Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Wrong Ladder

I pulled into my parking spot in front of our house and glanced at the clock again.  9:30.  The past few shifts had been like this.  I stayed late to finish up charting, made sure all of my work e-mails got sent, and packed up to go home.  I sat in my car and looked at our house.  The light was on in the kitchen and I could see my husband doing dishes.  My heart ached looking at him, and I realized that I missed him.  Though I was sleeping beside him every night and sharing a quick hug and kiss to say hello and goodbye, I missed spending time with him, laughing with him, being goofy with him.  I barely knew what was going on in his world because I was so consumed with my own.

I didn't sign up for a job with a lot of overtime or long hours away from home.  The job I was supposed to be working was a 36-hour a week job that came with rotating weekends, occasional holidays, and a little paid time off.  The thing about being young, competent at your job, and a major yes person is that you get swallowed up in the opportunities that are given to you to do more, and eventually you're this monster who knows a whole lot, possesses a lot of skills that other people don't have, and who is a "go to" person for those who are still learning.  I'm not the most knowledgeable or known for any particular skill, but I read a lot of policies and attended all of these trainings and made myself into this being that possessed many different skills and so much information about so many different processes.  

I wanted to blame other people.  I wanted to blame the people who offered me these opportunities, who required them or recommended them or who told me I might be good at it if I tried it.  But I always had a choice, and I kept saying yes to all of the things that led me to where I am right now.  I'm not in the throes of corporate America with overwhelming pressure to perform or ridiculous incentives dangling in front of me.  I'm a nurse, and I take care of people when they're sick.  I start IVs and put in feeding tubes and administer life-saving medications.  I put bandaids on people and send them right back home to their loved ones.  I hold hands of dying patients and carefully lay their bodies to rest when they've breathed their last breath, and I tearfully hug their families and pray for them as they head back to an empty house that's missing someone they loved dearly.  So how did I end up here?

I said yes too many times and never once said no, for fear of disappointing someone.  Each yes was a new rung on the ladder-- the ladder I was climbing with no end in sight.  I kept looking up and seeing another rung to hold onto, and I grabbed it.  And it's only in the past few months that I've realized that this ladder isn't going where I want it to go.  I've gotten on the wrong ladder and need to get off-- this isn't the rooftop I was trying to climb to.  And truthfully-- what am I doing on any ladder at all? I'm scared of heights and have terrible balance and proprioception-- all this will do is land me flat on my back after missing a step or taking too any at one time.  

So what was there to do?  I couldn't just jump off, I was way too high up.  So I started taking it one rung at a time, giving things back that didn't belong to me. Responsibilities and knowledge and training and extra things that had been offered to me, all of it went back.  I knew if I gave it all up at one time, it'd leave me feeling just as out of control as when I had it all.  So I've been giving things back piece by piece, and this week I gave the final piece away.  

I was clinging onto an identity that wasn't mine.  I was trying to be what I was told I'd be good at, but it didn't feel right and didn't fit with who I was.  This year has been scary and humbling, and I'm just now realizing how much I had to be broken before I could start being fixed.  I had to trust that God would provide for me in the most glorious ways, even when I was being broken and humbled.  

I'm thankful that Scott was bold in approaching me months ago about my work habits and how it was affecting my home life.  I'm thankful that God gave me strength to loosen my grip on this fake identity and to start to reclaim who I really am.  And I'm hopeful that He is making me new.  Here's my advice to you, friends.  Don't be afraid to get off of the ladder you're on if it isn't the right one for you.  It's not worth the time and stress and angst, and it's not worth missing the life in front of you to chase something that was never meant to be your's.  



  1. Such God given wisdom well advance of your years. What a treasure!

  2. Sweet, C! This makes me happy to read. For YOU. You deserve so much love and rest and I've certainly seen you worn down by all that you give and do for others. I know this is just a new direction of loving yourself to better love others. I pray you find new energy in a new ladder of rest. You are so genuine and lovely and God is so proud of you. I know he is. Please keep posting so we can follow along. LOVE YOU. xo, S.