Tag Archives: job

lessons from the ocean

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lessons from the ocean

To me, there’s just nothing like the ocean… nothing! I love everything about it… well, except for the seaweed, sand fleas, and scary critters who live there and attack innocent beach chair sitters, like me! I love the splashing sound the waves make as they crash upon the shore. I love hearing the sound of seagulls cawing overhead as they sweep across the bright blue sky; but more than any of that, I love how the ocean’s water relaxes me like nothing else. Honestly, I believe I could sit in my beach chair at the water’s edge with my toes in the sand all day long, drinking in the beauty of my environment. The ocean speaks peace and calm to me and there’s just no denying how wonderful I feel when I’m there. I can take in full, deep breaths of the healing saltwater air. And, did I mention the delicious seafood to be enjoyed while at the beach?! That’s another subject for another day….

Trumping all of that, as if there could possibly be more to enjoy, is the spiritual connotation of the beach. If, like me, you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, you may feel overwhelmed by your circumstances from time to time, as if one more stressor is going to push you straight over the towering waterfall. I can identify with those feelings and because of my affinity for the beach, I so love the words a friend has written. So, with her permission, I’m sharing it here in hopes that it may enlighten and encourage you as it has me.

When the Lord tells you to go take a walk by yourself. You go take a walk by yourself.
And when He tells you to stop and sit here because He has something He wants to show you, you stop and you sit right there.
Then He says, “watch”.
So you look out over the great big (endless to your eyes) ocean thinking maybe He’s going to cause 10 dolphins to all jump out of the water at the same time, maybe a huge ship will come by, a whale? (in the gulf?)… what could it be?
Then He gently keeps drawing your attention to the edge of the water.
And you notice that there seems to be an invisible border the water will not cross. No matter how much the wind kicks up the waves 10 to 20 feet out into the water, it will not push the foamy edge past this invisible line.
And you hear Him say, “here and no further”.
The words are familiar, I remember them from the book of Job.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
‭‭(Job‬ ‭38:8-11)‬

And then He says to you… “I am what keeps the overwhelming from overwhelming you. Look at the sea, how vast it is, how immeasurable it is to you, yet I keep it from taking you over, from even touching you.”
We may feel the strong winds against our face, and with it we may feel the sand mixed with mists of that water but He will not let it overtake us. We may feel overwhelmed because we can see how big that ocean is in front of us, but guess what… He wants us to see how overwhelming it is. So we can see how even bigger He is.
Whatever it is that surrounds us that looks insurmountable, impossible, hopeless… He has drawn an invisible line between us and it.
There is an end to it. There is a boundary that He has set and says to it… “this far and no further shall you come.”

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Decisions, decisions

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Decisions, decisions

Like me, I’m sure you have come to a crossroads more than once in your life as to which way to go in making a decision. It’s really challenging when both choices (or more!) are (seemingly) good. Ever been there? I have dozens and dozens of times! And, it’s not always family-related. Sometimes it’s a job decision, sometimes health or treatment, insurance/benefits, a potential move, building/existing construction. You get the picture.

I had one such rather challenging decision to make years ago. I was quite young and new to living on my own. It was an emotionally charged time for me. You see, my Mom had been recently diagnosed with cancer. I had just made a move across state lines to start a new job in which I felt called to begin a new chapter in my single life, only seven months prior to her diagnosis. I had prayed a long time about making this job move and had great peace about it, in addition to my family being on board, offering their full support. Doors opened left and right for me confirming what God had shown me. Yet, I wrestled with God more than once after hearing of Mom’s illness, “God, I just know that I heard clearly from You to move forward and take this job. Why, then, would you move me 250 miles away from my family at such a time as this?

My answer didn’t come all at once. Even at my young age, I knew that this move was part of a bigger plan that God had for me. He physically moved me to grow me up, to mature me, to be on my own and to trust Him to work out all the details. My Mom is the one who confirmed this for me! I knew she struggled with me being so far away once she was found to be terminally ill, especially, but she was selfless; knowing that this move for me was part of God growing me up and that had I stayed home, I probably would never have left home to sprout my wings and fly.

