I can’t park here any longer.
It would be nice to stay put.
To not move, to not try.
Or to try slow
and quit if it gets tough.
But that will not be possible.
For there’s a sign, you see, and I must move on.
Life’s “No Overnight Parking” Zone
Just when I want to idle in place, life is thrusting me out into traffic.
My own No Overnight Parking zone lies at the corner of Old Job Avenue and New Venture Street. The day my last homeschooled child graduates, I’m out of a job. My work here is done. Time to move on to career #2: freelance writing.
It sounds so easy.
So why is moving on so hard?
The Temptation to Stay Parked
I’ve generated whole lists of reasons to remain in place. They sift down to just four:
- I like it here. (Complacency)
- I would have to shift gears. (Grief)
- I don’t have a map. (Fear)
- I may run out of gas. (Limitations)
Complacency Meets Its Match
Complacency stops working when a parking ticket costs too much. Like a police officer strolling up to my car, ticket book in hand, financial necessity propels me out of the parking lot, into the workforce. I simply cannot afford not to move.
But necessity is not complacency’s only enemy. Another is “calling.” I have seen a need and I feel called to meet it. I see people who need someone to write well for them. To tell their story, or their company’s story, or their cause’s story. I love to write stories. I want to help.
So good-bye, complacency. For after all,
Grieve and Go On
Daring is all well and good, but I won’t lie: I cried the day I threw out my children’s old homeschool papers. Only I (and God) know all they represented to me. That day, sixteen years of work simply vanished. Everything I once created now resides in my children’s adult heads and hearts. Invisible. Melded into all they are, in such a way that its origins can never be traced back to me.
I am left empty-handed. (Though not empty-hearted. So do I really need a monument?)
Grief eases as I fill my hands with my next work. New dreams sprout where the last ones have been harvested. Moving on is beginning.
Fear, as I’ve mentioned before, hangs on longer than complacency or grief. Fear sometimes seems so reasonable.
I fear making mistakes. Public ones. (Like the day I finally mustered the courage to create a LinkedIn account, and accidentally sent “Connect” invitations to everyone I’ve ever emailed in my entire life. Now that was an auspicious beginning.)
I fear hanging up my shiny new shingle amid great fanfare, and hearing . . . crickets.
I fear launching this long-held dream only to find it’s a delusion. I fear failing.
But what if I never try?
So I am facing fear down. Learning—via podcasts, webinars, ebooks and (gasp) print books–is eliminating the unknowns. Joining the online conversations of established freelancers dispels some of my what-if’s.
And clinging to the promises of God like Daniel 10:9 sets me on a bedrock quite independent from myself.
The Humility of Limitations
I need a bedrock, don’t you? Because no matter how much brash boldness I may cook up, I know I actually have only 5 loaves and 2 fish to offer a hungry multitude.
In the parking lot metaphor, I clearly see that others drive newer models with many more gadgets and gizmos. And they drive faster. Yes, I see that. But I don’t focus on that.
Accurate self-assessment may turn out to be my harbinger of success. I hope I will always have to take a deep breath each time I lay my offerings before potential clients, knowing that only God can make them truly sufficient.
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
Complacency, grief, fear, limitations . . . You and I don’t need to let them keep us parked.
Others have overcome them, and so can we.
That’s why I’ve told some of their stories here—because we need to keep hearing that it’s possible not to park overnight. Think of Jola Johnson and Jeremy Courtney who fought complacency with a clear sense of calling to serve people–even when they couldn’t begin to see how it would happen. Fear didn’t keep Dori and Hae Woo from finding in Jesus the answer to their deepest needs. And Hannah Dean and Jon and Adie Leedahl didn’t let their setbacks become permanent limitations. They didn’t park. (In fact, Jon and Adie just went back to Papa New Guinea this month, prosthesis and all.)
Let’s be like them. Moving forward, out into traffic. Where life is.
Share about your own experience fighting the temptation to just stay parked.
What helped you move on?