Dealing with Trials after Choosing to Obey the Lord

Part 2 of “When God Led Me to Quit My Job”:

After resigning, I worked until Christmas break and have been working three part-time jobs since then. During this time, I have faced multiple trials to tempt me to regret my decision or to doubt God’s goodness. I have not, for one moment, regretted my decision. I have seen the Lord take so many broken areas of my life and renew them to look more like Himself.  During the darkness, though, it is often too strenuous to lift yourself up to search for a glint of light.

It started one week after turning in my resignation letter.  I caught Strep Throat for the first time since I was a little girl. I had only been treated for Strep Throat one other time. I went to urgent care, received antibiotics, and continued teaching. I had to work and finish well. Then, two weeks before my last day, I woke up feeling lifeless. I had a fever and couldn’t stomach anything. I took medicine and went to school. After fighting a fever for most of the day, I left early and stopped by urgent care.  The results came in, and I had a strand of flu. I had only had the flu one other time when I was younger. The doctor wrote me out for a full week of school. Although sick, there were too many things to close up and work out before I left. Rather than resting and healing, I sat in my bed working on meetings, paperwork, and sub plans. This was not the end of sicknesses, though. My very first day tutoring, for one of my part time jobs, I had to run out of a classroom from nausea. I barely made it to the restroom stall, when I began vomiting blood.  I left work early and learned that I had stomach ulcers.

Were these illnesses signs? What was happening to my body? Was God punishing me for making a wrong decision? So many questions boggled my mind. One voice rang out clearer:

By your incessant need to please others or to meet your own impossible expectations, you are literally destroying My creation and its use.

Hearing and realizing this truth forced me to stop, reflect, and repent.  

This was not the end, though.

I then had to face a whole new type of trial and test of people pleasing.  People began asking more and more questions. So many were baffled at why I would leave a full-time paid position to work three part-time positions, which did not match my previous salary.  So many hinted in their tones or words that they thought I was being irresponsible, neglectful, and ludicrous. So many misunderstood and screamed in all their actions, words, or lack of words — “You’re disappointing me. This is crazy. You’re wrong… wait and see. You should not have quit your job.”  As I faced each person, I held back tears, tried to quiet the lies these conversations were feeding, and continued to take steps towards Him.

I felt like I was walking through thick, sticky sludge. No matter how fast I ran, or how hard I pushed against the resistance, I knew this too was my time for obedience. This sludge was necessary to trudge through. With the empowering of His Spirit, I smiled, I listened, I patiently endured every question, every skepticism, and every doubt.  I learned, that His way is not always understood. It does not always match the world’s, or my own, definition of success. His way can be lonely.

BUT…

His way is best.

While I daily chose to obey Him and continue following after Him, there were still more trials:

One of my part-time positions pays my salary based on financial partners. Due to many different circumstances, some of my partners were no longer able to partner with me financially. While I understood and still value these people, the logistics still brought anxiety. I had just quit my full time job (out of what I felt like was obedience to God), and I was spending more intentional time on campus pouring into students. How was it even a possibility that I would see a decrease in the pay that my husband and I needed to help pay for our living costs? Then, my car, which I still owe money on, stopped working unexpectedly.  To pay for the repairs alongside the amount I still owed, it would cost as much as purchasing a new vehicle.

I wanted so badly to get angry at myself or God. I wanted to question His goodness and His validity. I wanted to give up on obeying God, but He revealed something to me.

While I had slowly began handing over idols that I tightly clutched, I still, like the story of Rachel in the Bible, had hidden some idols underneath where I was sitting. The acts of perfectionism, people pleasing, and works-based beliefs have become a source of comfort my in my life.  I have fallen back on these struggles, and I have believed the lie that these “are just my thorns to bare.” That is not true. He has given me a new identity and His Spirit. Those sins no longer have to define me. While all my circumstances are dark and muddy, His goodness does not falter. Even though, my head feels too exhausted to lift and search for His light, He glimmers against the dark. I must daily choose to peer into the smiles in the cup, casting my vision back to Him.

 

These three pictures represent places where I would steal away to experience His love hidden in smiles in my cup.  They also represent the different seasons I have experienced the last 7 months: (foggy weather clouding my ability to see far out, beautiful skies that are clearing out and revealing the dead trees and snowy ground underneath, and fresh and new, Spring growth). Each season contains its own lovely treasure to be savored, no matter how bleak and barren it may seem on the surface.

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