Over a decade ago, I believed I was being led to prepare for a very specific job. I had received the required certifications, logged hundreds of hours in training, and waited for just the right opportunity.
Along the way, I developed a focused plan of action to ensure I was ready to apply. As I love to do, I laid out every painstaking detail it would take to compete for a position of this caliber. I also told God that I had a 10-year time frame to reach this particular destination and then time would run out.
Therein was the problem.
This journey to the ultimate job started many years earlier when I felt God calling me to step out of the classroom and make the move to school administration. I left my comfort zone and quickly accelerated through one position and then another. I believed along the way that God had placed me right where I needed to be to contend for a top school leadership spot.
I garnered the necessary experiences to be qualified and I paid close attention to job openings where I would potentially be a good fit. While I was searching for just the place God needed me, I was also fervently praying to not have to move away from my family, my home city, my aging mother, my friends, or my church. I believed that God would provide just the right opportunity close to home, as I was not willing to sacrifice what I had for what I wanted.
So when an opportunity presented itself in relative proximity I took a chance. I had a lot to think about concerning the demands of the job, but I knew I had to try. I continued to pray about it and decided to go through the paperwork process, submit the application packet and wait. God had opened the door and I obeyed and walked through it.
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails ” (Proverbs 19:20-21, NIV).
As things turned out I was not the candidate of choice, but I did learn a lot through the experience.
It was a bitter pill to swallow because it was a place I thought I needed to be.
It was not His plan nor His timing.
Isn’t that what God wants from us? To learn from our circumstances and to glean what He’s trying to tell us or show us through our experiences.
God knew I would be disappointed, but more than that, He knew that when the fog in my mind cleared I would be much better off. The position wasn’t a good fit for me and I needed to see that. Good thing God has the ‘big picture’ scenario thing down to a tee–He saved me a lot of heartache and frustration.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, ESV).
God had a different plan for me. One that was of His choosing.
He wanted me to see things for what they were.
He wanted me to see the situation I would be in and recognize it was not what I needed. He also wanted me to see that the things I believed were important to move forward were not as important as His plans. Bottom line, this experience was not about what I wanted, but what He wanted for me.I am thankful He sees the big picture and knows what is best for me--even when I don't see it or understand. Click To Tweet
It would have been easy to believe I failed, but I hadn’t. My plans had simply been derailed. This is how the enemy misleads us to believe his lies. He plants seeds of doubt. He wants us to believe that circumstances, failures, and successes define us. He wants us to believe that we have been ripped off, short-changed, and wronged.
None of that is true.
We are defined by our Maker and Creator. It is about who we are. It is about how well we hold up in adversity. It is about how well we deal with disappointments, big and small, and it is about how well we rebound and see God’s hand of protection in all that we do.
“May the beloved of the Lord dwell in security by Him, who shields him all the day, And he dwells between His shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12, NASB).
Have I suffered disappointment since that time? Of course I have. But God used that teachable moment to breathe new life in me. During a frustrating season, He showed me I had so much to be thankful and grateful for. I take comfort in that every day.
So as I keep moving forward, day by day, my trust is placed completely in God. He had been very clear about who was in charge in this relationship and it wasn’t me. I was to wait on His timetable because He’s not finished with me yet. And I had to remember that while things did not go the way I had planned, they did go the way I had prayed.