“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy. “Help,” said the horse.
-The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse
I recently left my job of 22 years. Before making this decision, I prayed for God to make my path as clear as only He could. He did and I still questioned. I tried to rationalize, stood at the edge with my toes hanging into the abyss and took a hard look at the leap I asked God to help me take. I hesitated. I hemmed and hawed. I looked around and asked again, “This jump God? This one right here? Are you sure?” Then I jumped and what I thought was solid ground fell through. The job that was a sure thing was not. Insert full out panic mode!
I absolutely lost it. What had I done? It started an emotional tailspin that was epic! I began to frantically job search. I cried, screamed, anguished. I ran in circles. I dove into those deep dark places that whisper your biggest fears and I wallowed there. I questioned my worth. I questioned my intelligence. I questioned my sanity. I gave up a 22 year career in a very coveted role to begin what felt like the financial ruin of my family. How could I be so stupid! The one constant was that job. It had been there for me for the majority of my adult life. That job was as much me as I was it. I found my worth in that title. I was so proud of it. I earned it. That paycheck proved it. I invested so much energy. Gave up holidays, weekends, nights, precious time that could not be gotten back. What had I done?
The scramble continued. How could I fix this? Would I be able to fix this? I twisted in the emotion, the fear, the anxiety. What I did not do was pray. I did not stop and ask God what to do next. I did not thank Him for removing me from an environment that was not meant for me anymore. I failed to trust Him, even though he had never given me a reason not to. I failed to see Him as the true consistent constant in my life.
I found myself at home alone. A rare occasion to be sure. I was using the time to emotionally flog myself into a pulp. As I sat on my couch that day with my heart racing, my stomach rolling, the feelings so spent I couldn’t even think past the panic I was allowing to run roughshod over every particle of my being that it rendered me so twisted in on myself that I couldn’t move. That mean inner voice hurled insults, belittled and battered what little positive light I had left. Then, there was a whisper of a thought. Pray! The panic roared and I lost the word. What? My mind strained harder to hear. Be Still! Pray!
Why had I not thought of that? Because! I had done that and now I felt betrayed. I was angry and scared. I wanted this journey to be all sunshine and roses. I wanted a renewed sense of purpose after a really, really hard few years. I wanted it to be easy and fluid. I wanted the change, but not the work that is required. I wanted to be just as smart as God and take credit for His plan because we both thought of it. Being stubborn and headstrong are great qualities, but not when it comes to dealing with God. So I squared up with God and I wrestled. Looking back now it reminds me of Jacob wrestling the angel after he found himself alone in the desert stripped of all his worldly possessions.
“Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me your name”, I pray, and he said “Why is it that you ask about my name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” ~Genesis 32:29-30
I was stripped of some of my worldly security and wandering in a wasteland of my own creation, yet He met me there. I was running scared and using all I knew to use to force my objective and control. Now at any time God could have bested me, just as he could have bested Jacob. He knew the fight had to be completed full circle to allow my willful spirit to submit. He brought me through some pretty awful things in my life. He changed my future and negated my history. Why I felt the need to fight Him now is something I’m still working on. Now, he did not physically hurt me. No hips were harmed in this battle. He did however, break my heart. Which is incredibly painful and cripples you in a way that forces you to use it differently. It’s also a prayer that is prayed often by me. Break my heart Lord in a way that the only repair is through You. Pretty painful thing to pray for, but what He redeems and creates is always so much better.
When the full force of the pain hit me I stopped the fight and looked for the One who could offer the only pain relief so desperately needed. I full out sprinted towards Jesus. The crashing panic finally breaking through and rolling away like a receding wave. The untwisting was palpable. The roaring stopped. It felt like the moment when a very loud fan or motor is turned off. The silence so loud it is deafening and it feels like you’re vibrating. Jesus and I had a very real and very difficult conversation. I unpacked and unraveled all that I had turned, knotted, braided and wound tight with Him. He smoothed and soothed it all. It took me quite a while to regain my composure and balance. I was sitting on the couch being still and soothing in Him. I was feeling sore and tender but in a good way. Then my phone rang.
Startled I answered hoping the emotion would not be heard in my hello. It was my good friend and current boss. She said, “I have no idea what kind of prayers you’ve been praying, but your faith is paying off! I have a job for you!” There is no way she could have known that not even an hour and for days before I had twisted so far away from God that it hadn’t even occurred to me to pray. I felt the very real thump on the top of my head that said, “See! All things work together for My good! You’ve got to trust Me!” I spent a week of wasted emotion, energy and time trying to fix what He had already planned and set into place. His goodness was so abundant and bountiful. He had allotted a week of rest for me and I had squandered it by trying to force or change the plan for myself. His forgiveness for my foolishness was something I do not deserve, but am beyond blessed to have been given.
He revealed that I was not the title of my job, or the role, or any other label I had made for myself. The only thing He wanted of me was to be His. I had misplaced my worth and allowed the world to weigh in on its value. I measured my success in a job that replaced me before I even made it to the parking garage. I let pride hold me too long because I liked the accolade of the work I was doing. I didn’t trust the path set before me because I couldn’t see around the bend in the road. I forgot to trust Him with the load I had burdened myself with and refused to set down because I felt like I was the only one who could carry it effectively. I specifically asked God to protect and shield me. I asked Him to help me find a way to be more present in my home and with my family. I asked for a way to still do His work through the calling on my life. He did! He always has and always will. I’m still humbled and awed by the love poured out on someone so unworthy. Even if the job had not come or goes away tomorrow I am covered. I am loved. I am protected. I am forgiven. I am provided all that I need and more.
For me being still is not about sitting still or not moving or being quiet. It’s about not twisting all the loose ends or cutting them short because I don’t know the specifics of what the plan is. God does not need my help keeping those loose ends straight. He has tasked me with other outlets for my end-twisting energy like praying, worship, fasting, tithing, and surrounding myself with the Word. I do know the plan. It’s God’s plan and it’s good. All that is meant to be will show up at just the right time if I am still and it His will. I know I will fall short again. I will panic walk myself into the desert to wrestle again. I will forget to leave things alone and try my hand at them again. Hopefully, the rabbit hole of despair won’t be as tempting as it has been in the past. He will again meet me in my desert and square off again. If this is the case, knowing where my help comes from will point me back in the right direction.
“Be still and know that I am God." ~Psalm 46:10
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. ~Isaiah 40:31
As always, praying all good things in Him always!
Patricia Emery May 2022