So there was this job. There was this job from this fancy school located in Cambridge that may or may not sell crimson sweatshirts at their four hundred year old buildings. See, I was already working part time for this school-that-shall-not-be-named (come on), and helping out around my department and filling in for said job when people were on vacation, and filled in for said job when both of the people who were doing the job left the department! So when they were looking to fill the positions for said job full time, all eyes were on me, who had been doing said job all along. And my answer?
Nah. I’m good.
I’m good working part time and not getting ahead financially. I’m good doing my unpaid internship at a literary magazine where I’m older than everyone else and should be at a different stage in my career. I’m good going deeper into debt for a master’s degree I didn’t get any funding for. I’m good pursuing fiction writing and still not getting paid for it after ten years, and keeping open opportunities and advancement at the big university at arm’s length.
Nah, it’s Ok, I’m good.
And then it was 1:00am on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I was doing laundry. I had spent the day at a Red Sox/Angels doubleheader, and I needed something to wear for the third game of the series the next day after church. So I was doing laundry and praying and thinking and all of a sudden it was like, “Oh crap, I gotta go for that job, don’t I, Lord?” And within the week I had been interviewed, and within two weeks I not only got the position I interviewed for, I was promoted immediately to manager of the project. My salary tripled. And I never looked back. And it was one of the biggest trust-building exercises the Lord could have ever done for me.
So what happened?
Don’t do your own thing thinking it’s His thing.
All that unpaid work I was doing was writing: writing short stories, writing books, running a book blog, working on coursework for my MFA. It was what I believed was the calling on my life, and it still wasn’t bothering me that I was in my 30s and not just broke but going more into debt because of it, with miniscule publishing credits to my name. I was looking over here (LOOK SEE OVER HERE!) and looking so hard that I still wasn’t seeing Him aligning opportunities for me (STILL LOOKING OVER HERE!) and opening doors (NOPE STILL LOOKING OVER HERE!) until it was almost too late and He got in my face during laundry. I thought the writing thing was God’s thing, and maybe it was for a time. But don’t stare at closed doors, or worse yet, hurl yourself at closed doors when He’s got perfectly wide open doors over THERE, where you should be looking. Because, after all, you should always be looking at Him.
It’s hard, though. Let’s be real, that was the biggest thing, turning away from the things I wanted to do with my life and kind of taking a long walk off a short pier into the raging tide of…who knows what He had for me. It was scary and unpleasant and offensive, but deep down I knew this was the right decision for my life.
God knows you so much better than yourself, and knows well where to place you.
So I was giving up writing?? For a full time (READ: Long, corporate hours in a cubicle with a corpse social life and exhaustion to meet you at the door when you get home) job?? A full time administrative job? Here’s the deal: The Lord took my talents and ran with them. Yes, it’s a full time administrative job…that includes running a website and writing and communication and making infographics and doing customer service and running a blog and all the things I’m uniquely equipped for, and I’m actually getting paid for it now! It’s like the kid who sits down and plunks out a tune at the piano, and then the maestro sits and blazes out a concerto. I was doing rinky-dink stuff in my own strength, in light of what Jesus did with my talents.
Always ask yourself, “Is this a wise decision for my life?” even if you don’t sense a leading from God – because wisdom IS a leading from God.
Even if you don’t hear the Lord audibly telling you, “Take the full time job!” you can know that taking the full time job – or any other wise action in your life – is going to be God-ordained. The Lord is a God of order and the king and creator of wisdom, so asking yourself the check question, “Is this a wise step for my life?” will probably yield good results. In this case, from a monetary point of view, going full time was a wise decision over staying at a low income and barely making it by. Also, the decision to leave my MFA program so I wouldn’t incur another $60,000 in student loan debt was another wise decision for my life. And those wise decisions have had exponential returns. Would it have been wise for me not to have gone through those open doors? Would it have been wise for me to pursue dead ends? Nope.
Things like this are markers in your life that you can look back to and see the good faithfulness of the Lord.
This job switch lead to a greater life switch of stepping away from writing completely, which I thought I would never ever ever do. But you know what? It was a relief. Yes it was, like a burden lifted, like I didn’t have to strive anymore. I can now look back and say, “Wow, the Lord really did something great there, and led me well when I released a part of my identity and trusted Him.” Those points of trust becomes Ebenezers we can rely on when other challenging moments arise.
You guys, it works out waaay beyond what you could have hoped!
You guys. Walk through the doors that the Lord opens. It works out.