Saturday, May 27, 2017

Identity Shift: Processing My Job Change

I've been a nanny for five years. In five days, I'll transition from "nanny" to "teacher" as I say goodbye to the kids I've grown so close to and go to Chicago for some ESL training before moving overseas. Up until this point, I've mostly held it together and haven't cried a whole lot. I know I'll see the kids again--I'll see them several times even between now and when I actually move in August. But, on Thursday, I'll say goodbye to my title as "nanny." And that's a hard transition to process. I'm not just saying goodbye to the kids. I'm saying bye to all the things that I get to do with them: hours of reading books, baking cookies, taking walks, playing at the pool. My new job will look completely different from my old job. And that's a good thing. I'm so excited for it. I love teaching and can't wait for that to get to be what I do everyday. But tonight, in this moment, I'm grieving the end of a chapter that I have loved so much.

I realized tonight that I most definitely placed a lot of my identity in being a nanny. When people would tell me I'm good with kids, I'd say, "Yeah, I'm a nanny so I spend lots of time with kids." Whenever someone asked what I do, I'd tell them I get to play with kids all day. I love, love, love being a babysitter/nanny. I've been so blessed to get to do a job that never really felt like a job for five years.

When God called me to serve in Hungary, I figured the hardest part would be leaving my family and friends. Moving to another continent is a big change! But, I've learned that the hardest part is the shift in my job title because I never realized how much of my identity I find in my job. I realize this isn't Biblical: my identity is in Christ, not my occupation. No matter what my job is, I'm always going to be a child of God. That won't change. Life circumstances change. Who I am in Christ doesn't. This is a truth that I've been reminding myself a lot of today. 

 I guess it's just that I've been a nanny for so long that it's hard to accept the transition that's coming. It's so crazy that the part I'm having the toughest time processing isn't the moving 5,000 miles from Tennessee but leaving one job I love for another job I love. It's most definitely a shift in how I define myself and that's why it's hitting me so hard. I believe that it's totally okay to grieve the end of a chapter in life in preparation for moving onto the next thing. In my case, God has called me to Europe to serve Hungarian students and I'm incredibly excited about the plan He has for my life. While I'm excited and eager to begin, tonight, that excitement is mixed with sadness and just a little bit of grief. I'm in that messy middle right now.

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