Sunday, May 31, 2015
New Disease. New Job. New Perspective.
I know the standard answer when someone asks you, "What's new?" is to say, "Not much," but I just couldn't give this answer honestly. Everything is new with me, which is a pretty fun spot to be in.
I've started a new job! Gabe hurt his back at work about a year and a half ago, and hasn't been able to work full time since. He had surgery last year, and is about to have another round of it. I've been working from home as a content writer for years, and lately I've been wondering if I should go back full time to ease some of our family's financial stresses. I always come down to the answer that my kids are too little for me to leave them that much, and we just keep struggling on. Then, a miracle happened.
In February, the company I do most of my writing for called to say they had hired an in-house writer, and that February would be my last month with them. I was feeling mildly panicked when, two hours later, the host of one of the shows that I write for on ABC4 Utah called and said he'd recommended me for a new job at the station. An hour later, the Station Manager called and asked if I could come in the next morning for an interview, and I said yes.
I went to my interview dressed for success, but expecting to turn the position down because I can't leave my kids all day every day. To my surprise, the team of 4 men who I met with all agreed with my priorities and demands on the spot. I told them I need to work from home. They said okay. I told them I can only put in about 6 hours a day. They said okay. I told them my family needs to come first, and my job second. They said okay. How could I refuse?
So, for the last three months I have been working as an Account Executive for Tactive Digital, which is Nexstar Broadcasting's new digital marketing agency. I go out on sales calls, hold training sessions for our sales team, email Corporate, work on creative workflow, write content in a pinch, and help businesses of all sizes figure out how to incorporate digital marketing into their plans for growth. The best part is that I get to do the majority of this with Ruby on my lap, and sometimes Livvy too (when she'll hold still for a minute).
I haven't been feeling very well since I had Ruby, and it's just gotten progressively worse. I'm so tired and I have trouble concentrating. About a year ago I started seeing a doctor about it, and they started running some tests to figure things out. Long story short, it turns out I have an autoimmune disorder called RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). This disorder causes your immune system to attack your joints. You can see the full range of symptoms here, but suffice it to say that I haven't been feeling very well.
I heard from the Dr. about two days after Nexstar offered me my new job. She told me that RA is a disease that comes and goes, and that I'm in the middle of a pretty bad flare-up. She said that stress exacerbates my condition, and that I need to try and be as calm as I can in order to get the disorder to go into a more remissive state. I was very worried about how I could manage a new job, and take good care of my body, but I also knew that I needed to help take care of my family.
Feeling a little bit at the end of my rope, I asked my mom's husband to give me a Priesthood blessing. The first thing that my blessing said was that I can move forward in my life confidently, and that as long as I do my best at work, I'll find that I'm very lucky. I decided to stop worrying, and just take things one day at a time.
When ABC called to offer me this job, it was a turning point for me. I suddenly knew that Heavenly Father was aware of my specific needs, and that He was listening to my prayers. I could feel that this wasn't a coincidence. When I saw the Dr. a few days later, she gave me an anti-inflammatory to take at bedtime, and I got my first good night of rest in several years. When I woke up in the morning, I could again feel how much Heavenly Father loves me, and I knew that He was going to be with me all day long. The thought of Peter came into my mind, and it's been there ever since.
Peter was one of Christ's apostles, and to me it sounds like he was His best friend. Peter wasn't always sure about what he should do, but he always trusted Christ, and things turned out okay.
One evening, the Apostles, who were mostly fishermen, announced to Christ that they were headed out to go fishing. He told them to go ahead, and that He would meet them on the opposite shore. They left, but soon found themselves in the midst of a tumultuous storm. Just as they began to think that their small ship might sink, they looked over the bow, and saw Christ walking on the water towards them. They were all stunned into silence, except Peter. He only wanted to be closer to the Lord. He asked Christ if he could come out to Him, and Christ beckoned him forward. Peter walked on the water to Christ as the storm raged on. Just before Peter reached the Savior, he turned his attention toward the storm, and began to sink. Christ took his hand and pulled him up, reminding him that only his own doubt could have prevented him from reaching the Savior. (Mathew 14)
When I read this story around the time that all of these changes were occurring, I was struck with the realization that Christ didn't calm the storm when Peter stepped off the boat. He allowed the waves to crash and the winds to blow, but he also provided Peter with safety as long as he focused on the Savior. I know that life is always going to be hard, and I know that managing everything at once will often be outside of my scope of capabilities. I know that if I focus on the storms of life, I will sink into a sea of frustration and fatigue. I also know, based on my recent personal experiences, that if I turn my focus towards the Savior, I can pass through life's storms calmly and safely.
So, what does focusing on the Savior look like for me? It means that I ask for his comfort and advice in all things. I usually try to handle problems all on my own, and only ask for help when I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm trying to be more proactive, and ask for help from Heavenly Father and Jesus right from the start. They always have great ideas about how I can handle a situation calmly and happily.
Focusing on the Savior means that I don't allow stress or frustration to mount. When I feel those pangs of anxiety, I make a conscious effort to give them over to the Savior. This means that I stop what I'm doing, say a prayer, and ask Christ to give me peace. Nothing about my situation changes, but my feelings of frustration are replaced with optimism and patience.
Focusing on the Savior means that I accept my limitations. I can't be everything on my own, but with Him, I can be whole. If I need to take a nap in the afternoon, that's okay. Christ and I can catch up later, and end the day on a high note when my body is rested.
I'm not perfect at practicing this principle, and to be honest, there are still many days where the storm gets the best of me. But, I'm getting better at focusing on Christ, and consulting Him before I try to tackle a problem. It's helping a lot, and I know I'll enjoy increased peace as I hone this skill. Do any of you who are better at this than I am have any tips for me?