"Run as fast as you can. Now. Just go . . ." The voice is a little more urgent now.
The urge to flee is almost stronger than I can resist.
Why is this my knee-jerk reaction?
There is the Devil, whispering in my ear, trying to convince me that the only solution is to run. To run away from the people who love and care about me instead of towards them. To run away from my problems.
I am a runner.
Because I don't want them to see the horrible person that I am. I don't want their comfort because I don't deserve it.
God, I need you! Where are you? Why have you abandoned me? Why have you forgotten me?
This was all part of a wrestling match that I had with God almost a year ago now. My brother-in-law had just gotten his dream job. I was really excited for him and my sister's family. But at the same time, I felt consumed by envy and grief.
Both of my siblings are married and have kids. "Successes" in a twisted view of unworldly success. And I was the one with the "worldly" success. I was the one with the good job, the higher education, the potential career. And that made it okay - I didn't have a family because God had a different plan for my life.
But then my brother got a good job and now my brother-in-law had this perfect job using his new master's degree and it wasn't fair. Because now I was the unmarried sibling who couldn't get a job in her chosen field. My failure was highlighted by their success. I didn't want their pity.
Right. I was a horrible person. I was making this exciting moment for my brother-in-law all about me. I was a selfish, evil person. And if they took one look at me, they'd know. I couldn't face them.
The little voice egged me on. Leave. Start over. They won't even know you are gone. It's too hard to be around them when they have everything and you have nothing.
Tears are running down my face. But I'm not going to run.
But God, where are you? Am I invisible to you? Why do you keep tempting me with glimpses of a dream only to take it away again? Don't I matter? I don't understand.
There were a lot of tears and some more yelling at God. It had been four years since I graduated from law school - what was He waiting for? I let the tears run their course. And as I calmed down, I felt like God told me to do several specific things.
One of those things was to just make myself apply to a few jobs that night. So I went to my school's job site and found two to apply for. One of them was for the Cole's County State's Attorney's Office.
(Now I want to be clear - I'd been applying for jobs for four years. So it wasn't just like, oh I haven't applied for anything, so once I do, I'll get a job. I'd suffered rejection after rejection. And I was at the point where I was starting to think about what I was going to do with the rest of my life, since it didn't look like I was going to be able to practice law).
I honestly thought at that moment that I was going to get two more rejections. But I was obedient any way.
The NEXT DAY I was driving to my dance lesson when I got a call. (Hands-free, don't worry). Coles County wanted to interview me! This was less than 24 hours after I'd sent in my application.
Okay, God, I guess you haven't forgotten me.
Not long after that, my mom drove down to Charleston with me for the interview. She waited outside on the square while I went in for the interview.
About 2 weeks later I was camping with my family and I got a text asking me to call the State's Attorney's office. Of course I'm out in the woods with not-so-great reception! I think I was trembling when I called them, I was so nervous.
And then there were more tears. My sister, who was sitting with me at the campsite, couldn't figure out if I got the job or not. I finally managed to squeak out that THEY OFFERED ME THE JOB!!!
Annnnd then there were more tears. Tears from my family who had been praying along with me for SO long. And then we got to tell my entire extended family the good news!
And when the excitement had died done and the tears were all dried, then the panic set in. I realized I was going to be moving far away from my friends, family, church, and everything that was familiar to me. I would be starting completely over. Plus I had to move, again. (Yay 9 times in 9 years). And now I needed to find a place to live!
But God wasn't done yet. My parents drove down with me to look for apartments. My boss and my one friend in Charleston both suggested that I call this one particular realtor. She told me that she had agreed to rent her last apartment to a young doctor who was going to look at the apartment that weekend. Unfortunately for him, he just didn't show up - which made her concerned about the type of tenant he would be. So suddenly, she had an available apartment!
She told me it had a huge kitchen (big selling point for a baker) but when I saw it, I couldn't believe how big it was.
I then started to worry that I had built this whole thing up so much in my head that there was no way I was going to like the job as much as I thought I would. It had been so long since law school and I felt like I forgot everything I learned there. What if they fired me after two weeks?
But I worried for nothing. I LOVE my job. The people I work with (mostly) are great and I have so much fun at work. I'm insanely busy and the work is hard, but I actually enjoy going to work. I've been here almost 9 months and I've learned so much. It's so clear to me that this was the best place for me to start my career.
Back when I was still waiting for God to show me His plan, a very wise friend of mine pointed out that most of the people in the Bible had periods of waiting. Particularly Joseph. He spent years waiting, mistreated and sold into slavery by his own brothers, a prisoner for something he didn't do, all the while holding on to the promise God gave him in his dreams. Probably if someone told him he was going to end up as Pharaoh's right hand man, he would have laughed in their face. When we read the story, we know how it ends, so it's easy to gloss over that time of waiting and suffering. Joseph didn't know. He didn't know if he'd be stuck in prison for the rest of his life. He might have thought that God had forgotten him too. But really, God just needed him in the right place at the right time.
Here's what I realized. It was extremely difficult for me to move away from my family and friends and to venture out on my own. It's getting easier now, but it's still hard. And although that time of waiting and wondering was really difficult as well, I can see why it had to happen.
I wouldn't have been ready to go four years earlier.
If I had been offered this job right out of law school, I'm not sure that I would have taken it. God had to get me to the place where I was ready to take the scary step of starting over completely.
How ironic, that Satan was urging me to run away from the people who love me the most. And then I ended up leaving them, but not running away. I left with their support and encouragement, instead of isolating myself.
In the sermon at my church on Sunday, the speaker said, "God's will is what we would do if we knew all of the facts." The hard part is that we don't know all the facts, so sometimes (well maybe a lot of the time) we don't understand why things are the way they are. But we know that God is good and that He loves us. And hopefully each time we have one of these stories, we learn to trust Him a little bit more.