Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Remembering 2010

Wow. The beginning of a new year, a fresh look at things, a chance to forget the worries that lie behind and press on.

This time last year I was about to start a 4 week long teaching placement. I had just met up with my ex for the first time since the previous May. That renewed contact got me through the 2 weeks of the placement that I struggled through. It was hell. A week and a half into it I started getting panic attacks, I couldn't manage my classes and I was hating the placement. I took Thursday and Friday off and tried to rest for the weekend. I couldn't sleep on Sunday night and I was getting more and more anxious and upset. I rang Ollie. He calmed me down and I decided to pull out of the placement. It was not worth messing up my mental health over it. I visited my GP and decided to go on a low dose of anti-anxiety tablets. Now, a year later, I've decided it's time to wean myself off them.

In June, I had a breakthrough. After dropping a friend off at work one day I felt like a hot fudge sundae. As I was waiting in the queue I noticed a poster that said the restaurant chain was looking for employees. I noted the website. I applied for a job in 2 local branches. Both applications were declined. Unperturbed and sure that the prompting was from God (I'd been unemployed for a while and too afraid of rejection to seek work) I applied to a third branch. This one was 10 miles from home and I'd never visited it. Ollie and I had started seeing each other again and he came down to meet my family. While we were chatting in the dining room before going for a walk I got a phone call from the manager of the restaurant asking me to come in for an interview the next morning. I couldn't believe it! Ollie and I drove over early the next morning- we were gobsmacked. It was the nicest branch of this restaurant I had ever seen. It had a cafe attached and we drank tea and coffee before the interview. The interview went well and then the manager asked me a question: "If I ask you a question will you please answer it honestly? It will not affect your chances of getting the job." I got nervous. What on earth was she going to ask me? "The job advert was for a crew position but if I offered you work as a hostess would you accept it?" She continued by explaining that I would be responsible for a team that would clean the lobby and for looking after the customers. I replied in the affirmative.

A couple of weeks later I was working as a hostess. Over the next few months I learned how to use the till, work in the drive-thru and most recently, work in the cafe all by myself. I have been given opportunities to prove myself, taken them and been rewarded with positions of higher responsibility.

In September, I repeated my teaching placement in the same school I was in in January. I still hated it but by the grace of God I got through it. I will never set foot in a secondary school classroom again and that's ok.

I must note at this stage what a miracle all of this is. In early January 2010 I sat beside Ollie in his mother's sitting room crippled with fear. We started on a journey of discovering who we are in Christ and putting aside our fear. God led us through scriptures that affirmed who we are in Christ. Gal 2:20, Col 3:8-17 and Eph 6:10-18 were 3 that helped me settle into work. I repeated them to myself in the car journey over. I'm so thankful for Ollie's support during this time, I needed to lean on him and he was there. To date, I've been able to hold down a full time job and Ollie has been sober for 14 months- praise Jesus for His healing touch! This year I've come to see how dependent I am on Him. I don't feel weak or stupid admitting that, I feel relieved. I don't have to live this life on my own strength, Jesus is in me, the hope of glory and He lives in me, through me. :)

I still struggle with feelings of fear and inadequacy, but now I feel better equipped to deal with them. Life is not perfect, but I know that I can settle in the knowledge that God is in control, that His plans for me are good and He will bring them to pass.

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