Now, understand, I’m making a lonnnnnnnng story quite short. In a nutshell, as I struggled with my heart being pulled between two seemingly “good” things: this exciting new job in a new city doing exactly what I’d dreamed of doing versus being near my family at such a time as this. In the midst of my inner turmoiI, out of the blue I  had been offered a job which would take me back home, near my family. Oh, how my emotions pulled me every which way. The kicker was this job I’d been offered would pay me quite a bit more salary than the job I currently held. I was really feeling torn. I wasn’t making much money anyway, so the hope of making more captured my attention. Complicating things was the fact that some well-meaning families in our home church believed I should be back home, taking care of my Mom during her terminal illness. Now, I’m a people-pleaser to the core, and their opinion rocked my emotional world. My heart was troubled.

This is where the story gets interesting. While I never  heard God’s audible voice lay out His perfect plan for me, He certainly gave me direction with the details unfolding before my eyes. I vividly remember asking Him to help me hear His voice above all others. My boss had generously offered for me to go to be with my family as I needed and not to worry about my job, that he would bring in a “temp” to cover me until I could return. Wait? What?! This type of offer doesn’t just happen! I reached out to a couple friends whose advice and wisdom I valued, asking them to pray for me and the decisions I needed to make. What I learned through this process was that money isn’t everything. In other words, the job offer I’d received, while boasting a higher salary, proved to be a “short-lived” job opportunity. In other words, it wasn’t going to afford me the opportunities long-term that I was interested in pursuing. However, I was temporarily blind-sighted by the lure of the money being offered when I really wasn’t interested in the job. Not to mention, I was emotionally wracked over the fact that barring a miracle, I would be losing my Mom.

I’m not saying this job was a “bad” job in any way. I’m sure it would have proven to be a good job had I not already moved away from home. God used my trusted, praying friends to help me weed through this emotional dilemma I was facing. On one of my many trips home, my Mom encouraged me that she wanted me to be where I wanted to be and not take this job I wasn’t interested in only to be back home. I believe God allowed her to see her days were numbered and my time back home wasn’t going to last forever. She reminded me I needed to be where I felt the Lord had led me.  She had been my biggest cheerleader when I thought moving away to a new city wasn’t even a possibility for me. God used all these ‘puzzle pieces’ of wisdom to lead me to the decision I made. I had to come back to where I knew God had brought me, despite the distractions in my path. I don’t mean to imply my Mom’s illness was a distraction. Far from it! She was my best friend and the thought of losing her broke my heart. I felt that God had provided me an amazing opportunity to spend quality time with her, keep my job, and still get paid! I was able to work 3 days a week while commuting to be with my family the other 4 days of the week. I was able to go back and forth for 3 months.  It was a win-win and I knew only God could have orchestrated this solution!

I believe I had more quality time with my mom during the 4 days of the week I was home then I would have had if I’d moved back to take a new job. It was arranged that I would be closely involved in Mom’s care. I was able to be there for her doctor’s weekly evaluation visits, keep her medical diary, and get all the details of her care and updates firsthand. I took the night shift, sleeping in her room being available to her all throughout the night as she needed me to relieve my Dad of sleep deprivation as he had to continue working, and my sister was trying to graduate high school.

I am still in awe of all the many blessings God lavishly poured out upon our family at such a difficult and sad time. He truly manifested Himself through friends and loved ones in our lives. All of our needs were met by His grace. God truly showed up! He is a good, good God and He loves us more than we can even fathom with our own limited human minds.

What did I learn? Trusting Him throughout life’s most difficult moments and trials will grow and stretch your faith like nothing else. He is the only One able to make sense and order out of a messed up situation. He may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to (or think He should) BUT His Word tells us His ways are infinitely higher than ours. When we ask Him for wisdom, He generously gives it to us. He gives us direction and discernment. I cannot imagine living a life without Him. Life is hard, unfair and senseless at times. He doesn’t rescue us from difficulties, pain and disappointments but promises to walk through, even carry us through these times. He promises never to leave or forsake us.

I want to encourage you to get to know Him and His Word so that you will know His promises for yourself, as well as His character. Hide His Word in your heart. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand if we will allow Him to. He is a gentleman and never forces Himself upon us. Don’t miss out on another day’s worth of divine wisdom and guidance for the problems and decisions that constantly bombard and plague; turn your eyes upon Him and allow Him to shoulder your burdens, as only He can. He alone is faithful.

(Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10, James 1:5, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 9:10)