“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. ” Philipians 3:10-12
So, to say the last few months have been some of the most challenging in my life, would be an understatement! As many of you know, I made a job change at the beginning of the year. I had high hopes that this new career change would be just the ticket to get me out of the funk that I was in. It would bring new opportunities, new experiences. It would come easily to me, as marketing is something I tremendously enjoy. As I walked into my new office at Heritage Woods at the beginning of the year (the corner office, by the way) I knew I had arrived. I had prayed from months for this opportunity and I knew God had aligned it for me, right in His own perfect timing. What I didn’t anticipate was the demand a new career would place on my life. The life I have worked so hard to make comfortable.
Over the past few months, this new career has been a huge source of anxiety for me. But in that, a huge source of growth as well. I have prayed more than ever. I have had to learn to say no to “good” things so I can choose what is better. More than anything, I have had to take a good hard look at the things that motivate me. After a few months of walking into work, worrying about failing and not measuring up, I finally had to give myself permission to fail. After months of praying for God to be in control of my circumstances, I had to come to the conclusion that failure might be an option. The building was not filling up as quickly as ownership hoped and it felt as though all eyes were on me. I had to resolve myself to walk into work each and every day. Working my hardest, giving my best- and knowing that in the end, I might not suceed. And I had to learn to be okay with that. For a people pleasing girl like myself, you might not be surprised to know that I was having near anxiety attacks each and every morning at work just comtemplating my list of things to accomplish.
A couple of weeks ago, I met and rode with a fellow Market Director name Cindy. She is a Christian woman as well and she knew right where I was standing. She said that at one point, her co-workers were asking her, “Why do you do it? You can find a job anywhere.” Her reply? “My Grandma always said I had grit in my craw.” Her words were like salve to my soul. She reminded me that I am responsible for me. If I give my best each and every day. If I hold myself and those around me accountable for the department I oversee. If I work in a way that is blameless, I will come out okay. I could no longer take a stance of blame, but accountability.
In the following weeks, the anxiety has started to clear and I can see why God has placed me right where I am. Not only at work, but at home and in ministry, he has been forcing me to take a hard look at me. The ugly, insecure, shallow, superficial me. The girl I don’t let too many people see. He has thrown challenges my way. He has called me to give things up and simplify my life. He has forced me to explore my motivations and brick by painful brick, he is revealing the ugly sinful nature that I’ve never turned over to him. See, I was praying, harder than I have in a long while. I was asking His control over my circumstances. I was asking for his power over my life. But I didn’t believe him for it. Somewhere, deep inside of me, I didn’t believe him when he said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”. I didn’t believe that he could make someone as broken and imperfect as me into a success. I found I was limiting His power to my own strength. I was setting myself up for failure.
Over the past few days, I am concluding that I am experiencing what the bible calls, “death to self.” It is a painful process in the sense that all that is ugly, impure, superficial and shallow within me is rising to the surface. And I have a choice. I can address it, repent of it and turn from it, or I can pack it back deep within me and allow it to hold me back from God’s best. Frankly, I am tired of hiding behind the facade of perfection. I am tired of being held back by disbelief. I am ready for God’s best plan to be revealed in my life. I am discovering that God has given me a little “grit in my craw.” He is giving me the tools and the power I need to fight for His best in my life. I just have to show up each and every day to refuel for the fight.
Truth is, while God is great at demolition, he is an even better carpenter. And I know that when He is finished with my life, all of the broken pieces will be a masterpiece.