Monday, August 13, 2012

the bachelorette and why I quit my job: part i.

{photo by Ben Evans}

Only I could watch The Bachelorette and have an existential crisis.

This summer, after weeks of watching Emily Maynard try to find true love on television, I discovered with horror I had actually begun to care about her story.

For years, I've watched The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (but never Bachelor Pad -- even I have my standards) under the guise that sure, it's meaningless television, but it also provides endless fodder for water cooler conversations and sarcastic quips at the TV screen. I even got my cousins hooked, inviting them over to participate in this weekly ritual: watch the show, make fun of the show, turn off the show, discuss why these dating principles never work in real life. It's educational, really.

This time, though, I found myself rolling my eyes less. (They still rolled, just less.) I cared a little bit more. And the entire span of the show, I was rooting for one guy: Jef with one F.

Jef rode in on a skateboard, which was way cooler than the helicopter some other guy flew in on. He was low-key and confident; he talked about his family, asked serious questions, and just generally appeared -- how do I put this? -- far too normal to be on the show.

Really, though, I was most intrigued by Jef's work as co-founder of People Water, a bottled water company which donates its proceeds to well-building projects in third world countries.

I'd watch each week and wonder: How does this 27-year-old guy get to live his dream job every day?

This was before I knew he was a millionaire, but still. It got me thinking.

What kind of story am I living?

I'm okay with working behind a desk every day. I'm okay with it because I believe my work is valued and important. I contribute to my family's financial needs, and my income helps me and my husband give freely and generously to causes we care about.

I'm okay with working behind a desk every day as long as I'm still living out my calling as an adventurer in other ways.

And somewhere along the line, I stopped doing that.

I quit working with the teens at church. I'm not traveling as much. I've become more withdrawn and quiet and, yes, a little bit confused, because I liked my job, took pride in it, but I wasn't sure how much longer I could work there and be content and fulfilled. I wasn't sure, either, what the next step would be for a journalism major in an increasingly (entirely?) electronic world.

Three weeks ago, Jordan and I went out to dinner to celebrate the successes he's experienced recently with his own job, and after listening to his good news, I teared up. My husband was talking about his job in ways I really wasn't talking about mine anymore. I'd become stagnant and frustrated and discontent, and it had happened without me even knowing.

I know I'm not a millionaire. I know, logistically, I can't start a bottled water company or drop everything and move to Africa.

But I can teach children about Jesus. I can travel and give my money to important causes. I can get rid of excess and live on less. I can take a few days off work and go to Venezuela. I can love the homeless and the hurting. I can pursue my passions and take leaps of faith.

Three weeks ago, Jordan and I prayed I would begin to find fulfillment wherever it had been hiding. We prayed for contentment and for new opportunities of all shapes and sizes.

We prayed, and He answered in ways I never could have imagined.


Rachel Reeves said...


Love you, Annie.

brie. said...

i think this just might be what i needed to read today...

Erin said...

You are brave brave brave.
I can't wait to hear the rest of this story.
I am so consistently amazed at how God provides opportunities I never imagined when I step into scary territory.

Faith said...

Annie, I cannot wait to read the rest of your story! I am in a similar situation, working a desk job that pays well but does little to stimulate and challenge my mind. I often wonder what I would be doing with my time, otherwise...

Leslie said...

what *sweet* news!! so happy for you, friend! yay for answered prayers.

Kara Gehret said...

Such a cliff hanger. I NEED PART TWO!

Maggie said...

This is a great post. You and I are so different, yet I always enjoy reading your writing, and I'm happy that you've found new inspiration.

"I discovered with horror I had actually begun to care about her story." That's good stuff right there.

Melanie said...

annie. i don't know you but i feel like i do. you are my new hero!

jenna said...

Right here.
Yes, you.
I love reading the words you write that so beautifully capture who God has created you to be and how you are journeying with Him to live it out.
It inspires me and stirs me.

Amanda Allen said...

Yay, you! I quit a few weeks ago, so I completely, totally understand what you feel like. I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Chantel Klassen said...

Mmm, I love reading stories about how God is working in people's lives. I can't wait to read the rest of yours!

Sabrina said...

Just like the Hunger Games, you leave us hanging, waiting for the next chapter! Whatever it is though, I am glad you are happy:)

Jenny said...

I can't wait to hear the rest! So glad you aren't settling.
p.s.: Totally love Jef too!

Senja said...

annie, this is so inspiring. i am suuper happy for you :) sounds perfect for you!!