I celebrated three years in my freelance business last month. It’s been an amazing experience to find clients, do work for them, collect actual money from them, and then get repeat business and referrals. I NEVER dreamed of self-employment and assumed I’d always be an employee.
I bought into the idea that the only way to be safe was to have a steady paycheck, and the only way to guarantee a steady paycheck was to do what you were told and be a good girl.
I don’t have any resentment toward that idea, but it definitely stopped serving me at some point. Probably when I used either/or thinking to decide how involved I could be as a parent. I can either keep our family safe with a steady paycheck, or I can put our livelihood and stability at risk by becoming a stay-at-home mom.
Well, as the brilliant Indigo Girls sang, “I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it.” Anxiety, overwork, burnout, and grief over missing so much time with Will and Anna. And then I got laid off, and the illusion of safety was gone. Then I found MY path of freedom.
It’s a little dramatic, and I know I’m so very privileged to be able to work the way I want to work and meet my financial obligations. But I also know that Father Clay is right about how we can – how I sort of did – lose our inner selves. I was working so much and giving so much emotional capital to a job that didn’t love me back. My calendar did not match my values, and I felt massively out of alignment. The job got the best parts of me, and even that wasn’t really good enough. My kids got the less best parts of me, and that made me so sad.
Father Clay encourages us to put our full trust only in God. What does that mean? I think it means: I’m not sitting here waiting for God to serve up clients, but I do believe I have the tools to build my business, I do believe in my ability to generate enough income, and that I can tap into those tools if I open myself up to abundance and spirit, rather than putting energy into worry and fear.
The Indigo Girls, again: “The less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine.”
Letting go of the definitive has helped with the Pandemic, too. The best I can do is make the best decision I can with the information I have. Stay home, or stay outside. Then: get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated. Stay home if you’re sick. Be nice to teachers and other people. Breathe. And trust in my ability to handle the next pivot or variant.
The Path of Freedom
It is very difficult to handle the gift of freedom God has given us. Freedom requires trust, creativity and taking responsibility. We would much rather have the security of following someone or some institution that claims to have the truth. We then don’t have to think or take responsibility for our lives. We just obediently do what we are told. This gives us security, but in the process we lose our inner selves, our souls. It is the need for certain answers that draws us to political and religious leaders who claim to have the answers. It also keeps us from growing spiritually and becoming people of compassion.
I encourage us to take the path of freedom and compassion and put our full trust only in God. Please don’t do this because I say so. This will put you right back into the trap of security. We must look inside ourselves under the loving care of our God; we must become honest and real. We are called to be free people in the midst of our mistakes and sins.
Smile, God Loves You.
From “The Path of Freedom” in Dear People Whom God Loves by Father John Clay 1999