I’ve always loved the early morning. Like way before you can see hints of pink and orange gracefully stretch out and scatter across the horizon. I love the darkness. I love the quiet at home, save for strange noises like the sputters of the hot water heater and the squeaks from ancient floorboards.
Seems like my mornings these days are a much different picture than a few months ago—when by 4am, I was furiously writing, meeting deadlines, and crossing off my to-do’s with tremendous satisfaction, before my one year old would wake and we’d start our day. I was good. Efficient. Productive. Eager to tackle the next project that rolled around the corner. I was a go-get-em tiger. And I loved the back pats of approval and admiration from others. A beast, one client called me. Made me smile and proud. I felt worthy. Of what? I don’t know.
And then I got tired. And pregnant again. Or maybe the pregnant came first. Then the tired (and the sick and the migraines).
One thing was certain. It was time to be realistic in what I could handle. It was time for change. Time to reshift my priorities. Refocus my energies. Reconsider boundaries. And the god awful inevitable—the saying no part.
I tried to convince myself I could juggle two or three books and plan on working here and there during my second baby’s first few weeks. Deep down, I knew I was just desperate to hold on to the familiar. Or mostly, potential opportunities.
I didn’t want to say no. But I had to. I had to be sensitive to timelines and not dive into anything that would carry me into giving birth and the time I plan to take off afterward.
I told my agent this and passionately plead my case. “Give me projects,” I said. “But just not too many.” “I want to work, just not as much.” The more I babbled, the louder I heard, not my actual words, but conditions. Impossible demands. A lack of drive.
She’s sweet and understood. “Don’t worry,” she assured. “There will always be work.”
My inner critic spoke louder than her sincerity.
Whenever the word “no” comes out of my mouth, I cringe. And groan like a ten-year-old boy whose mother makes him kiss his old aunt who smells like Bengay and sports a five o’clock shadow.
I don’t hear my transition as reasonable, seasonal, and practical. I hear accusations that I’m lazy, a wimp, and can’t handle pressure.
“No more work for you.”
“Who will hire you if you take time off?”
“You’ll miss out on opportunities you can never get back.”
What really got the tears flowing yesterday was one fear in particular. It was quiet, a faint whisper I had to strain to hear. But once I did, it threw me off balance. Left me questioning. Wondering. Spinning out of a control I never had to begin with.
“You’ll be forgotten.”
Truth is, I don’t want to be forgotten. A part of me wants to white knuckle grab of hold of things that really just give me cheap gold stars, or compliments that fade into the distance as fast as they’re heard, or a “well done grasshopper” accolade from my agent.
And yet, I’m walking into a new season—a good one—with a different stride, a slower pace. Yes, adjustments are required. And some things will require me passing the baton and accepting a new one. And though some part of me feels at odds with the change, I battle my uncertainty in surrender saying like King David once said, “My future is in your hands.” I don’t know my next professional project or challenge, but I do know I have to grab hold of the confidence I have in God. That my future really is in His hands.