"Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” -Exodus 33:15-16
This statement from Moses to God gives a perfect picture of how I’ve made career decisions over the years. I pray, I ask God for guidance, and I wait for the Holy Spirit—often times impatiently—for an answer. This year, my impatience led me to making moves without God and based on the wrong factors.
The moment we entered 2018, I knew I didn’t have long to make a decision about my future. The clock was running out fast as my contract neared an end. Daily I asked, “Do I switch career fields? Do I stay in this career field? A new city? A different company?” The more the clock ran out, the more stressed I became and then a small opportunity presented itself.
I was sitting at a fast food restaurant, reading a book when the franchise owner approached me about a job. I explained to him that I had a full-time position elsewhere, but I was interested in something part-time. We exchanged cards and within days, he emailed me about our conversation and I agreed to an official interview. While I was only thinking about making some extra cash, he began asking about my interest in marketing & sales. This is what peeked my interest. I came in thinking of something small, but it appeared that he had more in mind. I accepted a position as a cashier with the potential for greater opportunities ahead. After I started, I began having conversations with the GM about the possibility of franchise ownership. In my mind, this was a God thing. How could it not be?! I instantly started thinking of ideas and ways to help the franchise owner’s business grow. I asked a lot of questions and I learned more & more about how the business operated on a day-to-day basis while also doing my job as a regular employee. It was great. At least that’s what I thought.
You see, I thought it was a God thing. But, I never really asked Him and I wasn’t listening for an answer. Two months into the job, I was exhausted from working roughly 60 hours a week between two jobs and I was annoyed by younger adults always trying to check me. Reality didn’t set in until I had a conversation with a co-worker.
Me: My part-time job is going great! It’s an amazing company and I’m even thinking about working toward franchise ownership.
Her: Oh, I never knew you were interested in owning a franchise.
And there you have it! I was working hard, trying to make moves all by myself and I had NEVER thought about owning a franchise. I didn’t even know if I really wanted to. (Not to mention I had zero knowledge in marketing & sales.) Yeah, franchise ownership would look great on paper and it would bring in wayyyy more money than what I make now, but it was nowhere near any of the goals I had set for myself. It wasn’t even close to being a current passion. The truth is: Because I feared that the Lord would give me an answer that I didn’t want or lead me somewhere I didn’t want to go, I started grinding on my own, but at what cost? Instead of being still, accepting His peace and having faith in His plan, I decided to do it alone. When I finally realized this, I quit my part-time job and began to refocus.
The thing I’ve learned about my personal relationship with God is that He never moves me from a place until He’s finished growing me there. I questioned leaving my full-time position because I was feeling spiritual growing pains. This included struggling to show love to people, harboring anger & unforgiveness, being ungrateful and most importantly, comparing my situation to others in the building and feeling like they had better deals. I was actually comfortable with the job itself and wanted to do great work, but I wasn’t comfortable with what God was doing in me. The moment I learned about other people’s contracts with the company, my happiness dwindled and I started looking for a way out prematurely. As my frustration grew, God reminded me of these two scriptures:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily (from the soul), as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
This scripture is actually a command for slaves or servants; however, I still think it applies to everyone who has to show up at a job and work for someone else. Over my past 11 years of working, I’ve had to learn that regardless of condescending managers, nosey co-workers, and being underpaid or underappreciated, I work for the Lord. It’s not easy to stay motivated and give a job your all under these circumstances, but it’s important for me to remember who I serve and how I should conduct myself as a child of God. The circumstances around me shouldn’t stop me from being obedient to Him. I know some people would say to instantly quit under some of these circumstances, but that’s not always ideal for everyone and may not even be wise. I can honestly say I’ve left plenty of places of employment, but I always question myself first and I never leave because of other people or pay. I wait for God and through the tough times, I remember Colossians 3:23-24.
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
When the Holy Spirit led me to the book of James, I felt convicted. The initial reason I began questioning my career is because I unintentionally learned more about the deals others made with the company. I started to question if the work and the level of stress that comes with my position would ever be worth it monetarily. After a while, I grew more and more disinterested in the job I was once happy to do. Then, I read James 4:1-3 and began to ponder the last part of that scripture. Do I want what others have for the wrong reasons? Do I properly manage the resources God has already given me? Do I even have a plan for the increase I’m praying for or do I just want it because others have it? I realized that I got caught up on the world’s view of success. I forgot that I choose to live my life for Christ, which means I also believe that the resources I need to fulfill His plan for my life will be provided for me. It’s a hard pill to swallow when the world constantly says success is rooted in wealth, but I must remember to combat the world’s view with the truth of God’s word.
I know I am far from perfect and I still battle comparison, ungratefulness and impatience at times, but despite how I feel, I have to constantly remind myself of what God says. Nowadays, the time I spent “grinding” or working that part-time job is spent on working toward my goals & passions. I am also at peace with my most recent career decision because I am walking with God and trusting His timing.