July 6, 2016

Waiting for Closure

It is a welcomed Wednesday here in sunny and hot Phoenix. The skies are clear, the air temperature is our normal (dry) heat. There are no showers on our radar for the next week to ten days, so generally our monsoon has been a BIG BUST. So much for an El Nino summer, eh? I was telling my dad that perhaps an El Nino wet winter brings a La Nina dry summer. Either way, it is dry, dry, dry, and that means no rain for us anytime soon.

The summer monsoon in Arizona is a big deal. We (native and those transplanted) Phoenicians look forward to the summer rains all year. We love our sunny days, but when June and July roll around, we are ready, so very READY for relief. Especially in July and August, when the hot and humid weather rolls up from Mexico -- the rains bring welcome relief -- and usher in a more sub-tropical climate. Until the rains come, we suffer. The outside air temperature feels like an oven. It is like when you open the door to check on your dinner, and BAM, you are smacked in the face with 450 degrees of dry heat. Well, welcome to Arizona in the summer time! Oh, that the Lord would send sweet cooling rain to us soon...

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime;
it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
and plants of the field to everyone (Zech. 10:1 NIV)




Panic, Pressure, and Pause

I had a good night's sleep even though I went to bed worrying about that job posting and interview two weeks ago.  I am not sure what happened, but sometime yesterday, I lost my good sense or that good sense of peace that I found late last week. Like I said, I am not sure what happened, but it seemed that the more I “thought” about the job, the more I felt uneasy and unwell. Let me explain… 

Doubting Again

I guess the whole mess began early on in the morning. I was thinking about the job, whether or not the HR people had updated the “status” of the job posting, and whether or not there was any indication that they had “made a decision” on a candidate. It has been twelve days since I interviewed, and six days since the hiring manager said they would make a decision. The waiting has been deadly for me. I have wondered, pondered, vacillated, and doubted if this job was even the Lord’s will for my life. It has been a difficult process, but with no movement in sight to let me know one way or another, I have had no other choice but to plod on, to carry on, and to do the work I have on my plate today.

So, after some indecision, I finally made the choice to check the status. When I logged into the career website, my application still shows as “interviewing,” and the job posting says, “accepting applications.” This has been the same status showing now for a week, so I “assumed” that meant that they hadn’t found the “right candidate” yet and that they weren’t going to make a decision anytime soon. In truth, part of me hoped that the status had changed, and that I would see the words, “no longer under consideration” posted. Yes, what a relief that would be to me!  I would know FOR SURE, FOR CERTAIN, that this job was not going to happen, and as a result, I could let it go and I could move on with the business at hand.

However, with no change in status, I started to second-guess my observation. You know, I thought perhaps I was being hasty in my judgement, and that perhaps I was jumping to conclusions. I started to consider that the reason for the delay in letting me know the outcome of the interview process was due to the 4th of July holiday. It’s plausible, realistic to think that the hiring manager may have taken vacation over that weekend and that he wasn’t able to make the “decision” when he said he would. More so, there would be a myriad of reasons why the decision wasn’t made BESIDES not finding the best candidate. I mean, really, it is not uncommon for HR departments to be slow to hire new candidates. I guess I just wanted this whole process to be over, and the sooner I heard “yay or nay,” the better. 

I think what got to me most was the fact that whenever I started to think about the job, the salary, etc., there was a part of me that liked what I imagined. Yes, there was a part of me that could envision living this way, and that could envision what my life would be like with a good paying job again. I cannot lie and say I didn’t like what I imagined. No, in reality, thinking about that job was very nice. It was VERY NICE indeed. I mean, I thought about all the things I could do, purchases I could make, and how quickly I could get my bills taken care of (my credit cards, etc.). 

But no matter how nice those thoughts were, it seemed that as soon as I began to consider this way again, my peace started to drift away. And, the more I thought along these lines, the more I began to get this feeling of intense panic, pressure, and stress. More so, as the day wore on, and I thought about what might be “IF” this job did come to pass, I began to feel more stressed. I prayed to the Lord throughout the day, asking for His help, for clarification on the truth, and yes, for a final answer. I had hoped that, “maybe,” the answer would come in the form of an email, that I might get that final word from HR telling me “sorry, no such luck” this time. Unfortunately, by last night, with no new information, I was a mess. My stomach was twisted in a knot, and I couldn’t fall asleep. I tried to no avail, but it seemed like my mind would not be silent. It would just race with thoughts about the job, the opportunity, and the finality of the door being opened or closed. 

