I was fired today. Yep, fired.
And I only have myself to blame. Not because I didn’t do my job. I did. I worked hard, strived to learn all that was required of me, put in overtime, volunteered for extra assignments and worked successfully with people in other departments.
No, the reason I got fired is one I’m not at all proud of – I ignored the Holy Spirit and took a job He whispered to me not to take.
Those whispers seemed so contrary to what was in front of me because this job was the “perfect fit” I had been praying for. So, I must be hearing God’s voice incorrectly, right? Or maybe it was the enemy trying to throw me off track!
If only I had listened.
Before I became Mrs. Banks Brazell, Jr., I worked with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in their Development Department coordinating fund-raising efforts and special events. I loved that job. But when kids came along, I turned in my employment card and my new title became Stay-At-Home-Mom.
Quite honestly and just as I suspected, that title became my favorite of all and the joy and peace I have found in being that person has been unmatched by any other. Which is why, when I started feeling restless and agitated with staying at home, it surprised me. So, I began to analyze and rationalize my new and confused feelings and it went something like this:
Our youngest is finishing up high school, so naturally I’m ready to get back into the “productive” work force, contribute and make a difference in the world. (Like I wasn’t making a difference staying home with our kids?!)
I care deeply about my society, community and family- surely God would want me to go out there and bring Kingdom light into a workforce that so needs His presence. Surely God would want me to participate in the commerce of America that would allow our family to receive much needed income.
Yes, and yes – just not this job and not at this time, as I was about to find out.
With these new and restless feelings that I now know as guilt, I began to pray. Or at least that’s what I told myself I was doing. I prayed and prayed that God would open doors and guide me to the position He needed me to have. Did I mention that I prayed and prayed?
I didn’t want to hear the whispers when I was still. “Kendra, this is not the way forward for you. The time is coming soon when I will reveal how to move. This path will only delay My plans for you.”
But things were lining up, our family needed extra income and I didn’t have time to wait on something else.
I want to confess to you that what I did next I’ve had to ask God’s forgiveness for, because I knew better. I wasn’t praying at all. I was consulting God on a plan I had already worked out. I jumped right in and took over the process because it made me feel better to have control rather than do my part and then wait on God in his timing. I told God why I needed a job, why He needed to help me find one quickly and then interjected my list of qualifications this job would need to have for me to consider taking it.
Wow. I can’t believe I did that.
In keeping with the situation I created for myself, I found a job online and it was perfect – in my field, fit my skill set, paid well, had great benefits – which was huge- AND it was close to home. Yes! No commute! Way to go God!
“This is not the job I have for you. I have something for you to be about and it does not involve this path.” God kept gently nudging me. But…I had found something, it made sense, I wanted it and I was going after it. Plus, the world was hailing me. “Way to go girl! You got this! You are doing the right thing!”
God, in His mercy, seeing that I was not going to listen to what He was saying to me in those quiet moments, did the one thing He could do to get my attention. He obliged me.
One long phone call and two in person interviews later, I got the job and was confident God had answered my prayers.
Except when I was quiet and about to go to sleep. And when I was reading scripture. And when I was walking around the neighborhood. Hmmmm.
Perfect Job – Week 1. Supervisor has been running from Jesus for years. I am a preacher’s wife. Strike One.
Perfect Job – Week 2. Strong discernment that the battle of good and evil is in full play in the atmosphere over this business. Begin heavy duty intercession for the people and territory. Feel like I am being caught up in the battle. Getting weary already.
Perfect Job – Week 3. Was told from now on, I would have to put Jesus and my family second to this job. Working lots of overtime hours. Spiritual warfare is becoming an all too real concept to me.
Perfect Job – Week 4. Begin losing a piece of my soul every day that passes. Working really hard, volunteering for more assignments and feeling watched by the powers of the air who do not like my presence there. Still battling in intercession.
Perfect Job – Week 5. Medical diagnosis of stress fracture in my knee obtained during overtime. Too busy, keep walking on it.
Perfect Job – Week 6. Missing most family gatherings, church every week and kid’s activities. Realize what a gift these things are and cry every day on the way to work. Still battling for territory and my supervisor’s restoration.
Perfect Job – Week 7. My joy is almost gone. Continuously calling on the name of the Lord for endurance.
Perfect Job – Week 8.9.10……
And so, we are back to – I was fired today. And I’m not sure how I feel about it. Relieved? In shock? Mortified? I’ve never been fired before so not really sure how one should feel.
No, wait, I DO know how I feel.
Extremely grateful. My Jesus showed up to deliver me even in the midst of my purposeful disobedience because I would not have quit on my own.
Wow! In this moment, I am totally relating to the Israelites in the Old Testament. How many times did they disobey God and how many times did God reach out and rescue them. Every time! Because of His great love for them. Because of His great love for me! And for a purpose He said would come soon.
Maybe I should feel small and worthless because of what just happened, but I don’t. I feel loved and protected – how about that!
And I’m just working out my stuff here with you guys, but what is it about the still, small voice that causes us to wonder who it is? Maybe it’s because we are so impressed by the big things God does – the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night; a whole sea parting down the middle so hundreds of thousands of people could walk across it; the actual, physical walls of a fortressed city coming down with the shouts of people– that when He chooses to speak in small ways, we think it’s not grand enough for it to actually be Him.
A whisper requires that you lean in close to hear what is being said, right? Isn’t that what God desires – for us to be close to Him – close enough to hear the most important things that come straight from His heart to ours?
God has evidently chosen to say things quietly and gently. I wish that was different. Truth is, I want the voice to be loud but it’s not.
What this experience has taught me is to be grateful for it -just the way it is.
So now I look forward to what comes next. I don’t know what that is, but this time Jesus, instead of me telling You what needs to happen, I’ll wait with anticipation for those quiet whispers to guide me.