This article will also appear in the October 2013 edition of the Fellowship of Global Christian Job Seekers newsletter at globaljobseekers.org/ in "Carolyn's Perspective."
Fall in Love With God’s Purpose For Your Life
You don’t get three college degrees and not figure out how to set goals, but when my professional life began to fall apart in 2005, I decided my problem must be that I didn’t know how to set goals. Isn’t that what all the self-help books are full of? How to do this, how to do that. These people have all the answers. Yeah, right. Well, they don’t. OK? They don’t.
Here’s the verse that has popped up in the past couple of days and I want to share this with you. I hope it won’t make you too nervous and feel insecure and fuzzy about what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. The verse is Psalm 103: 14
“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” Let this touch your heart like it touched mine. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to get everything right every time. You can fail. You can falter. You can fear. God is still God. He still loves you. Everything He says He will do He’ll do. He loves you. He will take care of you.
Up to now. I have been very analytical, very intellectual in my mode of approaching things. I know we’re not supposed to compare ourselves with others, but I’m finding out I’m not as smart as all that. And the goal isn’t being smart anyway. Here’s the goal: Please God. I am so tired of how-to books and how-to teachers on the radio. How-to this. How-to that. How-to everything. Forget it. Please God. Just Please God.
Falling in Love With God’s Purpose For Your Life
I said all that to say this. God is faithful to direct our lives if we will let Him. How I know this now is because for several weeks I have been laboring under the burden of whether or not to try to get my old job back. The one I was laid off from two years ago. It came back open. I figured I should apply for it. I did and was offered an interview.
I had one reference letter; I needed three. One person was going to get it to me right away and, and my old supervisor had told me she would write one. I hadn’t heard from these two people for awhile and the interview was coming up.
I emailed them. In her reply, my old supervisor advised me she couldn’t write one; the human resources director said she couldn’t. The thought had occurred to me, but really, I’ve been living in a separate reality since I began relying on God every day to provide for my needs. I’ve been substitute teaching primarily in middle and high schools. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have been loving it.
Well, when I got that email saying, “Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, but…” that’s when the light went on inside me. Like a lighthouse beam. First of all, I can’t think of anyone else to ask. My old department chair at the university I taught at is dead. Can’t ask her. Suddenly, a little worm curled up and died in my gut, and the desire to pursue my old job just seemed to slither away like an old snake skin.
I called my brother. We talked for awhile. He knows me the best, second only to God, I think. The light just kept shining brighter. And (this is going to sound weird to some) during the conversation I remembered the night before I had heard in a dream the sound of adolescent boys’ voices chirping as they gallop through the hallways at one of the middle schools I sub at. The sound was like (I know, this is corny) the sound of birds singing first thing in the morning.
I teared up when I told the kids in 6th hour. Go back to my old job? What? And miss this? The sound of a thundering herd of turtles in the commons area after lunch? Looking at these delightful young faces, mixed with bizarre behavior and having cockeyed conversations with teenagers? I wouldn’t want to miss this. No. I would not. So, I wrote a letter to the director of human resources, announcing that I would not be interviewing for my old job and thanking her for the opportunities I have had to be part of the agency.
Yes, I am truly grateful and thankful for every opportunity God has given me in my life to serve in any capacity, but the main thing is following God’s purpose for my life, and He will direct my path if I trust Him with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5).
My prayer for you: Tears of Joy as you rest in the completed work of Jesus Christ on Calvary, God’s perfect and unconditional love for you and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises to His children. And, one last promise of God to cling to:
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11