Tuesday, March 9, 2010


"It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now"

Everything seems worse in the middle of the night. During the day we are busy with our routines and responsibilities and the sometimes overwhelming details of our lives get drowned out by our adrenaline charged activities. The problems are there but they seem manageable or we can push them to the back of our minds. But in the middle of the night it is quiet and there is nothing to distract us from seeing the magnitude of the situations we are facing; we are worn out and don't have any energy left for solving problems. Everything is out of proportion and discouragement looms over us like a dark cloud. Lady Antebellum's song "I Need You Now" is referring to a romantic relationship, but that's not what I hear - when the stresses of life keep me awake and threaten to overwhelm me with despair only turning to God can give me comfort and perspective. When we read or remember the strong and timeless promises in the Bible we can see the bigger picture and trust that God has an ultimate plan for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Trust, that's really the key, and it's not easy!

It's human nature to want to control and plan every detail of our lives, it seems like the only responsible way to live. If we work hard enough this works pretty well most of the time, but then we somehow end up in a situation that is completely out of our control. Sometimes there is just no good solution to a problem, no obvious direction to go in, and every decision seems like the wrong one. We can expend a lot of energy struggling to regain control or we can take a step back, "let go and let God". We can't always see beyond the next step so we just have to pray, trust God's guidance, and step into the unknown. This reminds me of the Four Spiritual Laws that I learned as a child - we were supposed to learn them so we could easily witness to non-Christians and would always know the right thing to say. At one point I knew them all (though I don't ever remember using them to witness in any way) but now I only remember the first one: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That is a pretty powerful statement to base your life on! He has a plan - it's not all up to us! So those overwhelming problems that we just can't figure out how to solve - hand them over to God and wait for guidance because his plans are so much better than we can ever imagine. It will take patience and it will take trust, but in the end it is the better way and often the only way. And that despair that threatens to overwhelm us? Gone!

Monday, March 8, 2010


How did I get here? I'm in way over my head and I'm floundering. A year ago I was in a comfortable routine of work and home. I love my family and my church, but with three kids and a husband busy with an active church life could be chaotic! My job at the library was a welcome haven for me. I was confident in my abilities and loved the challenges of the reference desk and developing and maintaining my collections. The library was well run, the bar was set high for quality service and productivity, and my colleagues were responsible, competent, friendly, and fun-loving. I really couldn't have asked for a better work environment! And then we moved.

As I slowly eased myself out of my job, distributing my duties to various staff, I kept feeling like I was erasing myself from the library. Little by little I removed myself until I was gone. I told myself that surely I would be able to find a library job in our new rural home, but after nine months of job hunting nothing has turned up. And I feel lost. Every professional possibility that has appeared has been completely out of my comfort zone, and even those opportunities have been few and far between. So I'm contemplating applying to be an adjunct professor of Library Science at a nearby college. But every time I come close to applying I think "you haven't been in an academic setting in 25 years" and "what makes you think you can teach?" and "what about all the new databases you've never used?" Paralysis sets in and I don't call. Where did that confident professional go?

I'm volunteering at the local public library because I can't stay away from libraries - I love it so much I will work for free! Then the director suggested that I work on a grant proposal to update the health resources - great, I can do that, it's something I can really sink my teeth into! We met with a few community leaders and suddenly the project becomes about teaching youth how to evaluate the collection and choose new material - what the heck? This new direction makes no sense to me and I really don't want to work with a bunch of kids (not my strength). The director is vague on how to carry this out but keeps adding new people to the mix. Since when is collection development a group activity? But by now I am in too deep and I am committed (I should be committed!) So I am in way over my head. Where is my beloved career and my confidence? Gone. And there is a huge void. And I don't want to get up in the morning.

(Part 2 will be about how to snap out of it and trust God)