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I remember a time when I had a recurring dream of cleaning out my closet. In the dream, I sorted out clothing, shoes, and jackets I no longer needed. I put them in a bag for donation. Then I woke up. 

I never delivered those metaphorical donations in the dream. I never seemed to finish the closet cleaning either.  Yet, I continued to return to the closet on a regular basis and clean out things I no longer needed. 

The closet cleaning might really be a hint towards life-cleaning.

I had the dream enough times that I realized my brain was trying to get my attention. I felt compelled to begin examining things in my life that no longer served me.  

While I didn’t know why I was cleaning out the closet in my dreams, I began to consider what I should be curious about. What might I need to let go of, release, or in the releasing make space for? What might my inner knowing already sense about changes that were coming?

Indeed, those closet cleaning episodes were at the front edge of a significant career change. 

I had already moved across the country to follow a career path I cherished. While taking on a larger professional leadership role, I was also growing my interior life. I was attending a church where I found community, where my faith was informed, stretched, and changed and where I learned to pay attention. Pay attention to what God might be doing. 

It was this paying attention that helped me look at my recurring dream with different eyes. I began to wonder what God was trying to tell me. Where was I being led? Was it time to make room for something else in my life? I began to feel called to work from home. After years of striving, I began to wonder about working differently. What was I contributing? What skills did I need to develop? How might I use my gifts and talents differently? These were among the many questions I carried into my next personal and professional opportunities.   

Little did I know that my work life would indeed change in the coming year. I would leave behind a field of work I found richly satisfying. I took a job that turned out to be quite different than I expected. Instead of getting to expand my skills, I was held in place by the organization’s leadership. It wasn’t a good fit for me. 

Except. Except it was. In that challenging and unsatisfying work I found the time and energy to go back to grad school. It gave me a way to complete a degree I’d started more than 6 years before. While the work wasn’t what I expected, I gained the chance to learn, grow and consider my life’s purpose in completely different ways. God had given me an opportunity to grow in new directions. 

Little did I know that it was also give me the necessary room to grieve the sudden death of my father. It is only in looking back that I can see more clearly that I was being drawn into an unexpected series of changes and losses. 

The closet cleaning was a metaphor for the transition I was already moving through. Have you had a ‘closet cleaning’ experience? Something either in a dream or in real life that was nudging you to move. How did you navigate your transition guided by this nudge? 


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