Confirmation on Going or Staying

All last week, I felt miserable as I waited for confirmation on this job. My mind was so preoccupied, so distracted. I didn’t get any work done on my proposal, and frankly, I didn’t do anything other than binge-watch episodes on Amazon Instant Video. Sigh! In all my doubting, I was so confused. I mean, I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted the job. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go or if I was even making sense of things. More so, I felt this horrible panic like if I didn’t get that email asking me to interview again or saying, “Not interested,” I was going to wither away. 

Part of me wondered if the way I felt was because I knew my Dad wanted this job for me, that he wanted to know that I had this good job so I could pay my own way. Perhaps it was that I knew I needed that job so badly in order to buy my son a car, to pay off my credit cards, and to get myself out of debt. Or perhaps it was just that I thought the job seemed to be another one of those “God things” where the Lord opened the door, and His will is confirmed and completed in one-fell swoop. Sigh! I so wanted this experience to be like that, to be just like my previous experiences where I am called to interview, and “BAM,” I get the job. I mean, this is how it has been — consistently — since I started living on my own. Yes, this is how it happened when I applied to Macy’s, UOPX, CVS, then GCU, and Centene. It seemed that every job I interviewed for since 2010 proved fruitful to me. The process was simple —I went, I had a nice conversation, I was called the next day or within 1-2 days, — and I was hired. I just showed up, and the Lord did everything for me. Except that is since I started teaching at GCU in 2013. Yes, since I started teaching, however, everything has changed. I have applied numerous times, but nothing has come to pass. I have been offered part-time work, and even processed some paperwork for other jobs, but nothing has materialized for me. 

So when I applied to this job at UHC, it seemed like I was back to business again. I applied and was offered an invitation to interview. I interviewed and had a nice conversation with the hiring manager. I left two weeks ago hearing him say, “We will make a decision by next Friday,” and I think, “Okay, this is good. I should hear right away.” I was hopeful. I was optimistic. I said as much. I told my parents, “it seems like a sure thing.” My dad said, “You’ve got this job.” But instead of the door opening for me to move to the next phase of the process, I have only received silence. So I wait. I wait for information. I wait for a decision. I wait. And, then there is more waiting. Now, I am not so sure. I start to doubt the process, doubt the intentions of the hiring manager, and even doubt God. Yes, I am filled with doubts, unsure whether I am to stay put or go in a new direction. UGH!

Is this job meant to be? Or am I simply going through the steps, passing through the “fire” so to speak as a test or trial? 

My good friend said that sometimes the Lord asks you to interview so that you can be prepared, practiced, so to speak. I am not sure. I probably could say that is so, but it seems like most of the time, He just moves me into the role or job He chooses. I do remember, however, that there was a time early on when this seemed to be true. Back in 2010, when I was unemployed after everything went sideways for me, I prayed so hard and so long for a job. I needed a job so badly, and the Lord didn’t provide one to me. My Uncle provided a small stipend for me to live on back then, but for 7 months, I applied, applied more, and applied several times each day. I was interviewed 2-3 times, but nothing came to pass. In truth, I knew that I was to rest, like physically rest. I knew that I was to take the down-time to recover from the previous two years of crisis (medical and marital). And, thanks be to God, in time He did provide good part-time work for me. But, there was no full-time work for 18 months. I still tried to find good work, but I was also starting my Masters program, and I wanted to work part-time so I could get used to graduate work, to do my best in my courses, etc. After a year or so, I could see that I couldn’t remain part-time for much longer. My marriage was ending, my ex-husband wanted out of our home, and our house was in foreclosure. I needed to move out and to do that, I needed a way to pay my living expenses. Then the job at UOPX came about, and well, that changed my life forever.

So, there is this is part of me that wonders if the reason why I am not getting a full-time offer is because the Lord thinks it is best for me to remain part-time until I graduate from Regent University. I wonder if this is why I am "stuck" where I am so that I can finish my dissertation and graduate on time. Perhaps the Lord knows that I need to work part-time for one more year. Perhaps it is to keep my student loans from coming due too soon. I don't know, I just don't know. I wonder about it, whether I am making all this up, whether I am just being paranoid to some extent.

