April 7, 2015

Stepping Out in Faith - Again

It is strange to think about it, but I have this sense that I am to step out in faith once again. I can't really explain it other than to say that what I feel inside is this little nudge that says "take a chance, Carol, go for it." Well, I heeded the push this morning, and I applied for a job as an Integration Analyst with Aetna. Aetna is a major provider of healthcare services, and as such, they maintain several divisions in order to support the healthcare needs of members and service providers. They are similar to CVS in that regard as they meet the needs of a diverse population. They have significant internal needs, including individuals who work in IT, marketing, communication, and management roles. Aetna is based in the healthcare industry capital of the world, Hartford, CT, but they have remote offices all over the US. They have a fairly large facility here in Phoenix, which is why I applied. However, I still feel the Lord leading me to leave the Phoenix area so the position I applied for is considered to be "telework." This just means that after training, an individual may get to work remotely from home. Some of these remote positions require that you work close to the campus where your division is based. Others are true "remote" position that allow you to work anywhere in the USA. This position said "WAH" so that means remote from anyplace in the US. The job is based out of Alpharetta, GA, which is interesting because of the places the Lord has nudged me about, Alpharetta is one of them.

I am struggling today to consider the fact that the Lord may choose to move me out of teaching and higher education and back into the grind of business. I prayed about this thought last night, and I even woke up this morning with it still lingering on my mind. I am struggling with the thought of stepping out of teaching permanently, and returning to corporate work. I have been open to this move for a long while, but it seemed like the Lord wanted me to be in teaching for the short-term, and this is where I am at present. Still, I have had doubts about it, mostly about my performance, and I have wondered if I was in the wrong place. It is not that I am dissatisfied with teaching, per se, as it has been a great experience and a life lesson I will not soon forget. It is just been difficult for me to wrap my head around the possibility of getting a teaching job, full-time, without significant experience. Yes, it has been a challenge for me to move forward and think that I will end up as a professor some day. I have blogged about it before, and in truth, it is a hard thing to accept, but there is little upward movement in higher education. It is all about who you know, what you have written, and how well you are willing to play the game. I have known this for a long time, and I have tried very hard to let it go, to push that knowledge aside. Of course, the Lord is Lord of all, and He is able to move hill and mountain to provide me with a full-time teaching position. Yes, He is able to do this for me. But, will He do it? Really, that is the question. I know, "just believe, Carol, just believe He will do it. Have faith in His ability." I do believe in His ability, and in fact, I know He can do it. I just don't know if it is the way He has planned for me to go. Let me explain...

I have been trying to figure out the plans the Lord has for me for a long time. I have trusted, I have rested, and I have faithfully sought His wisdom and guidance over the years. Sometimes I have felt "spot on" like when you toss the ping-pong ball into the middle of all those fish bowls at the carnival. I have felt like I was right on target, right on, and that my effort was being rewarded with an "ah ha!" moment. Then there have been other times when I felt like I was blind, shooting into the dark, hoping that I would hit the target. It was in these times when I doubted most, when I couldn't see the way out, and I felt that nothing I did made any difference to me or to my situation.

Two years ago, I left a very good position at CVS Caremark because I was afraid that the work/life/balance was out of whack and that the requirements of the job would be too difficult for me to do along with my studies at Regent. I took a position at GCU, as an IA, in order to try my hand at teaching. In truth, I took it because it offered a flexible schedule and I felt that I needed more 'downtime' to focus on my studies. I do believe the Lord opened that door for me, and that He provided a good place for me to work these past two years. I have learned a lot, mind you, and I have come to terms with many things that I didn't know about teaching. I have also learned what I am best at, and what I can and cannot do. I have learned a lot about myself too. I learned about my pride, my desires for achievement and perfection, and my need for money (income). I have learned that I like certain things, doing things a certain way, and that when it all comes down to it, I am a rewards driven, incentive focused, and achievement oriented person. I am. I admit it.

I never felt good about teaching. I never felt that I fit into teaching. My students like me, and my peers like me. But I just never felt that it was a good fit for me. I like it, don't get me wrong, and I appreciate the flexible schedule. But, I feel like I am not suited to teaching. I am an introvert while most teachers are extroverts. I am controlling, determined, and focused, and well, most teachers are a bit ADHD. I am driven to succeed, to perform, to solve problems, and most teachers simply are not this way. I am an oddity, as usual, the odd man (or girl) out.

Still, I have been successful in teaching. I am happy where I am at for now. But, I want so much more. Is that wrong? Is that awful?

I look at my colleagues at Regent. So many of them are teachers and they are so happy. They love their work. They shout, they smile, they profess with such enthusiasm about their work. I don't. I like it. But, in truth, I don't love it.

My heart's desire is to do the Lord's work. My desire is to be used by Him in whatever capacity He needs me to work, and to do it with a willing, a cheerful, and a happy heart. I long to please Him, to adore Him, and to worship Him. I want my work to matter, for sure. I want deep satisfaction that I am making a difference. I see that I am making a difference. I see it. But I also think I could be doing so much more. I could be working in my strength and not my weakness. I could be achieving great things, not to please Him or to prove to Him, but simply because I can do all things through Christ who strengthen's me. I want to say like Eric Liddell,

" I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure."

I may not run, but I can problem-solve, analyze, and contribute to quality work. It is my strength, it is what I am good at, and I want to feel the Lord's pleasure when I am doing that which He created me to do.

I have always been conflicted about this notion because I have been told that what I should be seeking is the Lord's work -- ministry, healing the hurts, binding the wounded, and reaching the lost. Yes, I want to do those things too. But I want to achieve, to overcome, and to problem solve because this is what makes my heart happy. It is what gives me such pleasure. I think it is what I do best, and when I am doing my best, I feel happy, satisfied, and content.

So today, I stepped out in faith and I applied for a job as an analyst. Will I get this position? I don't know. I have asked for the Lord's will and I will accept it. I feel that it is or was His will for my to apply so we will wait and see what comes to pass. I know that the plan He has for my life is good, and I am happy to be thinking this way. Perhaps just taking this step of faith has helped clear my mind, reinforce what I have been thinking about for so long, and the truth of the matter that says that while I may be a good teacher, I am really a great analyst.

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