My Alien Encounter: How to Survive In a Strange New World

Whether it’s our first social encounter in preschool, a big career change or hitting the life reset button in general, we’ll all feel out of place at one time or another. It's almost as if we've moved to another planet with nothing familiar in sight. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ll never forget when I left my teaching career and become a pharmaceutical representative. Although I was excited about the transition and the meeting of new people, I quickly realized that yours truly was playing in a whole different ballpark. I’d ventured from working in a classroom where I had total control to being in a world in which I was required to master the pharmacodynamics of antidepressants and pain medications. Help me Jesus. Nothing was familiar and there wasn’t a high school teacher to be found anywhere.

What was I doing here? My sudden choices had put me in WAY over my head. I found myself repeatedly pleading to God, “Lord, please bring good from all this. I have no idea what I’m doing here, but I know that You do.”

I can’t tell you how many times I whispered that to myself, over and over. As I struggled with my own anxiety, I read book after book concerning neurological disorders. It was all part of the job requirement. At least I felt some relief when I realized that many emotional disorders are directly related to chemical imbalances in the brain. It was a bit reassuring to find out why my gray matter didn't always fire on all cylinders:) But that still didn’t make my big career move any easier. There were nights I laid on the bathroom floor, pharmaceutical notes wet with tears, and considered taking the next flight to Kentucky. I was far from home at a training facility and totally surrounded by strangers. I missed my kids, I missed feeling competent, and more than anything, I was terrified to fail. Sound familiar?

I imagined the coffee pot conversations that would take place in my former teachers lounge: “Did you hear about Angie? Yeah, she took a big pharma job and flunked every test required. What was she thinking, anyway? She’s already on the unemployment line and can’t even afford her mortgage payment. She can’t say we didn’t warn her. We knew she shouldn’t have tried something so crazy.” Oh, how Satan can do a number on us, especially when we’re plagued with uncertainty to begin with.

So what do we do with such desperate feelings after undergoing a major life change?

(Please know I'm not referring to situations beyond our control, such as the death of a family member or being diagnosed with a horrific disease.) But whether it’s becoming an empty nester, deciding to reenter the work force or making a difficult change in relationship status, change is inevitable. Of course, sometimes it’s a consequence of the poor choices on our part. Those resulting upheavals are especially difficult when we take all of our anger out on God.

Have you ever asked Him, “Why on earth did you allow me to do something so stupid?!! Why God, why?!"

Yeah, me too. Just remember, there's this thing called, “free will.” God grants us that in abundance. But if we have faith and seek answers in Him, I truly believe He will bring good from all of our choices, regardless of how messed up they may seem.

Sweet friends, I’ve experienced His grace too many times to ignore that he yearns to play a central role in our lives and bestow on us countless blessings. But it always starts with a choice.

Sometimes it’s the sheer anticipation of change that makes us run in the opposite direction at breakneck speed. But what if our fear of the unfamiliar causes us to miss out on some amazing opportunities? What then? Do we lead a life of regret and bewilderment? No, it’s then that we must reach out to Jesus for strength and face the fact that we have two basic choices: WE CAN LOOK FORWARD WITH EXCITEMENT OR SADLY LOOK BACK.


Like you, I’ve often found myself dwelling on “what if’s” or “why didn’t I’s.” Add to that a slow rock ballad from years past and this gal can become slightly unhinged. What about you? We can feel so low and sorry for ourselves that we become depressed, anxious and totally incapacitated. Life comes to a halt as we dwell on our feelings instead of our faith. It’s heart-breaking.

But ladies, it’s time we all put on our big girl undies and ask ourselves a few important questions: “What good does it do me to always look back? After all, God loves me regardless of the choices I’ve made. What blessings am I denying myself that could be right around the corner if I refuse to change?”

Yes, change is scary. It’s easy to talk or dream about big life alterations, but much harder to see it through. Besides remaining strong and close to God, I’d also suggest you do one small thing that can have a major impact on your transition.

It’s also the same thing I told my daughters when they went away to college: FIND YOUR PEOPLE.

Seek them out, regardless of it being a new job, living in a new city, or starting over in a new relationship. Surround yourself with individuals you can relate to emotionally, morally and spiritually. Trust me, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of heartache and discouragement. It’s much easier to communicate, let alone trust others with whom you understand and share things in common. That, my friends, is a blessing never to take lightly.

I now look back on my years as a pharma rep as some of the best times of my life. I met amazing individuals whom I know will remain life long friends. We made it through training together and enjoyed many successful years serving patients, clinics and hospitals.


Early years as a pharma rep. Almost 20 years ago!

I also can’t forget that it was during this time I met my future husband. That’s a whole other blog entirely and you can read about it here. (I promise it’s the truth!)

But know this: I’m positive our paths would have never crossed if I hadn’t embarked on a big life change. Was it scary? Absolutely. Would I do it all over again? Duh.. I think you know the answer to that.


God never ceases to surprise us when we least expect it. His timetable is just that: HIS. I pray we can remember that when our patience grows thin or our knees start to buckle. Don’t deny yourself opportunities and blessings just because you don’t have all the answers upfront. God doesn’t work like that. He’s in control. For goodness sakes, will someone please remind me of that from time to time?! I'm counting on you, friends.

During this ever-changing season of fall, let’s come to an agreement and EMBRACE CHANGE. Let’s do this thing!

We must seek Him, slow down and breathe in His promises. Own that! It's only then, sweet sisters, when we’ll fully be prepared to enjoy the blessings headed our way. Let’s press on, look forward and accept change-- regardless if we initially feel like an alien. You got this! Just remember: Find your people and let God do the rest!

Always,

Angie