Life in Limbo

This post is by one of my favorite people in the entire world, by a long shot. We have walked an amazing journey together, searching for JOY and gratitude all over the world. She helps me dream, and bring these dreams to reality. This blog, and I as a person, would be way less cool without her. She now has a full-time job teaching high school math (which you will learn is a pretty great answer to prayer!) and here you get to read Caitlin’s honest heart-thougths about transition and change.

I’m not the sort of person who doesn’t have a plan, and I’m definitely not the kind of person who says, “well, I guess we will just see what happens.”  As much as I like some spontaneity in life, my much more logical side says you need a plan and steps to follow – that’s what will make you successful. 
But, in May 2013 I was a girl without a plan. If you would have asked me what I was going to do in the fall I would have said any of the following phrases…”oh I don’t know I’m still figuring it out”  “well, I think I’m going to move home and maybe look for a job”  “I can’t teach in Colorado yet because of paperwork so I’ve got to get all that figured out”  “I’m still waiting for God to give me guidance”  And you know what? For the most part those would have been partial truths I was telling myself and others.  In reality I was terrified.  I was a girl without a job, and not a whole lot of desire to have one either.  I had a college degree and no idea what to do with it.  Sure I looked at a lot of jobs and said, “well I could apply for that but I’m probably not qualified, and that application is too much work, and I’m afraid of rejection.”  After working for the summer in Appalachia I packed up some of my life and moved back in with my parents.  I continued to avoid all questions of life plans and decided to just find some things I might enjoy doing.
In November I took a mini vacation to Michigan. While I was on the plane a nice gentleman sitting next to me asked, “so what do you do?”  I tried to not scare him or anyone around me with my deer in the headlights look as I thought to myself, how can I possibly answer his question?  No longer could I say I’m a college student, or I’m in band, or I do this and that.  My new identity was no longer wrapped up in what campus activities I was a part of or what I was studying. 
Reaction: Yikes. Who am I? 
I was pretty sure he didn’t really care to hear about the multitude of jobs I was dabbling in (babysitting, tutoring, toy store working, dog sitting).  And I was even more sure he wasn’t looking for a not so quick journey into my life story of who I am as a person. 
Realization:  I don’t really know who I am. 
If you think that in the next few paragraphs we will wrap this up nice and neat with a bow feel free to stop reading; I still don’t have a very solid answer to this question and I’m not really sure I ever will.
In this year of transition and messiness I experienced the thrill of the unknown.  If I hadn’t taken time to embrace my lack of plan I would have missed a lot of opportunities. 
I wouldn’t have watched sweet babies grow into toddlers bursting with personality and curiosity.
I wouldn’t have learned the names of all 32 teams in the NFL.
I wouldn’t have been a part of a sweet family’s journey to the Super Bowl.
I wouldn’t be able to wrap presents with curly bows in under 3 minutes.
I wouldn’t have rediscovered the beauty of Colorado.
I wouldn’t have spontaneously taken a trip across the country to see old friends.
I wouldn’t have shared my love of Colorado with many friends.
I wouldn’t have taken a substitute job I wasn’t confident about.
I also wouldn’t have experienced loneliness, challenges, joy, and so much more as I lived in limbo.  One of the biggest realizations I found myself coming to was that even with all of those jobs I was trying and experiences I was having, they still couldn’t really explain my identity.  In fact for the most part they were just things about me or things that I enjoyed doing.  But so often I find myself trying to fit into a mold of an identity that the world has created.  I think that the world has a mold for Christians and College graduates but I never quite live up to those expectations.  I constantly debate with myself if what I’m doing is good enough or if I’m really following God’s plan for my life. 

As I reflect on the last year I find myself smiling and my heart happy for the relationships I’ve strengthened and the chance to live life not following an ever growing to do list.  As I fly home from Michigan today I think to myself that when the nice man on the plane asks what I do I can smile and say, “oh I teach high school math.”  But I almost cringe at the fact that it puts a label on me.  I’d like to say instead I’m a joy-seeker and a lover of adventure, and most importantly a sweet, unique daughter of God just doing her best to discover what it means to live this messy life.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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