Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Just yesterday, I told a dear friend of mine that I had given up looking for any sort of jobs that were more professional in nature, and had resigned myself to my lot in life: Performing endless, menial tasks, for little pay, never utilizing my intellect or abilities to their fullest capacity.
I ended my email to him with, "But, you never know. Company XYZ (where I had applied last Friday) migh call tomorrow and change everything."
In stating this, of course, I never really expected it to happen. After all, it was just one more job in a long line of jobs I had applied for, without positive results.
Then, this morning, I received a call from said company, asking me to come in this afternoon for an interview. I had to laugh, and I called my friend to tell him what happened.
It was even more amusing in light of the fact that, only an hour or so earlier, I read an email from him asking me to consider the possibility that maybe...just maybe...God had GOOD things in store for me, not a lifelong drudgery that He knew I would not be happy with. It had never occurred to me to sincerely entertain the possibility that perhaps God had wonderful surprises in store, and it was just a matter of His timing.
At any rate, I went to the interview, and it went amazingly well. Literally everything I said was noted with, "That is great! We need that in the person who will be taking this position."
I also learned that, until last Friday, the internet ad for the job I applied for had received no response. Why is this? Well, for some reason, the job had been listed as being in Ohio. Of course, anyone living in northern Michigan is not going to apply for an administrative job in Ohio. It was only last Friday that they fixed the problem. It was only last Friday that I decided on a whim to check the company's website for jobs, and on another whim, decided to apply for the one and only job listed for this area.
I am working hard not to read signs into every day happenings anymore, but this seems all too coincidental. Perhaps something greater is at work here.
Heck...this job would be flippin' sweet to have!!
All of this is to say, it's been happening more often than not lately that God is allowing me to get to the edge of my despair, wallow in it for awhile, utter notions of His abandonment or detachment, then...amazingly...He sends something my way to show me just how fruitless it is to allow such thinking.
I do wonder at His patience with me. I don't know which is more amazing--His endless patience with me, or my apparent inability to grasp the concept that He has a plan to prosper me, not to harm me, to bring me hope and a future.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
And what have I learned?
I've learned...am learning...to just take things as they come, knowing that God will always provide, often through resources that we cannot see until we take that step of faith and go forward on a path that may not seem clear. We do not know what is waiting around the bend, and it isn't often that God shows us ahead of time. He just asks us to trust Him, and walk forward.
I am still learning the art of not looking for the higher meaning in all things. There does not have to be any greater purpose for a particular conversation or chance meeting or circumstance, other than the fact that life is happening. I think I've lived much of my life trying to sort out the signs, looking at everything in my life and saying, "What is God trying to tell me here? Where is He leading?"
It just occurred to me today, in fact, that living my life in such a way is akin to reading tea leaves or using astrology to determine my future. Just as God strictly warned against the use of such practices, I think He is equally disinclined to have us attempt to interpret the "signs" of every day life. So much of my life has been thwarted by my attempts to do that very thing. Certainly, God works all things together for good, even when we screw it up...but to assume that God desires to bring confusion into our lives by using vague signs and endlessly dark paths as a vehicle for conveying His will is an error in thinking that has had a dramatic and far-reaching impact on my life.
I am learning to do what I know to do, until I know to do something else. Life does not stop while I try to figure out what it all means. I was talking with a good friend of mine last night about that very thing...How much time have we wasted waiting for life to happen, when all along life goes on, we are getting older, and we cannot reclaim what we're losing by standing still and trying to figure it all out. While we're sitting here waiting for life to happen, it IS happening. Are we living it?
Of all the things I've learned in the past year, I think this has been the greatest lesson, and it has come by the grace God has liberally given through many of the trials I've endured in the last 365 days.
I am learning that my lack of success in one area of my life does not mean I am an utter failure. The fact that I have not become a phenomonally successful insurance agent in the last six months does not mean it was a mistake to try, or that there is nothing I can take away from the experience. I tried it, it didn't work (in fact, failed abysmally), so I move on. And that's okay.
