(this was far more coherent in my head when I was driving and crying and talking to God than it is now that I sit in front of the computer and try to type it out. With that said, I’m trying to stick to my “just write!” philosophy, and am leaving it as is for now. Maybe I’ll come back and do some editing–at least, I am pretending that this is a possibility.)
I recently started taking a “how not to be a loser” career development course. (Sadly, I must have missed the session where they informed us that the first step is to not refer to yourself as a loser!)
I can tell already that a big part of the course’s appeal is in the sharing of experiences, of celebrating the small victories and providing support and encouragement when things don’t go well. For some reason, though, tonight I was struck by the fact that my career failures/delays/missteps are painful to me on a level beyond that of the usual disappointment and discouragement of not succeeding. Of course, those elements are there as well, but there is something more going on here. When I don’t get a job, when I have those times when I am so, so certain that something is going to happen–and then it doesn’t–it’s not just my own disappointment in myself that I am dealing with. And when I face my fear of being stuck in my current job indefinitely, it is not just because I don’t think I will find something else. No, all of this is couched in terms of a relationship . . . there is Someone who is calling the shots, Someone who I feel has let me down, again.
I’m sure it’s bad theology to say that God would truly let me down. But disappoint me? Yes, He has, and not just a few times. I am quick to attribute this to my disobedience–surely I am doing something “wrong”, and if I would only start tithing/wake up at 5am to do devotions/go to church three times a week, He would immediately remedy my life circumstances and bring about all that I have hoped for.
But at least some small part of me knows that this isn’t how God works. He is not malicious, nor does He act out of spite or treat us as our sins deserve. No, when He closes door after door after door, I have to acknowledge the truth that I know, which is that He has me where He wants me and His plans for me are better than any plans I could come up with for myself. He knows what He is doing; He is God, and I most certainly am not.
It still hurts, though. It hurts because, for whatever reason, I have repeatedly been convinced that this was really it–that God was telling me that _______ was going to happen. Everything within me felt that certainty, once even to the point that I received confirmation from one of the most godly women I know. Every time, it’s been the same thing. “This is it”, I would think. “This is what I’m meant to be doing. This is where my life will start. This is what I was born to do.” And time after time, I’ve been devastated by the closing of a door that seemed destined to open.
There is a disappointment in this. Disappointment because I feel that Someone has betrayed me. And it’s not like the God of the universe has to answer to me; even expressing my disappointment displays an arrogance that falls just short of blasphemy. But the disappointment and the discouragement and the ceaseless hunger for something more remain. And perhaps I am disappointed precisely because I know that He has my best interests at heart. He loves me, and He created me for a purpose, but the waiting is sometimes intolerable.
I am loved more than I can fathom, and His ways are higher than mine . . . I know all of this, and yet it hurts. It hurts because I know that He could change things–and I suppose someday He will–but today there are no answers, and I wait.
My job search, and my larger career angst, is not just an inanimate set of circumstances. It’s a sign of a relationship that I am less than satisfied, a reminder that this God who loves me so, so much has nonetheless not chosen to deliver me from my current situation in any of the ways I would have liked. Worse, I have hoped for these things, have prayed about them, have been certain they would come to pass. Am I not hearing Him correctly? Or is there some lesson I’m missing as I wait?