By Carina Alanson
Brave Women Series - Carina's Story
I suspected something big was up when, for the first time in seven years, a colleague and I were summoned as a pair to our executive director’s office.
Sure enough, as soon as the two of us settled into the tired 1980s-era sofa gracing his office, the director proceeded to inform us that the counseling center we worked for was closing. Which meant that soon, we’d both be out of jobs.
News of this nature would probably strike fear in the hearts of most people. But for me? It was some of the most welcome news I could have received.
The truth was, while I knew the work I did as a professional counselor was good work that helped hurting people, I didn’t love my job. It took a much bigger toll on my soul than I’d anticipated when I decided to pursue a career in mental health, and I’d come to realize that it simply wasn’t the best fit for my giftings and personality.
"The truth was, while I knew the work I did as a professional counselor was good work that helped hurting people, I didn’t love my job."
I’d also actually known for some time that my employment at this agency wasn’t meant to continue long term because about a year prior to the announcement that my job was ending, I’d felt God confirm that He was calling me to leave counseling and become a full-time writer. Though this was something I strongly desired to do, I hadn’t yet felt God give me the green light to withdraw from the counseling field completely. So this new development was very exciting because it seemed to clearly signal the release I’d been waiting for.
However, not long after receiving the notice of employment termination, a different agency reached out and offered me another counseling job—one that paid better and had as many, if not more, benefits as the one I was losing.
I felt conflicted. Though I had been confident that it was time to leave counseling, now I couldn’t help but worry that maybe I was mistaken. Is this offer a sign that I’m supposed to keep counseling on a part-time basis? I wondered. And what about the financial implications?Are my husband and I really ready to forgo the consistent income counseling brings? Perhaps the wise thing would be to take advantage of this new opportunity?
One evening while in the midst of grappling with these questions, I was in my kitchen listening to an online sermon while making dinner. Referencing the time when God called Abraham out of Haran (Genesis 11:31-32; Genesis 12:1-5), the pastor observed that when God told Abraham to leave his home, Abraham didn’t know where he was going—he just knew he couldn’t stay where he was.
"God told Abraham to leave his home, Abraham didn’t know where he was going—he just knew he couldn’t stay where he was."
These words resonated deeply in my spirit, and I knew God was speaking to me through them. Like Abraham, I didn’t know what my future as a writer held, but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. Suddenly, I was certain that I wasn’t supposed to take the counseling job.
I was aware that from a “logical” perspective, I was taking a risk by cutting my ties with my traditional career and following my God-given dream of becoming a writer. But I also knew deep down that it was the right thing for me, and in the years that have passed since, I have never once regretted my decision.
How about you, friend? Has God planted dreams and desires in your heart? Do you feel Him calling you to take steps toward them, but realize that doing so will mean letting go of what feels safe and familiar?
"Has God planted dreams and desires in your heart? Do you feel Him calling you to take steps toward them, but realize that doing so will mean letting go of what feels safe and familiar?"
I know how scary it can feel to venture into the unknown, but I want to encourage you: Don’t let fear hold you back. God is the Alpha and Omega, and He sees the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Nothing in your story is hidden from Him, and your Good Shepherd will only ever guide you onto paths that lead to increased joy, fulfillment, and Kingdom fruit.
"Don’t let fear hold you back. God is the Alpha and Omega, and He sees the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Nothing in your story is hidden from Him, and your Good Shepherd will only ever guide you onto paths that lead to increased joy, fulfillment, and Kingdom fruit."
We may not be able to see all the future holds, but God does, and we can trust that He has good plans. I pray that as you choose to follow the Holy Spirit, you will be filled with courage to act boldly and have excitement for all He has in store!
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.
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Carina Alanson is a former professional counselor turned writer and artist who is passionate about helping women live with purpose and grow in their relationship with God. She lives in the subarctic town of Fairbanks, Alaska, where she enjoys going on scenic drives with her husband, skiing, snowshoeing, watercolor painting, and reading by the fire.
Visit carinaalanson.com to connect with Carina and get her free journaling workbook, How Do I Know if a Desire is From God? 5 Questions to Help You Decide, plus other resources for purposeful living. You can also connect with her on Instagram and on Facebook.
A special gift for Brave Women Readers...
I’m so honored to write for Becky’s audience! As a special thank you, I want to share a gift with you that I believe will help you discern whether that thing stirring in your heart is something God wants you to pursue. It’s a set of free journaling worksheets called “How Do I Know if a Desire Is From God? 5 Questions to Help You Decide.” Each page contains a question, an explanation of why that question is helpful, and a space to journal so you can prayerfully sort through your thoughts and feelings and make the best decision. You can access it for free here!