We are all works in progress. Life doesn't come with a point-by-point "How To" guide, and we all fumble through the best that we can, and eventually get it right and land on our feet. God knows our humanness. He knows our weakness. And His grace is more than sufficient to see us through whatever may come to us in this life.
In the last 365 days, I've not only learned a lot about God's grace, but I am also learning to extend a little grace to myself. I say things to myself that I would never even think of saying to anyone else, because the things I say are cruel and meant only to cause shame and inflict pain. I am learning to give myself a break, be kind to myself, and not discount what God has created in me by seeking to diminish it at every opportunity.
I have learned the immeasurable value of friends who love you no matter what, and will always be your soft place to land when things get difficult. Nothing this side of heaven can compare with the safe haven of the love of your true friends, and that has been the one constant thing through all of the shifts and changes of this past year.
365 days after taking the leap of faith tht changed my life, I am still only marginally employed, I am broke, and my future is uncertain. Still, things are looking brighter every day, and I feel like I am the most wealthy woman in the world.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Some inspiration, from our friend Anonymous
I crawled across
with my empty cup.
Uncertain in asking
I had known you better
I'd have come
with a bucket.
Friday, May 05, 2006
I wish I could tell you that life has improved since then, and that the reason I’ve not been able to write is because I’ve just been too busy with all the exciting things happening in my forward-moving life. I wish I could tell you that I am considerably closer to achieving my goal of moving out of my parents’ basement and living on my own, holding down a position in a wonderfully thriving career, using my wonderfully flexible work schedule to help the helpless and bring healing to the hurting.
But, I cannot tell you any of those things. The fact is, I am no further along in building my career than I was at my last entry. More than that, I am no closer to being able to move out than I was six months ago when I first signed on the dotted line and became an agent. In fact, it’s worse than that…I am even further behind than I was six months ago, because my income has been so unstable, if not completely nonexistent.
The last couple of weeks have brought some very heavy blows to my “career”. There have been many cancelled appointments, quite a bit of business that I was counting on that didn’t end up happening, and a lot of people who just plain are not interested in what I have to say. Certainly all of this is par for the course, but it does seem that my experience with failure has been above and beyond the norm. I’ve talked with agents who have been in the business for several years, and even they have been surprised by the sheer volume of disappointments and struggles I’ve been dealing with since the beginning.
Perhaps God is speaking, and I’m just not listening. Maybe my commitment to making this work is really just my stubborn resistance to hear what God has been saying loud and clear for awhile now. Given the circumstances I’ve been dealing with, I do not know what else to make of this. There is certainly some measure of struggle associated with starting any business, but this seems to be excessive. It seems that, by this time, I should at least not have to be concerned with how I’m going to pay the phone bill or make the car payment.
Maybe I missed it on this one. Maybe I jumped the gun and assumed knowledge of God’s leading, when really it was my own eagerness for what seemed like the solution I’d been waiting for.
I do think that, even if I’ve totally missed the boat on this, God is certainly gracious and merciful and will allow something good to come out of this. He is the God of second chances, and I am sure that He can restore what has been lost here, and move me into whatever place it is He desires for me to be in. I am at a place of realizing my own utter inadequacy at plotting my own course in life, and am seeking His leading.
I do not think anything in life is in vain. Even this, with all the missteps and fumbling, is not in vain. God will even take my clumsy efforts to bring order to my life…efforts which have once again resulted in some measure of chaos…to bring something good into my life. He promised He would.
Things like this make me realize how blessed I am to have people in my life who are there to support me, no matter what. My friends love me, regardless of what I do for a living, and that has meant a great deal to me. I know I have their love and support and sincere prayers throughout everything that is happening during this season of my life.
There are many things I am not certain of right now, but I am absolutely certain of God’s faithfulness, and that I will yet see His plan unfold in this.
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