I could feel the heat rising in my chest, to my face, if I was any lighter. the rose color would flush across my cheeks, exposing the vulnerability I felt in that moment.
I held back tears.
For far too long, my wheels have been spinning in my career. I know, my life looks glamorous to most, success has seemed continuous, and certainly I have made moves that some would envy. But, secretly I've stalled, in positions that ultimately, I do not love, and where my gifts have not fully flourished as I know they can. I've felt perpetual anxiety...how come they do not see me?
Again, I'd been passed up.
Since then, my marriage has failed, but I digress :) But, also my career has teeter-tottered, hanging, desperately on an edge that I simply haven't desired, and I haven't been comfortable. My experience with failure is lacking, sometimes failure is the catalyst you need for substantive changes.
My body starts to tense up from the stress, I say a quick, earnest prayer, "Lord, please, give me direction."
It's not often that God answers my prayers immediately or audibly, but lately I've been more attuned to that inner-voice. He reminded me of a scripture that has kept my sanity since early 2017.
II Chronicles 20:17 "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will give you Judah and Jerusalem, do not be discouraged, go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you
And then God busted me out, three more times, in the form of two sermons that aligned with that scripture, by two different, completely unrelated pastors, who preached the same thing, and then as if to say, "you think I'm playing..." a friend, who had no idea what I had been going through, RANDOMLY texted me the youtube link to the same exact sermon. Mind you, this happened within days of each other. By this point, I'm like okay God, you can stop answering now, because the answer was not flowery. Instead, the warning sent out, hurt, piercing and convicting me. It went a little like this...
"DEFEAT is attached to this version of you." -Pastor Tye Tribbett
"Your opportunity is wrapped in your obedience." -Pastor Michael Todd
Whoa. Talk about knocking the wind out of my sails. But, but...the excuses started flowing. I stopped before I could even fully start. I have been the problem.
There is no question that I am good at my job, I know that I am called to this, no doubt. But, I thought simply my calling was enough. That talent would carry where I was sloppy behind the scenes. Late, lackadaisical, disappointment and anger with decisions by those in authority. They had not kept promises, so I'd checked out of trying to please them at all. I didn't care, how they saw me. I came in "did my job" and left, no new friends. Some of that was hurt and doubt, but my calling should not have been dependent on the actions of others. I'm placed in this position to be obedient to God, only.
Thankfully, God has certainly hidden me that it hasn't caused me much trouble, but he couldn't hide me AND promote me. Promotion would leave me bare, naked, and unprepared. If I could not remain committed through the fire in this space, what happens when I'm elevated and in the fire?
These weren't the answers I was looking for when I asked God for direction. Not at all. I had already started to prepare my weapons, puff my chest out, and FIGHT. You don't want me...on to the next. But, then the whispers...
"You will not have to fight this battle." This was not a war where MY insufficient, and frankly wrong, weapons would conquer.
"Take up your positions, stand firm." The position I'm in right now, not the one I had my sights set on. Stand firm in it, be committed to it.
"See the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah, and Jerusalem." But God, I said...you know a better position means more money for myself, Sam, and Abram, I need to push, I argued. No, God alone will deliver. Trust him.
"Do not be discouraged, go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."
By this point, admittedly, I was full of mixed feelings. God, why do you always make things so hard for me? I know, whining, and complaining. LOL. But, he's reminded me to keep heart, that he is with me, that my calling hasn't left, but my strategy was lacking.
This story doesn't end with good news, yet. I had debated even writing something so deeply personal that had not already resolved itself. But, this is part of the calling too. I'm finally listening.
Below are links to both sermons, in case anyone needs their butt kicked like me: