The Sabbatical is Over!

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This moment is so bittersweet.

I’ve come to the end of my sabbatical!

*sings “The Struggle is Over” by Jonathan Nelson*

On Monday, I’ll be starting a full-time job at a leading nonprofit organization in Baltimore City.

So many thoughts and feelings come to mind, but at the core of me, I’m abundantly grateful.

Grateful to have given myself the gift of time, something that people say you can’t get more of.

Well, I did.

I gave myself time and space to breathe. To heal.

Fourteen months to be exact.

 

I remember writing my post,“30 Days In,” and having that be such a big milestone.

And then continuing on to count out months three, four, five. Thinking it would be over soon.

Sharing with you how I took on a part-time job and considered my sabbatical to be over, and thus potentially the end of the blog as well.

And then realizing that I actually wasn’t ready for work yet, so I resumed resting and writing.

Feeling like a failure for not being able to keep that part-time job but learning how to give myself grace.

And when I was ready, I started making my own strides. Volunteering in the community, teaching workshops, networking.

JA girls

And it was as a result of those moves that I eventually met who I needed to meet.

The right door opened at the right time.

After about a dozen interviews. [I’ve never interviewed so much during a job transition! Never had so many rejections!]

But they all were faith-building exercises.

Even more so, they showed me what I didn’t like, what didn’t feel right.

I was on a mission to find the perfect fit.

And I really believe I found it. For me. Where I am right now.

 

I believe that “dream jobs” shift with different seasons in your life.

Your dream should mature, your vision should expand, as you age.

On Sunday, the sermon at church was about how Joseph’s dream—or his interpretation of that dream, rather— matured from when he was a 17-year-old boy to years later when he became in charge of Egypt. (See Genesis 37, Genesis 41).

He thought his dream signified that his brothers were going to bow down to him and worship him. In reality, what God was trying to show him in the dream was that he would be used as a resource to provide for his entire family. It was never about him!

So often we make ourselves the center of our dreams, and that’s where we get lost.

Anything done for the Lord is done for the kingdom of God. It’s not about us. It’s not about our gifts or talents. It’s not even about our stories.

I personally get so caught up sometimes in which particular story I’m going to share that I don’t end up writing anything at all!

This journey that I’ve been on the past 14 months covers about 4 main categories: my faith walk, my mental health journey, my financial stewardship process and my career transition.

At any given time, I could share a message about any of those topics and it would be valid because it’s my truth.

And so when I sit down to write, I try to figure out which of these topics is most pressing on my heart in the given moment.

It helps that I’ve separated different platforms and sites for different pieces of my story.

This blog was really about using my faith to help get me through my personal challenges as it relates to how I show up as a professional woman. (Which hits 3 of the 4 categories. See what I did there?)

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But, like I said, the whole point of this journey was not about my story or my life. I thought it was. I thought it was about self-exploration.

The more I tapped into myself, the more I realized how dependent I was upon God. I need Him to sustain every single breath. Mindfulness definitely helped highlight that to me.

And what God showed me was how inextricably linked I am to people. I cultivated a support network of about 50 people strong. That’s how much I needed help during this time.

These people prayed for me, listened to me vent, cried with me, cooked me meals, drove me places, gave me advice, financially supported me.

They helped me heal. They taught me that it was okay to be human. They helped nurse me back to life.

They helped me develop into a stronger, healthier version of myself.

And that is the work that I’m committed to doing here in Baltimore city and beyond.

thread offer letter snippet

I am pleased to announce that I’ve accepted a job at Thread as their Curriculum Development Manager.

“Thread believes – and urges others to believe – that empathetic and enduring relationships are our society’s most essential form of wealth. This conviction stems from the understanding that at some point in each of our lives we have all felt alone. For some, this sense of isolation is momentary; for others, it lasts a lifetime. However long it lasts, it leaves unfulfilled our very human need to connect with and matter to others. We experience the ‘poverty of isolation.’

Thread believes that, by cultivating relationships that transcend racial and socioeconomic barriers – and by creatively building unconventional families and communities not defined by DNA and addresses – we can overcome the poverty of isolation and, in its place, establish a wealth of human connection permanently linked by unconditional love and support.”

Did God Himself write this mission statement? I mean SERIOUSLY!

How ALIGNED!

How IN TUNE!

How DIVINE!

I did the work. I slaved and I fought and I cried.

And the work found me.

 

I want whoever has come across this blog to know that God indeed has a plan for you.

It is good, pleasing and PERFECT.

He knows what you need.

He knows where you need to go.

He knows who you need to be around.

 

Trust Him.

Just trust Him.

One foot in front of the other, it will get lighter.

It may not be easier, but it will be more manageable.

And that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn.

I’m still managing.

Sometimes the miracle is in new ways of managing, of coping.

We all will come across hard times in our lives.

I know now that I will never EVER have to do anything alone.

I’m not strong enough. No one is. We aren’t built to do life alone.

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Here’s a new revelation, though: THAT is my superpower. My vulnerability. My ability to lean on people. My humility in sharing the load.

The thing with the enemy is that he perverts what was good and makes it evil.

I was always a superwoman; I was just operating out of a place of insecurity and pride.

That’s never a good look.

Once we get rid of that syndrome, we can explore the true meaning of the word superwoman.

The Bible says that the same POWER that raised Christ from the dead is ALIVE in me!

I am POWERFUL.

I am ANOINTED.

I am CHOSEN.

 

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

 

Delight in weakness. Count it all joy. Set your mind on things above.

Ask for help. Receive help. Give help. Rinse and Repeat.

That is true strength. That is the only cycle I will identify with.

Until Next Time,

Jess

P.S. I made a YouTube video about this same topic. Check it out here!

6 thoughts on “The Sabbatical is Over!

  1. Yesss! This is so awesome! Congrats, Jess! Great way to kick off the New Year.

    On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 2:00 PM Slaying Superwoman Syndrome wrote:

    > Jessica Smith posted: ” This moment is so bittersweet. I’ve come to the > end of my sabbatical! On Monday, I’ll be starting a full-time job at a > leading nonprofit organization in Baltimore City. So many thoughts and > feelings come to mind, but at the core of me, I’m abundantly” >

    Like

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