Sunday, October 13, 2013

Discovering my purpose

Over the several months that I have been writing this blog, I have been asked a few times why I decided to pursue the counseling profession. I thought it was time to share my story with my readers.

I didn't start here. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I had teachers that inspired me as a child, and I thought that was my purpose as well. What I've discovered is that you should use others as an example, but you shouldn't try to be others. You are yourself and only yourself. While I was in college, I discovered that I really enjoyed my Psychology courses. I had to take a lot of them because at the time I was majoring in Special Education. The thought crossed my mind a couple of times that maybe instead of pursuing teaching, I should pursue counseling. I dismissed it. I enjoyed working with children, so I should be a teacher, right? I finished college with my degree in Elementary Education and started looking for a teaching job.

It wasn't easy. I interviewed at job fairs and heard nothing. I applied in every school district and heard nothing. Finally, I applied for a job with Early Head Start. I got the job working in a classroom with infants. Though this wasn't elementary school teaching, I enjoyed it. The people that I worked with were great people for the most part. (There is always a bad apple or two.) I was working there for about six months when I got pregnant with my daughter. I had been working there for almost a year by the time I had to go on maternity leave.

When I came back, things were a little bit different. The teacher that had worked with me before had left, and there was a new teacher. I was a little more stressed because I had to take care of babies all day and then come home and take care of mine, but it was all right. The next year was when everything changed. We had new supervisors who were out to get everyone. Our classrooms didn't have walls (long story) and I had to work with toddlers instead of infants (difficult when you have a toddler at home too). The prior summer, there had been a family gathering and I took my daughter and my boyfriend. One of the supervisors had it in for me from that point forward. I have a strong feeling it was racially driven (she was not happy that I was white and my boyfriend was black), but I didn't know what to do about it. I started to have health issues (bone spurs and other foot problems). Ultimately, that supervisor made up a lie about me. I couldn't disprove it and she said I had to either resign or be fired. I resigned.

I tried to get back into teaching. I substitute taught one time. It just wasn't in me anymore. My spirit had been broken. I wanted to help children, but this was not the way to do it. I didn't feel that I could help children the way I wanted to help them. There was not as much opportunity to concentrate on helping each child individually as I thought there would be. I thought it over for a long time. I prayed a lot. I had a new job (in customer service) for almost two years before I made my decision. I was going back to school for my Masters degree in Clinical Counseling.

How did I come to this decision? I prayed, read my Bible, thought about it, wrote about it, took assessments to discover my strengths and personality traits, and finally came to this decision. Ultimately, what brought me to this point was listening to God. Some people say God doesn't speak to us anymore. He spoke to me. It wasn't a booming voice from the clouds. He spoke to me through his spirit and told me this was what he put me here to do. As I've been attending the church that I intend on staying with for years, the church that I finally feel that I can be a part of, I have discovered that God put us all here for a reason. God knew who we were and why we were here before we were even born. If God is telling me this is why I am here, God can't be wrong.

I am getting very close to finishing my degree. I am on course 12 out of 20 courses. I will be delayed a little with the birth of my third child in January, but I will get right back on track again and finish up my courses. I am excited to begin my clinical hours in about a year and learn everything I can to be able to fulfill my purpose.

Thanks for reading!