When I was 4 years old, my parents decided that I was ready for kindergarten (or they were ready for me to be at school during the day…) and enrolled me in a small Christian school on the other side of the mountain from my rural home. At the end of each day, we’d all line up at the door to wait for the vans that took us back across the mountain. The principal – who was also the pastor – stood in line with us, and in between rounds of “Miss Mary Mack” and “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…” she’d try to talk to us about God. I don’t have many memories of my days at that school, but one afternoon is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday and not 32 years ago. She looked me in the eyes and said, “If you really listen – if you’re really quiet – sometimes you can hear God speaking to you.”
Those words were magical. For years I waited, prayed, sat quietly in silence, laid still in my bed at night before falling asleep. I wanted God to talk to me. I wanted to know His plan for my life.
Now I realize that she likely said those words to me to encourage silence and stillness, two traits that I didn’t possess at that age and still sometimes struggle to find. Maybe God did speak to her and she wanted to share that miracle with me. Or maybe she was just sick of Amy Sings the Hits every afternoon. Either way, I find myself still waiting…listening.
Six years ago I stumbled upon the job I have now. With little intention and no grand plan, I became a social media marketer, speaker, author, business owner. Some of the success I’ve found – while amazing – has done nothing to meet any particular goals of mine. Other pieces of this strange life I lead have fulfilled some of my greatest desires, namely the ability to work from home while caring for my kids and becoming a published author. I am proud of my accomplishments. But I am done. There is no professional or financial goal on my horizon and I find myself…lost.
So I’m listening harder than ever to hear the voice of God.
– Why did God allow me to find such unexpected success?
– Am I now where He intended for me to be?
– Now that I’m here, what would He have me do with all that I’ve gained?
– What next…
Two Mays ago I traveled with Compassion International to Tanzania to witness their work in person. As the trip was ending, I found myself overwhelmed with guilt and shame that I hadn’t brought more sponsors to children. I felt, quite honestly, like a failure. I thought about returning home to to-do lists and inboxes and I was overcome by dread. The trip leaders implored us to not make any major changes in our lives for at least six months following the trip, so despite my inclination to leave it all, I moved slowly, made intentional changes in my life, continued to give of my time and talents to Compassion to find sponsors for more children. And now nearly two years later, I wonder again if I’ve done enough. Am I listening…
Today I read Jennie’s words:
There are no such things as spiritual and secular jobs – we just made that up. God calls people to himself, and then to display him in every way, wherever we are. So are you called to teach or write or mother or build home or fly planes? Beautiful. Do it as unto the Lord.
As I read, I realized that these last few years have not been spent waiting to hear God’s plans for me. God has been in my work every time I’ve shared my faith on this blog or shared my personal journey on Facebook. He’s been there every time I’ve responded in email with kindness instead of snark, in every business decision that I’ve made putting ethics before all else. Every time I’ve made a work decision that put my family first, He was there. And He has blessed me so that I can be a blessing.
I still feel that I am at a crossroads. I am still listening, waiting, praying to know what is next. But I’m embracing that God has been in the details – the big and the small – all this time and that while I listen, I need to also open my eyes and see what has been before me all along.