It’s been 65 days.
65 days since the last day I had a job.
On May 27th I walked away from a job that I had with a company I had been with for 7 years (not counting the time I was laid off) in order to gain regain my physical and psychological health.
This is not something I did lightly or frivolously, but rather, after weeks of sitting at my desk in tears and pain due to the stress of a position I was not well suited for, I had to make a change.
I prayed. A lot.
I had others pray for me. A lot.
And I trusted that the unchanging voice that I heard in my head and my heart to move on was the Lord’s direction for me.
So why am I here 65 days later tearfully wondering what my next move needs to be? Did I make a mistake? Did I misunderstand what I heard the Lord saying to me? Or maybe I understood but the Lord wants me to struggle and doesn’t care how painful and difficult this is.
Believe me, thoughts like these and many other not so Christian thoughts have managed to permeate what I like to pretend is my impermeable faith. Day after day when the telephone doesn’t ring, application after application is rejected or interviews lead to nothing my spirit weakens a bit. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy grow stronger and there are days when it takes all I have to get out of bed and try to find some purpose to the day.
Despite my trust that God is good, this doesn’t feel good. It feels like I’ve been forgotten.
It is hard to count this all joy when I am the only person that pays my bills and they don’t simply stop coming because things aren’t going well.
It is hard to trust when all I can see is the burdens of my life piling up with no end in sight.
And yes, I know that these burdens I have had in my life are often things I created; the result of acting out of fear or frustration rather than waiting for God. Am I being punished for my actions? Did I fall victim to the desire for worldly fulfillment and convince myself that God was telling me to move on when it was just my own selfish desire?
My heart says no.
As much as I’ve prayed about this and thought about whether I made a mistake leaving my job, I have never once felt regret. I have never once felt as though I should have stuck it out for a while longer; waited for the right opportunity to come out of the woods.
For me, this can only mean one thing.
I am right where I am supposed to be.
That means that this struggle is part of His ultimate plan and His plan, being a God of love and compassion, is always good.
Sure doesn’t feel that way.
What it feels like is what Hillary Scott sings about in her song Thy Will. As a matter of fact, the first time I heard that song it felt like the words had been ripped out of my heart.
In her song, Ms. Scott cries out to God for the feelings of loss and pain she feels. She reflects to God that she feels she may never understand the plan He has in store for her or that her pain is part of the plan God has put in place for her.
I know this feeling so well! As I sit here completing my endless string of applications, I realize I may never understand why I have to go through yet another struggle like this; yet another time when I feel helpless, out of control and on the edge of losing everything. It feels like God is either rejoicing in my pain or simply oblivious to it.
Ms Scott’s song reminds me two very important things that I am very definitely grasping onto like buoys to get me through this storm.
First, God’s love is pure and His plan for me is and always will be good. My job is this time of struggle is to hold fast to that knowledge and prayerfully wait. That’s it. As hard as it is to want to try find a way to fix this, I have to wait…
…and hope I don’t miss the 5 vessels God has sent to save me.
Second, and most importantly, I have to remember God is God, not me. I know that may sound silly, but what I mean is that only He sees the bigger picture. He knows what’s around that blind corner that I can’t see and He knows what blessings await me.
It means that sometimes trying to sense God’s presence in my personal situations is, as Chris Rice wrote, like trying to Smell the Color 9.
Sometimes I am not really supposed to understand what’s going on, I’m simply supposed to trust that His ways are perfect. I’m supposed to what Hillary Scott says and fall on my knees with the innocence of a child in prayer and say “thy will, Lord.”
It doesn’t have to be more eloquent than that nor more lengthy. In my time of pain and struggle, all I need to do is hand it over to God and say “thy will be done” and know that His will is perfect.
Does this mean that I will like the plan He has for me?
But as I’ve said many times before (but have a hard time remembering in times like this) It’s not about me.
It’s about God.
God never promised – or even suggested – that this life would be easy or joyful. That “count it all joy” thing isn’t actually about me being happy, but rather about me taking the time to consider all of the opportunities and challenges that I am faced with to be a joy because they are being used for God’s purposes.
So as I head into day 66 of being jobless, I will choose to hand this all back to God and remember THY will, not MY will.
Wonder if I can get through the next hour remembering that? Here’s to hoping!