Tag Archives: art

When a ‘No’ feels like a win

I officially finished my job yesterday, meaning today I am officially out of work.

At this point I feel like I should be crazily job hunting and widening my search for work, but actually I am relaxed. I have options and I have time. I’d rather have the ‘right’ job than just any job.

Last week I had a preliminary interview for a job that on paper seemed like a brilliant opportunity. It was in  church youth work (my field) and included training at the local Bible college. The staff and elders from the church whom I met at the interview were all lovely, and friendly and put me at my ease as soon as I arrived. They asked all the right questions, and listened to my story without judgement. They appreciated and understood what I had gained from my life experiences and how that influenced my work. The answered all my questions with what I wanted and hoped to hear from potential employers, and from a church family. The church itself was a lovely building, recently refurbished, with great spaces and equipment for the youth work. In all it ticked nearly all of my boxes of what I’m looking for in a job.

But I left with the feeling that it wasn’t the right opportunity for me, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. When people asked, I said I wasn’t sure that the village location would suit me (I’ve realised now that I am definitely a city girl at heart) but there was more to it than that. It just didn’t feel right.

I had a call from the church leader in the evening after the pre-interview saying that they would be taking up references that week and shortlisting for the formal interviews and would be in touch at the end of the week. I thanked them and said that although I was still interested in the post but would appreciate having a few days to think about it.

In my heart I knew that I wouldn’t be taking the job, but practically in my head I told myself I needed to think more about it. Because, without a job lined up, could I really afford the luxury of turning down a job?

So as the week went by I grew more sure that I was making the right decision, but was really nervous that the church would call and offer me a formal interview and I would have to turn it down.

But when they called… the church leader said that they had really enjoyed meeting me, I came over really well in the pre-interview and ticked all the right boxes in terms of what they were looking for… but… as they had talked and prayed about it they felt sure that it wouldn’t be the right situation for me. I was so relieved, I was over the moon. I explained that I had been feeling the same way, that I was really impressed by everything I’d seen and heard but just knew it wasn’t right for me.

So here’s the thing. Here’s the takeaway – God knows what He is doing. And He tells us. We just have to listen. The Holy Spirit speaks to everyone and there are beautiful moments where what we think God is saying to us is confirmed through what He is saying to other people.

I may not know right now where I am headed next. I have ideas, and they are exciting and I am waiting to see how the opportunities in front of me play out… But I have no definite answers right now. But I have hope. God knows where I am going, and He is at work, behind the scenes, preparing the place for me.

I’ve given up making plans for the future. I have ideas, dreams of what I want for my life, and I know God has an amazing plan for me that will let me achieve those dreams to His glory.IMG_0034

“And I will lead the blind

in a way that they do not know,

in paths that they have not known

I will guide them.

I will turn the darkness before them into light,

the rough places into level ground.

These are the things I do,

and I do not forsake them”

Isaiah 42v16

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sometimes the fork in the road…

fork slotted spoon

… is really a slotted spoon.

A few years ago I got to a point in my life where I was at a fork in the road. I was trying to decide what to do next in my life, and I seemed to have several equally good options to pick from.

My question was: what does God want me to do?

Around that time I read this passage in Psalm 19 (Message):

“The revelation of God is whole

and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of God are clear

and point out the right road.

The life maps of God are right

showing the way to joy.

The directions of God are plain

and easy on the eyes”

So I drew the first picture, and felt a lot happier because God was going to clearly show me which path He wanted me to take.

But He didn’t.

Instead He told me to choose…

What?!

The more I thought and prayed about it the more I felt God saying it was up to me what path I took.

A friend suggested that while God may have a “final destination” in His plan for me, I could take any number of routes to get there, more like the second picture and Isaiah 30v21 (NIV):

“Whether you turn to the right or the left,

Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

‘This is the way.

Walk in it.”

 

It’s a few years down the line now, and I find myself in a similar position, although, somehow, with a lot less certainty that I’ll work out where I want to go. It’s hard not to feel that this last year I’ve been on a wrong path, as things haven’t really turned out the way I expected. But nothing in God’s kingdom is wasted and I know at the very least I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how to rely on God more.

Yet, it has been so comforting to come across these pictures and those passages again.  I know that I am on a journey and that wherever I am going, God is not only going with me, but He is already preparing the way ahead of me.