarking process. Okay, let’s be honest: I have always been uneasy on chairlifts in general. I hate heights, and the process of getting off a chairlift and landing on my feet and then smoothly sailing away on skis was not something that came naturally to me. However, I had developed a system that seemed to compensate for my lack of height and athletic prowess: wiggle toward the front of the seat, hold the poles out, ready to steady myself, and then I could usually get off the chairlift without too much embarrassment.

This time, though, as I wiggled my way forward in those final moments before getting off, I made a horrifying realization: my pants were snagged on the chairlift’s wooden seat. My hands were full – I couldn’t reach under to unsnag myself. All I had time to do was squeak a quick “I’m stuck!” to my friend, and then away I sailed…down the chairlift.

Have you ever ridden down a chairlift? It’s quite an experience. I was the subject of a plethora of staring skiers who were doing the proper thing and riding UP the chairlift, rather than down. Everyone who was going in the right direction was most likely silently questioning my situation. Did she chicken out? Was the run too much for her? Is she lost? I was the only person going in the wrong direction, and I was the only one who knew why. 

I had two choices in that moment. I could avert my eyes and pretend that I wasn’t there, or I could embrace the experience and own my ridiculous predicament. I chose to own my predicament and rode down that chairlift, smiling and giving friends and strangers my best beauty queen wave. 

Lately, I have been feeling a lot like that 18-year-old girl riding down the chairlift. All I have to do is spend a few minutes on social media to see friends and colleagues growing their careers – climbing the corporate ladder, starting their own business, or relaunching their career after being at home for several years. It’s the stage we’re at in our late 30s and early 40s. 

Except me.

I just quit my job.

That piddly, six hour per week position that brought in a meager flow of fun money or made the orthodontic payments? It was too much. Doesn’t that sound absolutely ridiculous? I’m at a stage in life where I have two teenagers who are gaining independence, and that should be freeing me up to reestablish my career, right?

Honestly, my pride is having a hard time embracing this change. There was a good bit of my identity wrapped up in the fact that I could tell people that I had a job, meager as it was. And again, just like that 18-year-old girl, I have two choices. 

I can be embarrassed by the fact that I am, at age 40, “just” a stay at home mom again. (Oh, don’t get me started on that, or this post will never end!) 

My other option is to embrace this season as a gift. God has made it undeniably clear that His purpose is for me to be home during this season. I get to be home with my teenagers during these few fleeting years before they head out on their own. I get to spend more time writing. I get to spend more time honing in on becoming the person He wants me to be.

It’s the exact opposite of what seemingly everyone else is doing at this stage in life. They are all following God’s lead to ride up the chairlift and build their careers. As for me? You’ll find me riding down the career-bound chairlift, practicing my best beauty queen wave along the way. I know why I’m on this ride and Who is in charge, and I will rest in that. 

 

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