DESIGNING MY LIFE
DESIGNING MY LIFE
By Amanda Smith
I was married in 2011 and about one week later, we moved to NYC. I had just turned 21 and finished school with a degree in Public Health. We moved away from our family and my husband immediately started a job with long hours. I suddenly felt like I was tasked with discovering what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Growing up I knew I wanted to be a mom, but at the time, I was in a place where I didn’t feel ready to have kids. I had so much time and I thought – I need to be doing something I love and something that challenges me!
I began looking at jobs and, surprisingly, never felt a real pull to actually work in the Public Health field. It took years of studying and praying to decide what to do. I interviewed people, read things online, took classes here and there, prayed about it, and discussed it over and over with my husband (bless him). This decision was especially hard for me. Upon reflection, I realized that up until this point in my life, I generally shied away from things that made me nervous. I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person that lacks self-confidence or anything, but I would say I often experience self-doubt when I think of an idea that will throw me out of my comfort zone. It’s hard to do scary things, even when you know they’re good for you! I went back and forth between the philosophy that your job should be the thing that you love and your job should just pay the bills. At the end of the day I decided it needed to be something I loved. I felt like I wasn’t living with the integrity or bravery that I hoped one day my kids would see in me and replicate in their own life.
So eventually there I was, 2 years later, in a meeting with my amazing manager at the amazing company I had been working at – blurting out – I am going to go to interior design school (insert freak out face).
The meeting was actually for a promotion. I never went into it with the intention of saying anything about interior design. But I had been doing all I could to figure out what I wanted to do and what the Lord wanted me to do. And that was the moment He told me in my heart. As it came out of my mouth I realized… yeah- that’s exactly what I’m going to do. It was a liberating moment. I had been eyeing and envying interior designers for a while now, itching to try it out, but too scared to try because it was going to be hard. I was going to do something creative and prove to myself that I could do hard things.
Since then, I’ve felt the tumultuous ups and downs of doing hard things that you love. The highest highs and the lowest lows. I often question myself. My self-doubt wasn’t cured and I’m still working to prove to myself that I am, in fact, creative and I can, in fact, do hard things. But I keep trying. Every day I keep trying and every day I say to Heavenly Father, can you help me?
I work from home with my perfectly busy and curious 1 year old baby boy and I struggle to balance mamahood and the working woman. The struggle is real and it is hard to navigate! But I keep trying because I have faith that my Heavenly Father heard me when I asked Him to help guide me into something I love and something that challenges me. I have faith that He hears me now every day as I struggle and send silent prayers asking for help. I have faith that He will help me decide when it’s best for my baby for me to stop working.
This to me is one definition of faith – moving forward without knowing everything, when you feel the weight of self-doubt, the conflict between the concern of a mother and obligation to a deadline. Moving forward because you heard an answer in your heart and you knew you had to do it.
I trust that Heavenly Father will step in to help me. He will help me discern what is the most important, most essential, and place angels in my life to keep me moving forward. It might be messier than I expect, take longer than I expect, but it will be much fuller than I expect. I feel peace in the moments I need it. He is there, He hears me, and He is right alongside me every day.
This is the legacy I hope to leave my children. A legacy of bravery and of faith in God. With Him, I can do hard things.