Signs

photo by Jahnvi

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

- I Kings 19:11-12

When I was an 18-year-old girl trying to figure out where to go to college, I desperately wanted God to speak to me, to tell me exactly where I was supposed to be and why. I wanted a sign: the right ACT score, a gloriously detailed acceptance letter, a phone call from the university president... I just wanted proof I was making the right decision.

Fast forward a few years, and I know -- despite never getting a high enough ACT score or a phone call from a university president -- I made the right decision. The road to my college experience was paved with all kinds of signs I completely ignored, quiet whispers from the Father guiding me toward my next step.

Sometimes we see the signs, but we look straight through them. We tend to look for something bigger, clearer, and we miss what's right in front of us.

Last month, I tearfully confessed to my husband I'd been feeling discontent with my job and with my career. I longed for a change, but I wasn't sure what that change would look like. Together, we took that need to the Father. We chose to pray boldly, asking for opened doors and new opportunities.

One week later, I had a job offer to run a bookstore in my hometown.

If you're familiar at all with my personal blog and my story, you know: This is the stuff my dreams are made of.

I was thrilled, but I was also hesitant. I worried about money, about job security, about working retail, about missing Saturday football games.

Despite a fairly clearcut sign from above -- an out-of-the-blue job offer I never in a million years could have anticipated -- I needed more proof.

I wanted God's answer to my prayers to match up with my human needs and expectations. I wanted to understand exactly how He would provide for my family if I took the job and brought in less income.

I needed more than the sign I'd been given.

So I went to my current boss, and I tried desperately to work out a part-time schedule, one in which I'd have been working part-time at my current job, and part-time at the bookstore. It would have resolved the questions in my head, would have guaranteed my income remained almost the exact same, would have been a way to ease into this dream I've had since I was 12.

It was a no-go, and for a brief moment, I felt such frustration. My personal plans weren't going to pan out, and I thought I might be destined to remain at my desk job for the time being.

Then it hit me that perhaps this had been the Father's plan all along. Yes, it's a decrease in income. Yes, it's a decrease in job security. Yes, it's a risk.

But it's also a leap of faith, and sometimes, our Father wants us to jump, not wade in little by little, toe by toe.

I think this was my Father's way of asking me to jump all in.

I had prayed for signs, for opportunities, and when one came my way, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

Sometimes our Father speaks in whispers.

Sometimes He speaks in grand gestures of His love.

This was a grand gesture, and I almost missed it. My human heart forgot to trust in a Creator who knows me better than I know myself.

Next week, I'll begin my full-time job as a local children's bookseller.

I can hardly believe that last sentence is true, but my husband continues to remind me: I serve a loving Father who has long been paying attention to my heart's desires. He has molded this situation perfectly to me. All He asks is that I pay attention to the whispers and the grand gestures, to the signs and silence. All He asks is for my attention, and ultimately, my trust.

I'm happy to say this time, I'm jumping all in.

8 comments:

  1. that sounds like an amazing job! I've been working through something similar (I'm a stay at home mom and may need to start working part time), thanks for sharing!

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  2. So very, very excited for you Annie. A real-life You've Got Mail job. Love it!

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  3. I wanted so badly the same thing when I was going to college. Oh, I doubted that decision so much. And even though I ended up transferring later, I know now looking back on it that all of it-the going there and then the transferring-was absolutely the right decision.

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  4. HE really is such a good, good GOD.
    Isn't it crazy how extravagantly HE loves us?!
    And so often we miss what HE has right in front of us...

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  5. How exciting for you! And that sounds like an amazing job, and so fun!

    Sometimes we think God should speak a certain way, that we should see an impossible to miss sign. But so often he speaks in ways that require faith to listen. That is the way our faith grows!

    Congratulations on your new direction in life!

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  6. Oh Annie! I am so thrilled for you! I just want to jump up and down and scream in joy with you!

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  7. That's so exciting! I've seen your blog here and there and I think I may even follow you on Pinterest (hopefully this doesn't sound too creepy), but I've never told you how cool it is that you're getting the opportunity to live out your dream + follow God's plan for you!

    Following His plans is something that's been stirring in my heart lately. In church sermons, in Bible reading, and in blogs (like your post!). Thanks for writing about it. I feel like career-wise, He's still revealing His plans for me, but it really feels good to read about other people's faith in Him and His perfect plans for us. :)

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  8. I am just praising God for this wonderful opportunity for you. God is soooo good! I know that these steps can be hard, I went through something quite similar a while back. One of our pastors preached the other day about listening for God and sometimes we just have to act on what we believe God is saying, and the more comfortable we get doing that, the more often we will recognize that still small voice and the signs God gives us. I pray that God prospers you in this new step.

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