It’s really hard to move forward when you feel like you’re standing still no matter what you do or how much effort you put into trying to move forward. As you know, I’ve been technically unemployed for almost two years now and will slide over that two-year mark on April 21, 2011. As a Christian I know that we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) and that God’s timing is vital at the transition points (in fact all points) in our lives.
I never dreamed when I lost my job on April 21, 2009, that two years later I would still be looking for that elusive job, or maybe now it’s not a job but something else that will move me in another direction. I have learned some incredible lessons during these past two plus years ever since I left Florida for Houston in September 2008 for the job that I lost in April 2009. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that so many people in America call themselves Christians but rarely ever, except maybe when they attend church, open their Bible on a daily basis and read what God has to say to us every single day if we will only do it. I was guilty of that myself. As Christians in America many times (most of the time, I dare say) we run on the fumes of last Sunday’s sermon (if we even went to church) or the Christian celebrities on TV and somehow think that we can live this Christian life by osmosis. I know that personally for more years then I care to remember I spent little time in the Bible except when times went bad. But for some reason, the day I landed in Houston to start my new job there, I felt a quickening in my spirit to start getting up very early in the morning a couple of hours or more before work and spend time with God reading the Bible and praying.
To say the least it has totally transformed my life over the past 2 1/2 years since I started doing this and continue to do to this day. In March 2009, when I was in the thick of the battle at work and knew that my days there were numbered, I gained a strength from my time with the Lord and reading His Word every morning that was simply astounding to me and helped me to navigate my way through some very perilous waters. He really was beside me every step of the way. I began writing in a journal that month noting mostly the passages of the Bible that I read everyday with very little commentary about my personal life except at key points and I kept this up for a very long time.
The struggles I have gone through these past 2 1/2 years have been some of the hardest and most intense in my lifetime, yet the things I have learned I wouldn’t replace for anything, not even the best job in the world with the fanciest title or a big fat salary. No… nothing in this world holds a candle to getting to really know the God of this Universe and Jesus Christ and all the treasures found in the Old and New Testaments including how we should be living our lives on a daily, hour-by-hour basis. Setting aside our “wants” and all the “self” focus of so much of Christianity in today’s culture to learn from the Creator Himself is like nothing else, and it can and will transform your life. But you can’t leave the Bible on a shelf and ever get to really understand who He is and how He really wants us to live by listening to other people talk about Him and focusing on yourself and what you “want” from Him. You wouldn’t ignore your spouse or close friend or family members and expect to learn everything about them by only listening to what others say about them or focusing on you, would you? So why do we do that with God? We are quick to blame God for the hard times that come into our lives, but we never take the time to get to know Him. Take the time… now. Not tomorrow or next week or next month or next year. Now. If you call yourself a Christian, you can’t live without reading His Word and praying daily. On the day I lost my job almost two years ago, the LAST thing I would have ever done was blame God. On the contrary, because He had lit a fire in me on the first day I landed in Houston to get into His Word and read it and pray for understanding and set my own desires and agenda aside to find His desire for me, He began a work in me that continues to this very day and will continue until the day I breathe my last breath. And I wouldn’t trade these past 2 1/2 years, including all the money I lost moving to Houston and all of the material possessions I lost moving back to Florida, and how financially tight things have been for the past two years for the incredibly awesome ways He has met my needs every single step of the way and opened my eyes and my life to the incredible wonders of seeing the world through His eyes and His heart instead of my own.
And it’s not just about the fact that He has met my needs and opened up my life in incredible ways but that He also, very importantly, showed me the areas of my life that had been significantly hindering my progress in life and helped me to clean up my act (it’s called repentance–and we all need it on a regular basis). I have also had some rather significant anger issues that had followed me through life and although it took the better part of 2010 to get to the bottom of them (some of these issues went back many years) with His help I spent the year unraveling those anger issues and can say that the significant anger I have carried internally most of my life is finally breathing its very last breath. And, I have discovered a freedom that I have never felt in all of my 58 years. I have also discovered a love that was not possible until I could finally take my eyes off of myself and my needs or my hurts and really looked at the needs of others.
That’s not to say that I’m perfect in any of this, but I’m light years ahead of where I was just 2 1/2 years ago, and it’s because I realized how pointless it was to call myself a Christian when I hadn’t really taken quality, daily time to get to know the God of this Universe, and Jesus Christ, and let the Holy Spirit transform me by the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:2—“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”).
The journey has been worth every tear I’ve shed, every heartache I’ve experienced, and every transforming Word I’ve read in the Bible over these past 2 1/2 years. If your life is stagnant or your hurts are deep (mine were) or you’ve just experienced a devastating event in your own life, don’t wait. Pick up a Bible today and ask God to show you what to read, and do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and before long your life will change from the inside out… and He might just also change the outside of your life, too.
I’m still waiting to see where He leads me next… and no, it’s not a passive waiting (I’ve applied for over 400 jobs in the past two years and I’m attending networking groups on a weekly basis and I found a church home at the beginning of 2011), but while I take all of these steps in moving forward, He can still come up with something totally out of the blue. And I’ll wait for Him, because He’s all I want (Psalm 23).
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