In June of 2014 God made it clear to me that I was to prepare to leave the para-church ministry that I led and start a new career. My husband and I had new goals as we faced an empty nest and mid-life, and to accomplish those goals I needed to increase my income and be in a career with upward mobility. The small nonprofit I led couldn’t provide any of those things for us.
I filled out my first job application in October, and had my first interview the same month. I naively thought that God was going to land me my next dream job at this first interview, and that I would seamlessly transition from the job of lifetime to another job of a lifetime. Little did I know that my journey was going to be much different.
Humbling Through Trial
In January of 2015 I said goodbye to the organization that I had loved and dedicated my life to for seven years. I followed God when He said leave, and following Him meant leaving my full time job and not having a new one to go to. I was home for four months before getting a new job. I really expected that when God said leave the ministry that He would have the next best thing lined out for me, or at least according to my standards.
I spent my days catching up on projects at home, fine tuning my resume, and applying for jobs. I had one interview after the other and no job offer. So I kept trying. God has something for me. I know it. He won’t let me sit idle for very long, yet all the doors that I wanted to open stay closed.
Someone at my church heard that I was looking for work and asked me to send her my resume. I searched online to find out where she worked to get an idea of what I was applying for. I remember looking at the company and saying to myself, and God, I do not want to work there. That’s not where God wants me. Guess where I got a job? Yes. At that company.
My new job was everything I didn’t want. I went from being a busy nonprofit manager to doing minimal administrative work. Everyone kept telling me to enjoy this new job and consider how God was giving me rest. I didn’t want rest though. I wanted and needed to follow God’s plan for a new career, and this surely couldn’t be it.
I went to work faithfully, but cried most days on the way home. How can this be what God wants for me? It just can’t be. I continued to apply to other jobs, researched going back to school and worked hard to excel at my current position. If God was shutting all the doors then I persevere and make the best of the opportunities He gave me.
I have been at this job for a year and a half. I start work on my MBA next week. After a year and a half of research my husband and I agreed going back to school was a good decision. This morning I had a phone interview with a company that I would love to work at and that gets me closer to the type of work I used to do, but with a better salary.
The recruiter asked me if it was hard to go from being a leader to a supportive role. At that moment I realized the amazing work God had done in my life through this career transition. If the recruiter had asked me that question a year ago I would have given her a overly confident textbook answer, but this morning was different.
I began to smile as I realized that I was right where I needed to be the past year and a half. I was far from where I wanted to be, but was where I needed to be. I smiled and then told the recruiter that being in a supportive role was good for me and gave me the opportunity to rest. I was able to work but then go home and enjoy my family. As a leader of a nonprofit with no staff I lived and breathed my job. Now I could work during the day, and go home and rest at night.
I told her that the time in the supportive role has given me time to access who I am and where I realistically am in my career. When I stepped down as an Executive Director I thought I had the skills, experience and knowledge to step right into another management position, but in reality I was not ready for that.
God led me to a job that gave me increased income, a slower work schedule, increased benefits, and able to work with a great group of people. I fought Him at every point. This can’t be what you want for me, and with utter patience He said yes, it is. You need this. I have great plans for you, but for now you need this. Today I could finally see it.
I told the recruiter that I am in a good place today. I am ready to learn and grow and support the leaders of this nonprofit. I want to help them accomplish the mission, and lighten their burden. Wow! Look what God has done. He has humbled me, and in doing so has made me more ready for what He has in store for the future.
I don’t know if I will get another interview with this organization, and you know what? I truly just want to be where God wants me, and if it’s in this new position then Amen, and if it’s not, Amen!
Perhaps God has me where He wants me, or perhaps He has a plan for me to re-enter the nonprofit world. Whatever He has for me will be good, for me and His glory. I am satisfied with God.