Still, I sit here today and think it is odd that I went to this interview so quickly, I mean, after 17 applications with this company and no takers, I get a bite within 1-2 days of applying. It sure did seem like He was moving quickly, opening the door, making a new way for me to go. Then, WHAM, it is as if the door slammed shut.

O' Lord, please help me to understand what I should do in regard to this situation. Please help me to know if I need to simply let this go, no longer consider it at all, and just stay where I am for the next year.



Faith and Rest

It is 12:30 and I am getting ready to head out to the store for some eggs and a few other needed items. After I finished the first part of this blog post, I got in the shower and got myself dressed. I was praying while I was showering, seeking the Lord for His guidance and advice, and all the while, asking for clarification so I would know what to do. As with most of my issues, I confessed my sin -- fear, doubt, stubborn unwillingness to do things His way, etc. Then I spent some time reflecting on where I am today, what could possible be my next steps, and so forth. In the end, I realized that the Lord wouldn't have opened the door for me to interview IF He had not wanted me to sincerely apply myself to this position. I simply do not see my Lord in this way. He is not a tyrant, a dictator or someone who purposely causes these kinds of situations to come about for the "fun of it." No, the Lord had a reason in mind, and He permitted me to apply and interview. Thus, I have to believe that I have every possible chance of being hired as the next person. More so, because it is the Lord who goes before me, I have every single chance of being hired so long as it is His will and His provision for my life. Therefore, I must reply with the psalmist -- in whom do we place our trust? My trust is in the Lord, my God and my Savior. If it is His will, then it will be so.

I realized, better late than not at all, that the Lord may indeed choose this position for me. He may open this door and let this come to pass. Or He may send me another way. Regardless, what I do today matters. I must be optimistic, eager, filled with excitement and anticipation since it is the Lord who goes before me.

Once I pulled myself together, I prayed over the decision to send an email to the hiring manager. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea, but then I thought, "Well, why not?" At the most, it shows my interest and my professionalism. At the least, it shortens or hastens the moment of knowing "yay or nay." It is a win-win for me. I either find out positive or negative news, but either way, I will know the outcome, and then I can move on.

Praying for good news...may it be to His liking and His good pleasure...and may I receive His blessed provision this good, good day.

P.M. Update

So it is 7:30 p.m. and I guess I had hoped to receive a reply to my email from this afternoon. I figure the hiring manager doesn't feel it is appropriate to reply to candidate emails. I have emailed him twice, once right after the interview, and then earlier this afternoon. I haven't received any replies at all. The email didn't bounce back so I am assuming he received them. Oh well...

It is a dicey game, emailing hiring managers, and all. But, I thought it was the professional thing to do. Whether or not I am hired is immaterial. It is more a matter of common courtesy and professionalism. I would treat a colleague the same way, thanking them for their time, etc. I am not going to read anything into the matter tonight because perhaps the man is out of town or ill. Still, I had to always put an "out of office" email on even when I was ill. Sigh!

I guess part of me wonders about this organization. Perhaps my standards are too high. In my role as professor, I am required to respond to student emails within 24-48 hours. If I do not have the information requested, I still must reply and let the student know I am working on the problem or issue. I was required to do the same at UOPX and CVS. I think it is odd that this large of a healthcare company doesn't have auto-responders or other email replies setup. It seems strange to me.

Well, I am not going to worry about it any longer. I have devoted too much time to this position already, and frankly, I am getting tired of sitting around and waiting to hear some news. I am moving on with the business at hand, and that means, my research project and my plans for fall courses. 

The Lord may choose to open this door for me, choose to provide this position, or choose to delay it for another week, two or even three. However, this seems fishy, and with my contracts in place, I simply do not see how I can wait 6-7 weeks before I receive any word of acknowledgement. I am scheduled to teach at OCU beginning in two weeks. I have contracts starting 8/15 and 8/25 and that means I have a lot on my plate. If this is His will, He will give me a sense of great peace, wellness, and comfort so that I know it is so. If it is not His will, then He will give me a sense that it is time to let this be, to let go and to let things slide by. I am okay with being a professor for the rest of my life. I need a full-time faculty position at some point, but until the Lord provides, I will be content right where I am at today. He is good, so very good to me. He has me well-covered, and He does indeed know what is best for my life. Selah! Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

Psalm 121 NASB

The LORD the Keeper of Israel.

A Song of Ascents.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.

The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

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