Today’s Thoughts

You Never Know

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it is my hope that you are filled with gratefulness and have the love of God in your heart.  I can say with all honesty that this is how I’m feeling this morning, and I would wish the same for anyone else who may be reading my blog today.  I confess I don’t always feel this way, so I’m trying to savor the feeling for as long as I can.  I know the trials of this life, often spurred by the enemy, can easily bring us down, as quickly as good news or special life events take us to those mountaintop moments.  If your life is anything like mine, it is a constant yo-yo of ups and downs.

Just a few months ago, I left my job working for the state to work closer to home.  I gave my notice without having another job to go to.  How can I explain that I knew I had God’s blessing to do so?  I have had a rough two years up until now.  If you’ve ever gone through a divorce, you have an idea of what I’m talking about.  I would not wish this on my worst enemy.  Add into that mix so many other taxing variables, and it’s a miracle I’m here to write this note of encouragement today.  It’s only by God’s grace.

Just as I knew he would, God provided a job for me right before I was finished working for the state.  I was able to take a week to breathe and relax before starting my new venture.  Yes, I was on the mountaintop during this time.  As fate would have it, that job didn’t work out.  As I always do, I gave it my all.  Having been a supervisor many times, I had set standards about how I believe others should be treated, based on a ‘Do unto others’ philosophy.  I firmly believe in teaching through encouragement and patience.  I quickly learned that the woman who had interviewed and hired me had a completely different method of leadership, and for whatever reason, I was her target.

I hung in there, biting my tongue as much as I was able, but I reached the point that I could not remain silent.  Even after sharing with my supervisor my thoughts and hoping to work out a solution, the situation did not improve.  I couldn’t understand why God would bless me with the job I had always hoped for, just to throw me to the wolves.  After only two months, I reached my limit.  On a Wednesday night, I prayed that God would give me guidance on what to do.  I finally said to him, and to myself, if I sleep well tonight, I will take that as a sign that I should move forward with my plan to quit my job.  I typed my resignation letter to have it ready just in case.

The next morning, not only did I rest well, but I felt refreshed, renewed, and confident.  Much like how I felt when deciding to give my notice without having a job to go to.  Not only did I feel better, but while reading my daily devotion from Rick Warren’s Daily Hope, his message included the following:

“Don’t Rush to Restart” (11/3/2022)

“At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen!”

Habakkuk 2:3 (CEV)

The last few days we’ve been looking at principles for building a better life after seasons of pain, loss, loneliness, and frustration. Today we’ll look at another principle for building a better life after hard times: Engage slowly.

What does it mean to engage slowly after a tough season? It means you shouldn’t be in a hurry. Go slowly. Just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should be in a rush to restart it all.

When you are tempted to hurry back into life, here are three things to remember:

1. You don’t have the same energy level that you did before. From experience, I know that going through a hard time is very draining. It’s like attaching light bulbs to a battery. The more lightbulbs you attach, the more rapidly the battery drains. So, every day that a crisis continues, your energy drains more quickly.

2. God is never in a hurry. There isn’t a single example in Scripture of Jesus running anywhere. When his friend Lazarus was dying, for example, Jesus was only a half day’s walk away. But it took Jesus three days to get to Lazarus. And when he got there, Lazarus was already dead. Why? Jesus knew that God was in charge and that he had a better plan—one that didn’t require Jesus to hurry.

3. God’s timing is perfect. When you get impatient during difficult days and want to speed things along, you need to trust that God knows what he’s doing. In the case of Lazarus, God had a plan that was even bigger than healing Lazarus. God’s plan was to resurrect him! But that plan required Jesus to take things slow and not hurry ahead of God’s schedule.

The prophet, Habakkuk, had a word for people who wanted to hurry back to the way they remembered their life. God said in Habakkuk 2:3: “At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time but keep on waiting—it will happen!” (CEV).

Wanting to hurry up God’s plan has always been a problem. In the Old Testament, God often had to remind his people that progress is gradual, not instant. I call this the principle of pacing. Part of God’s plan may include a slower timetable than what you or anyone else wants.

One reason God moves slowly is because he knows that delays make you stronger. When the Israelites were headed toward the Promised Land, they met many barriers. But God said, “I will force out your enemies little by little and give your nation time to grow strong enough to take over the land” (Exodus 23:30 CEV). God knew they would only benefit when things happened slowly.

So, remember, there’s no need to flip a switch to make your life go back to the way it was. Instead, use a dimmer to slowly turn things up again, as you completely trust in God’s plan for your life.

It was the last line above that slapped me across the face and became the confirmation I needed to go ahead and quit my job. As scary as it was, I could hear God telling me, “Lisa, you’ve been through a lot lately.  I’m watching you go back to your old habits…work, dinner, tv, sleep; work, dinner, tv, sleep.  This is not what I have planned for you.  There is so much more.”  He was right.  After all we had been through, I just rushed back into doing what the world would expect me to do.  Work to pay bills.  Keep my nose to the grindstone.  UGH!!! I knew I needed a job to earn money and care for the boys and myself, but there was no rulebook that said we had to keep doing things the way we had always done them!  It was time for change, and I was feeling excited!

I wouldn’t necessarily advise this route to everyone.  Believe me, I had to weigh the pros and cons, determine how I was going to manage, since I am still raising my two grandsons. I wouldn’t have gone through with my choice if I didn’t have a plan to fall back on, since others depended on me.  With my plan established, I was ready to take the next step, another leap of faith, and went into work that morning and turned in my resignation.  I have never left a job without the standard two-week notice, but as I had stated in my letter to my boss, I had never been treated so unprofessionally.  Personally speaking, I wanted to tell her that I was getting too old to put up with this crap.  Nearly a month later, I have zero regrets about my decision.

I am looking for another job as I write this, but I’m not in a hurry.  As I said, I have a plan, with God’s help.  I hope to begin working again in January.  Many ideas and options are being considered that include my grown children.  Perhaps these plans include relocating.  Maybe not.  As I completely trust in God’s plan for my life, I will continue to thank him for all he has done, and what I know he will do.  Of course, the unknown is scary.  Life turns on a dime and we don’t know what can happen.  But that’s true in all things, isn’t it?  What a relief to know God has my future and I need not worry.  You never know what is around the corner.  Trust God with your life and try to enjoy the short ride you are given.

Blessings,                                           

Lisa Jo