Last year, I made it to the final round of interviews for a job that I really, really wanted. And not because it was easy work or tons of cash or close to home, but because the people were real, the cases were real, and the decisions were final.
Alright. Judge Judy jokes aside, this job was pretty boss. And I wanted it badly.
It ended up being between me and a guy native to the area where the job was. I felt confident and nervous all at the same time and checked my phone constantly. I knew I was qualified for the position, but moreso, I knew I had clicked with the students, parents, and committee. Our conversations about faith, theology, and the Kingdom at hand were effortless. After a rough run at my "dream job" that turned out not so dreamy, I was eager for something fresh and new. There wasn't a fearful bone in my body. For the first time since going to Australia, I felt courageous. I felt assured knowing that if this was what the Lord had for me, I'd have to fearlessly jump in. I would have to move far away from home to a place where I knew very few people. I knew it would be scary, but I was ready to pack my bags. I enlisted the help of friends and followers on twitter and facebook for prayers we could press into. I had never been so ready for anything. And the salary wasn't too shabby, either. But I didn't get the job. The other guy did.
And he had a Bachelors of Science degree. In nursing.
Yes, you heard that correctly. Nursing.
It didn't make any sense to me. I even started to tear up on the phone as they told me they had offered the position to the other candidate and he had accepted. My immediate emotion wasn't even that of hurt. It was embarrassment. When I asked for feedback as to what I could improve on as I continued in my search, the answer made not getting the job even worse.
"Nothing. We prayed for someone we wouldn't have to settle for, and God sent us two. You'll do great wherever you are."
And then they proceeded to give me Scripture to refer to when I felt confused and disappointed.
-- Just a note to anyone in ministry - when you're declining to give someone a job, do not give them Scripture to help them feel better. It does not help. It does not make them feel better. --
I couldn't understand why it was happening. My resume was amazing. I studied under great professors, including an Australian Old Testament scholar, helped start a ministry from the ground up in the poorest county in Pennsylvania, studied abroad in a rigorous academic program, was hired full time in my field 6 months before graduating. I did everything right.
And I got beat by a guy with a nursing degree.
Not only did I feel entitled to a good job, but I felt like God owed it to me. I studied what I believed was my calling regardless of the terrible salary, volunteered countless hours, sacrificed planning my wedding to spend 6 months in another country studying and serving. Certainly, there should be some sort of return, right? So I decided God was now in my debt. He owed me one.
After my anger took the sidelines, I pouted like a toddler in a tiara who doesn't want to put on her fake eyelashes.
And I learned awfully quickly that God doesn't owe me anything.
I wish I could say that I never think about that job anymore, but sometimes I catch it hovering in the shadows of my mind. It is the only job I've never been offered. And that will knock a prideful person on their, well, on their pride.
In January, I moved to South Carolina regardless of not getting the job. I came to find out the guy with the nursing degree is already gone. When I interviewed last year, the church was in the midst of some changes and after hearing the generalities of the situation, it's hard to say if I would have survived it. Had I been hired, I would have walked in with my own scars and the church was in no place to help them heal.
Driving home after finding out, I felt protected by my God. I also wondered why He chose to reveal this to me. I had moved on. He didn't have to give me a glimpse of the answer to my questions. But He did. It was as though He knew it all along.
I watched your excitement grow and grow, and I was excited too. To see you discovering there's even more out there than you thought. More cultures within this country. To see your desire and willingness to leave your family and know you were risking anxiety ridden nights. I knew you thought it was all worth it to see the Gospel come alive. Man, it was beautiful. But sweet daughter, I had to protect you. I grieved the loss of something you never had alongside you. I was so hurt to see you hurting. Confused. Embittered. I want you to know I'm not mad at you. I was only protecting you. Today, you only see in part. Keep that in mind, my girl.
God will go to extremes to show you that He loves you. He has a bird's eye view of the timeline of eternity. He created it. No one knows the long run better than God.
I hope our Lord sends you a cool breeze reminding you that He is in control, and you don't have to feel like He owes you anything. Because first of all, He doesn't, and second, He wants to shower you with grace and hope because He loves you. And that's better than Him doing it because He owes you.