Deciding to Change Jobs
Deciding to leave the University of North Alabama for a new adventure was a monumental decision for our family. Twelve years ago I began my journey in the College of Arts and Sciences as the Coordinator of Academic Advising for undecided students. My undergraduate degree was in communications and marketing. The job was a great fit for me at the time. After working in that position for about six years and after finishing my master's degree in counseling, I was fortunate enough to combine my love of advising students with my love of counseling and was offered the position of Career Development Coordinator in Career Planning and Development. After three years, I was promoted to Assistant Director, my current role.
If someone had asked me a year ago if I would find myself leaving UNA at the conclusion of the fall semester to join our family business, I would have laughed and called them crazy. I had this sense of security in my job that doesn't usually accompany small business owners. In the back of my mind I always felt like I would join the family business at some point in my life, but I never expected it this soon. I was not ready to give up my safety blanket of working for a state institution. David, my husband, has always said he wished he could hire me. I have always told him he was crazy. He recognized years ago that our strengths compliment one another well. But I was concerned about all our eggs being in one basket and all of that jazz.
A couple of years ago I began to experience jaw problems and actually had surgery to repair the discs in both of my jaw joints. My job at UNA had become painful for me, and it concerned me deeply. I prayed and prayed and cried and cried thinking I may not be able to continue doing what I loved to do with the amount of talking I had to do on a daily basis. It was then that I began to pray hard for answers and directions from the Lord. I didn't want to make a permanent decision based on what my doctor called a temporary problem, but I was unsure of what my future held.
About six months ago I was driving my car alone and out of nowhere, I heard the Lord speak clearly to my spirit telling me that it was time to begin thinking about joining the family business. I literally began to cry in the car. I questioned, "Really? You're really asking me to do this? I don't want to." After the last tear rolled down my cheek, I said, "Okay. If that is what you want me to do, you are going to have to open a door and change the desires of my heart." I didn't tell David about this experience, because I was hoping God would tell me to stay where I was and not worry about it. You know, like he might tell me he was only joking or something.
I finally started bringing it up to David. We talked about it more and more, and we prayed and fasted seeking answers and direction. We never want to do anything outside the will of the Father, because His will has proven time and time again to be so much better than our own.
During a twenty-one day, starving for Jesus, Daniel Fast, I mentioned to a coworker that God better have some answers for me or I was going to be mad. It was my hanger (hunger and anger combined) speaking. Good thing God doesn't strike people down for being sassy sometimes or I would be a goner.
God came through for us and gave me an overwhelming desire to join the family business to oversee marketing, public relations, and human resources. I began to have idea after idea after idea of what I wanted to do and what I wanted the store to be able to accomplish. My vision matched up with David's vision, and we both had peace in our hearts that surpassed our understanding. We talked about how we knew challenges would occur, but we felt confident in our abilities to work through whatever might be thrown at us.
David has also known that my heart is set on doing more active ministry, and he knows I like to write. He wants me to have more time to spend on writing and be freed up to be more active in ministry, including supporting an organization that helps free women and children from sex trafficking rings. My eyes fill up with tears as I think about being able to have my heart's desires fulfilled in these areas.
The day I turned my resignation letter in was hard, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was doing the right thing. I knew that some would see what I was doing as absolutely crazy, but I was reminded of Noah. Most people thought he was pretty nuts for building the Ark, but God always comes through on His promises.
After I turned my letter over to my supervisor and it soaked in that my days at UNA were drawing to a close, the pain in my jaw was less than it had been in two years. The pain has been gradually disappearing. It was then that I realized if I had never had the jaw pain, I may not have explored what God had for me. I may not have sought him out with every fiber of my being. I may have stayed in my comfort zone and missed the mark--missed his awesome plan for our family.
A few things I have learned from this experience:
1. Don't Give Up On God. If you have been praying for answers and haven't gotten them, don't stop asking. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Never grow weary of asking.
2. Fasting Works. Fasting is biblical and scientifically proven to bring clarity to the mind and body. Give it a try. You will not regret it. It forces you to focus more on your provider and less on yourself or your circumstance.
3. When It's Time, You Will Know It. When God is ready to move you from one place to another, you will know it. You may not understand it. You may wrestle with it, but you will know it. I would say to follow his peace, but sometimes he calls us in to places that don't feel very peaceful. But if he has called you there, He will provide a way.
4. Being Uncomfortable Can Be A Good Thing. If you have found yourself in a very uncomfortable place, it may be time for change. Being challenged can help us to grow and to move in to God's best. God will close doors for us as long as we don't wedge ourselves in the doorway and try and hold on for dear life. Let him move you. When he says, let go, let go. When he says move forward, move forward. His ways are always better.
5. Depending on God Is Not A Bad Thing. I am going to be more dependent on God than ever in my new role. There will be no safety blanket or false sense of secrutiy. I think being totally dependent on Him in all areas of my life promotes growth and spiritual maturity. I am looking forward to growing. I encourage others to take a leap of faith if God is asking you to do so. He will be there to catch you if you fall.
So, there you have it folks--the short version--believe it or not. I just want to close with a prayer for anyone reading this needing answers and direction.
Father, we thank you for being a good God. We thank you for directing our paths and ordering our steps. We trust you to put us where we need to be, when we need to be there. We pray that your peace and love hold us tightly as we wait on your perfect timing. Thank you for letting us know what you want us to do and when you want us to do it. Thank you for your protection in all areas of our lives. We honor you for being all powerful and awesome. In Jesus's name. Amen.