Updated: Oct 18, 2019
That moment....the one where you know you're in the wrong place. Do you shake it off, or do you uncover what's causing the feeling?
I'm not sure I can speak for everyone. Maybe no one! But I have this feeling that there are others who have felt the way I did in August 2018. But that requires what we call....backstory.
I've worked in the Health Care industry for 20 years. Starting out as a lowly Sales Associate for an Orthopedic Company, I felt pretty lucky just landing a position coming right out of college with a business degree.
I won't bore you with all the in-between. But from that moment in 1999 until the end, I worked my way "up the corporate ladder" as some would say. Not that I wanted to climb it. I didn't job hop every 2-3 years like so many of my business partners did. I tended to stick around for 5+ years at each position, then by God's grace find a new position that would better provide for my family
Coming to the year 2018, I had been in a job for almost 5 years that I considered a dream job. Marketing for a Physicians Group! I can't tell you how much fun it was to advertise, to do physician sales calls, and to personally be helping our doctors increase their business. The satisfaction was off the scale!
But...as with all good things, this job came to an end. But it was in the form of the dreaded layoff. Something I'd seen before, heard of before, but never experienced. And can I say: I hated it. It wasn't like I did a poor job or made a bad decision and was fired. If that happened, I would at least know why I was having to find a new job and fix my issue. But with a layoff, you lose your job simply because a group of investors in some faraway city said they need a tiny bit more money. When that happens, entire divisions of people are cut. That was the case with me. All over the country, the Practice Development Managers were released. And I was in the first wave of cuts.
“Of course, we wanted a fast answer. We were looking for a microwave TV dinner. But God, as He usually does, prepares His meals in the crock pot.”
For several months, my wife Beverly and I prayed together, searching for the right door to open. For the perfect direction to become clear. Of course, we wanted a fast answer. We were looking for a microwave TV dinner. But God, as He usually does, prepares His meals in the crock pot.
My wife and I spoke with some churches about becoming their lead pastors. We were very close to trying out for a church on the coast. It was a beautiful city, and a church that needed some TLC. We had this huge tug to get into a Lead Pastor position. Yet something kept us from going to this church.
So we looked for the next "perfect path". I honestly thought I'd found it. I had an opportunity to potentially join a full time vocal band out of Idaho. Honestly, it was my dream job growing up. I've always wanted to sing Gospel Music as my livelihood. So I thought this was the right direction when they asked me to fill in a few dates (and even on a Hawaiian Cruise!!!) But time lingered. No offer came from leadership. And bills began to come in...with no income to cover it. We knew we wanted to go into ministry. But at this point, we were just looking for a good paying job from anywhere.
When I Knew
Suddenly, a hospital in the area offered a great position with a good salary and benefits. And I jumped!!! I took the job. When I arrived, I found a fantastic team of people that I'd be working with. They were awesome! But as the first few weeks moved on, I began to feel, even KNOW, that this was not my final destination. It was apparent that God had provided a job that would meet our needs. But it was also apparent that God had planted the seed of Ministry and that it was growing inside, unable to be contained.
For a whole year, I lingered in this hospital position, praying for what was next. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it. I did my best to perform at the highest level I could. It was a job I could've stayed in forever and been satisfied....if not for that one moment when God said, "Boy, this is just a bridge. Don't lean over and stare at the water for too long."
For a year, I toiled inside. Knowing that the Father had called me to His ministry, but not knowing what it was, made for some anxiety. The rest of how this story finished will have to be shared another time.
But here's the point I want to make: When you know you're in the wrong place, start preparing to go. That's what I did. I began watching videos and reading books about tips and principles to effectively Pastor God's people. I began asking questions of the veteran pastors. And I spent a lot of time in prayer, waiting for an answer, looking for direction.
Is that you? Do you have that nagging feeling inside that God is calling you into something new? Something different? And right now, I want to make the point that if you're applying this to your marriage, this advice isn't for you. When it comes to marriage, make it work. That's it. Find a way. But if you're here reading this, thinking that God is calling you to the great expanse of the sea of ministry, don't push it aside. Don't bury it. It's time to explore it! Don't say, "I don't have time to pursue or get involved." Don't think, "I can't manage my life AND a ministry." Don't. No. Here's what you need to do. Pursue it, and pursue it with all your heart, mind and strength.
You've had "the moment". Don't get 5 years down the road and think back to the moment and wonder, what if. What if I'd followed God's leading? How many lives could I have positively affected? How many souls could've found salvation...if I'd just listened and pursued His path?
Don't wonder. Just don't. Get on it. Get in it. See the moment for what it is....then act.