April 1, 2012

It is Done

What an awesome day today! First off, Efrem Smith, a former pastor and now Superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, spoke at our church. His message was on the missional church and what that means for believers today. He rocked the house! He was amazing, and God graciously gave him powerful voice so that we could hear what God wanted us to hear, and that is, that we are all called to live out the mission of the church, God's mission of expanding the Kingdom, every day and in every way as we go through our lives. I was moved by the Holy Spirit of God, and his message confirmed in me, that God's plan for my life, is unstoppable -- so long as He is in control, and working through me for His Name and His Glory. There is nothing He cannot do through me. I have been given the authority, the power, and the mission. Now, I must just DO IT.

Wow! Transformational preaching, and a public profession of the outpouring of the Holy Spirt. This message was for me, and it was powerful testimony to remind me that with God all things are possible (Luke 1:37).

After church, I came home and promptly fell asleep. I slept for about two hours, and then got up and went out to the grocery store. I needed some supplies for the week, and I wanted to get that done before it got too dark out. As I was doing my shopping, the Lord and I had a conversation about possible transtional steps that I might have to take to accomplish His will for me. I wasn't too thrilled about what He had to say to me, because frankly, it seemed backwards, out of the line we are on towards moving forward in life. God asked me if I was willing to do a part-time job so that my schedule would be more fluid and accomodating to advanced studies. I said "yes" but really I was thinking, "really, Lord. I mean, really, do I have to step out of full-time work and back into potentially retail just to do this next phase of my life?" I don't want to give up my position at UOPX. Granted, I am thinking of looking for other jobs -- and I have already applied for several. I am not really happy at UOPX, for a myriad of reasons, but it is full-time work, with benefits, and while the salary is a little low, it does pay the bills. The idea of giving that job up for two part-time jobs scares me. I don't want to be back where I was last year. I don't want to be stuck and in constant worry over money.

What prompted this conversation was an email I received Friday. I received an email from Apple inviting me to an open house for people interested in their Retail Stores. I already did the Apple thing, spent a horrible hour in a competitive interview and never heard a word back on whether I was approved/disproved, etc. It was not a good interview, and really, I am not wanting to go back into that arena. Yet, the Lord asked me to keep the email. Today, we updated my profile on Apple's website, and while I haven't RSVP'd that I would be willing to attend, I have a feeling that the Lord might want me to do so.

Why, Lord? Why? I mean, here I am about to graduate with my Masters in English, and I am poised and ready to start teaching. I want to teach or so I say I do, and the last thing I am thinking is that I might have to work in retail again.

All that comes to mind is Macy's, and the year from hell (2010-2011). I literally died working there -- the pain was excrutiating for me. I am finally recovered, but the thought of standing on my feet just causes me to relive that nightmare. I struggled to work there and I made it to my 1 year anniversary. I don't want to go that route again.

So here I sit, thinking that the Lord is not moving me forward, but backwards. I so prayed for a full-time job. I so wanted to work and to have benefits and to be settled, to be established, and to no longer worry over finances. Why now, Lord?

Well, the truth be told, I am bored with my work at UOPX. I am excelling in my role as an advisor, and I am getting a lot of recognition. I like my team mates and my new boss seems like a good guy. I am just BORED, and the thought I continuing to do this work for longer than a month or two, seems like torture to me. I spend the majority of my day making phone calls -- upwards of 80 to 100 per day. I dial the phone, and then I either leave the same voice mail message or I hang up. If I get a live person on the phone, I ask them if they are still interested in talking about their education. Most tell me no, and hang up. I move to the next number, and my day grinds on.

I get anywhere from 1-3 phone calls from the contact center. These are live transfers, and they offer some respite in my day. I may answer questions for students who are more interested in going to school. Some are wrong interests -- we don't have the program, they don't have the qualifications, etc. About half are good, with the rest as just shopping options or not qualified.

I then spend a portion of my day on admin duties. I work with the existing students to get them through the application process, and then I work with them to get them into workshops and into class. This is a good part of my day, not that it takes more than say an hour, but I get some good conversation in the mix.

I spend roughly 6-7 hours a day on the phone. I have a headset and in-ear speaker. I am connected to my phone, and my desk for this many hours per day. Yes, I can take bathroom breaks, and yes, I can get snacks, etc. But mostly I am to be at my desk, and on the phone.

My work tracks my hours, tracks my numbers, and even listens to my conversations. I don't mind it, but at times, it is very "big brotherish." I sit all day long, and my mind tends to fall asleep on me. I am not engaged, and unless I am actually talking with a student, I tend to just doze off. I come home drained. I fall into bed, often at 7-8 p.m., and then I get myself back up the next morning around 5 a.m., and start my day over.  I am tired of the routine. I am tired of the monotony of the work. I am ready for a change.

I tried to find another job within the company. I applied for two that I was well-qualified for, but never heard anything back on. They ignored me, didn't even say, "thanks for applying." It was like when I was on the outside, and would apply for jobs. I often didn't hear anything back at all. I was depressed over this attitude, and I felt like, at the least, they should acklnowledge employees and their interest in other positions.

I am no longer worried about losing my job there. I am more worried about being so bored that I will lose interest in doing anything else. Plus I cannot really do anything else. I am tired all the time. I want to stay at home, I need a break, and I want a more flexible schedule.

The Lord knows this, and the Lord has offered me an option. I was so hoping that I would get hired as a full-time teacher. I wanted to work in a school, as an English instructor, and have my summers off. This is what I want, but now I am not even sure that is possible.

Perhaps the whole problem is my attitude. Perhaps it is because I am being ungrateful. Considering how much I begged the Lord for work -- should I now be ungracious and tell Him that I want to do something different?

I don't really think so. I mean, I am about to end one level of graduate school, and will next year, start the next. My life will be tied to school and will be for the next three years all about doctoral classes. My schedule must be flexible. I must be able to do both school and work.

I had thought I could do my schooling through UOPX, but with the mind-numbing work, and the way they do school online, I know that I would not be successful in their program. I am too traditional in the sense that I need to focus on my courses first, work second. I know myself well enough to know that I am ready to do class time along with working part-time.

How can I live though? Can I do both -- work part-time, go to school full-time and still live comfortably in my home, pay my bills, and take care of myself and my son?

All these questions loom on my mind, and I am trying to figure it out. But, it is too far, too distant, and I don't see how it will work out. I thought if I had a full-time teaching job, I could do school. Now, I am getting the feeling that it will have to be part-time, flexible so that I can do classes. I guess the whole thing comes down to this: doctoral study is singular. It must be the only focus for a time. I have to do whatever work will accomodate it, and I have to let go of the career focus for now. I have to be content to do whatever work, whenever it is available, and rest in the security of my Father's Will. If this is God's will, then He will provide for me. I know this is true. I believe in His Word. I rest in His Provision.

Dear Lord,

I am afraid to let go of my job at UOPX. I know that I have to do what you are calling me to do, so I let go knowing that you are God, and that as God, you will take care of me, and my family. May God be praised today, and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! Pause and calmly think about it.

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