Thursday, February 01, 2007

Calling All Wise Counselors!

I am in a weird place tonight--Limbo Land. Sometime, dangling between now and a nebulous point we'll call "soon," I'll have to make a big decision--then again, maybe I won't.

I am one of two finalists in a job search.

For the sake of argument, or analysis, let's assume I will be offered the job. My uneasiness stems from my confusion about whether to leave a job I love for another job I could love which happens to offer one big, significant perk plus some nice others.

On the surface, it's a no-brainer:

New Job:
--Same pay
--Same hours ... BUT
--50% off my kids' college tuition
--3 weeks off at Christmas
--1 week off at spring break
--Summers off

I think it would be appropriate to insert a spritely happy dance here at the notion of such great gains.

That's on the surface. Below the surface lies:

Old Job:
--Where I feel very competent & comfortable (hugely important to me since I thrive on routine and safety, not exciting, new adventures)
--Where I feel effective in ministry by supporting a great staff
--Where the staff feels like family, and that is no overstatement
--Where I can wear jeans!
--That is 7 minutes away from home (other is 30 minutes away)
--Also has lots of vacation time
--Almost four years invested

Both organizations are premiere, in my opinion. I would be proud to be affiliated with either one, feel honored to serve in ministry either place, see both opportunities as humbling blessings. I don't know why God is so good to me.

For several days I have been wringing my hands and "toiling and spinning," although I know better than to behave that way. I am fearful of making the wrong move, of missing God's voice or misreading his will. This decision is important, because as Rick Warren has convinced us, "It's not about me." Ultimately, it's about the needs of my family, my beloved church/ministry, and an awesome university.

One wise counselor has encouraged me to keep reading the Bible, since that is the usual first place the Holy Spirit speaks to me. God also uses my pastor's sermons, radio ministries, other people and music, often not just "Christian" music, to reinforce his guidance. I try not to rely on my emotions nor do anything contrary to scriptural principles. In this case, I am trying to decide between two good things.

I'm interested in what you think. Do you believe that God has a "perfect will" for each of our lives? Or do you think that, outside the clear boundaries and principles of scripture, as in situations like this, God is not set on one option, but instead says in effect, "Either is fine if you are walking with Me." In other words, is my position or task not as important as who I am in Him and how I'm being transformed into His likeness?

There is a decision-making process involving scripture, prayer, seeking wise counsel, "shaking hands with the decision," (making a commitment) and then gauging your comfort, or peace-level, with that decision. If you're peaceful, you've probably made the right decision. If you're not peaceful, that means you've given up the job that you loved and they've replaced you and you can never, ever, ever, get that that job back!!!! . . . Ha.

Well, the scriptures that seem to be standing out to me are in Exodus where the Israelites are trapped between mountains and the sea. The bad guys are closing in. The Israelites are wringing their hands, and Moses, a very wise counelor at this point, says, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Also, in Exodus 13:14, God tells Moses to stop praying ("crying out") and get moving. James 1:6 says that when a man prays, he "must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." I have felt exactly like that wave.

Finally, the note on Exodus 13:15 says, "The Lord told Moses to stop praying and get moving! Prayer must have a vital place in our lives, but there is also a place for action. Sometimes we know what to do, but we pray for more guidance as an excuse to postpone doing it. If we know what we should do, then it is time to get moving."

I have been asking God to open and close doors. In the meantime, I think he is asking me to draw close to him, to trust and obey. And although I admit I'm afraid, I think I am ready to move if I receive the order.

So, my conclusion is: I'm still open to wise counsel. And as much as I'm able, I'll pray without ceasing, pray without doubting, quiet my transparent, faithless churning, follow God through open doors, and accept closed doors with joy. I have open hands and an open heart that trusts in the faithfulness of my God. And, even in Limbo Land, I feel the undercurrent of His peace.


Roxanne said...

That is a hard decision. . .I am one who believes that God sometimes says, "This way or that--both look good to me--I will be with you either way."

That doesn't make your choice any easier, but I think "waiting" right now is where He wants you to be. And once the waiting is over, what a story you will have to tell!

Barbara H. said...

Personally -- I do believe God has a specific will for people. There are too many instances in Scripture of the right person at the right time and place and situation, of God giving specific instructions like telling David he wanted Solomon, not him, to build the temple, etc. But a lot of people differ with me, and that's ok. :)

We faced this several years ago when my husband was facing a major job change which would involve uprooting the family and moving to another state. In every previous job situation, it was a matter of walking through opened doors and stopping at closed ones. This time there was not a situation where we had to look for another job (like a plant closing). Everything seemed to be pointing to the new job opportunity, but we were reluctant to make such a major change without being sure. My husband talked with the pastor, who shared Prov. 16:1: "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD." He said that after earnestly praying about it and seeking and desiring God's will, checking out the circumstances, getting godly counsel, etc., then when the time comes to give an answer, we can trust that the answer that comes is from the Lord. In that situation we didn't feel we had a clear answer until just before time to give it.

Linda said...

well, that's encouraging. I hope to find out today (they said by week's end) so that i won't have to wait over the weekend, but we'll see. Thanks for your help.

Linda said...

Barbara, I have read your post over several times, and I appreciate your words so much. Both you and Roxanne really encouraged me. Thank you so much.

Carol said...

You share with us a bit of wavering in your faith. Thank you.

You also share how your faith is strengthened through working through the wavering. Thank you again.

I believe God does care about the details in our lives and the direction we take, and I also believe that He often is very clear with us about His will. Keep listening for that.

Also know that He can bless and use you in either place. Sometimes I think His silence is His way of letting me know that He's leaving this one up to me. (As if He doesn't already know what I'll chose and already has His perfect plan in place, right?)

You are on your knees and searching scripture. I have no doubt you will glorify Him in either job.

Sorry. I know I'm not much help.

Carol said...

Hi Linda,

I believe we are always in God's will whatever we do. God is in control of all that happens. Of course, we will have consequences for decisions we make, some good, some bad, but that's God's will too, I believe. So whatever decision you make, there will be good experiences and bad, and lessons to learn thru them. A little different perspective, I know.

Enjoy your blog!
A lurker, Carol

samurai said...

Hello Linda. There are times when it feels like God is silent isn't there. :)

I like Barabara's answer as well.

One thing I know is that sometimes the deciding factor is not in the job iteslf but in the surrounding areas. How it will affect your relationship with you family? How will it affect your serving in your church?

Sometimes we need to step out of those comfort zones in order for ourselves to grow. And there could be valuable lessons in the new situation in order to learn from.

It may not help you make this decision - but you did take the time to apply for the job in the first place. Maybe this is a situation similar to when the spies went into the promised land?