Every day we make decisions. Some decisions are life-altering and require much time and attention. As children of God, we have “an edge” when it comes to making important choices. We can look back over our lives and see where God has been at work. We can see a pattern of His guidance, pray for His direction, and make decisions from there.
In the past, as I have found myself looking for a new job in a new town, I have often felt alone and ill-equipped. However, “hindsight is 20/20.” Now, years later, I can clearly see the hand of God in my options and decisions. Each job, big or small, each volunteer gig, long- or short-term, has played an important part in who I am today. Each has been a piece in the puzzle of God’s work in me and my work for God.
For example, when we moved to a town of 2,500 people in the hills of West Virginia, I found there were no jobs. Having been a secretary in previous years, I went to the big bank in town and asked if I could complete an application. I was told, “No.” I asked if I could leave my resume for their human resources department. I was laughed at and told, “We haven’t hired here in years. No one leaves their job.” They wouldn’t even take my resume. That was the trend and eventually I applied for a job cleaning hotel rooms. As the rude lady at the bank had said, people didn’t leave their jobs and I couldn’t find work anywhere.
At that time I was irritated at the situation, the people, the town and ultimately the state. Now I know that it was God. He wasn’t against me – He just had a better plan for me. A few months later the volunteer Development Director of the local Christian school my kids attended was praying for an answer to her over-burdened schedule. The Lord dropped the idea of offering me a job into her head. She let me choose my hours, my wage and paid me herself, through the school, because she needed help.
As her assistant I learned how to write newspaper articles, ads for billboards, radio spots, brochures, all their correspondence and manage their database. Without that opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to get several jobs that followed, as we moved to other states. With the knowledge I garnered through that position I have been able to serve in several volunteer positions, benefiting others in the name of the Lord. Each position, as insignificant as it may have seemed at the time, turned out to be a link in the chain that has led me to where I am today. Each helped me grow personally, professionally, and even spiritually.
Whether you find yourself employed or unemployed at this time, think about what you are learning. Rehearse your past jobs and decisions, and try to see a pattern. Did your first volunteer post help build your self-confidence and people skills that equipped you for job #1? Was there one small added responsibility in job #1 that cinched job #2? Did job #2 provide experience necessary to get job #3?
My friend, Cathy Perry, is a good example of this. She started working at a major insurance company during her college years. After serving over twenty years she was one of hundreds laid off from their jobs. Facing unemployment and an uncertain future, Cathy and her husband began to explore her talents, desires and their family’s financial needs. Over the previous year Cathy had been volunteering as a peer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. The Lord seemed to give her the tougher cases and she handled them with grace and wisdom. She truly loved her ministry at the center and decided to study to become a Christian counselor.
What seemed to be a tragedy at the time may have been a case of “being pushed out of the nest.” Cathy was forced out of her comfort zone and was made to face options she didn’t previously have. She was thrilled and content preparing to serve God in this new capacity. In short time, a full-time position as Center Director opened up at one of the sister crisis pregnancy centers, and Cathy was hired!
If you have God in your life, you can probably look back and see His guidance and direction. From today on, with each decision you face, pause, look back to see the work of God in your past and pray for HIS will to be done.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” Matthew 6:33-34.
If we forget about what we want, and concentrate on what God wants for us, we will begin to see His influence in our lives and it will help us make positive decisions for the future.
Kelly J. Stigliano has been a speaker and writer for over 25 years. She and her husband, Jerry, enjoy life in Orange Park, FL. To learn more, visit www.kellystigliano.com.
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