It’s been almost two years since God blessed me with a new job. And while I still believe that there is a purpose for me to be where I’m at, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges that make me question why I am here.
I know that a life of living out the Catholic faith will not be all sugar and sprinkles. Jesus didn’t say that we’re going to breeze through to heaven, but reminded his disciples on multiple occasions that His life on earth is an example for all and that we all need to pick up our crosses to follow Him. A life of faith is not only comprised of going to Mass to meet the Sunday and Holy Day obligations, but permeates throughout my daily activities. Somehow it seems a lot easier to praise God and thank Him for when things are going well, than to trust Him and His guidance when the opposite is true. It’s almost like I’m happy He’s at “the wheel” in good times, but in difficult situations, I want to take control. From a faith perspective it makes absolutely no sense, as God has a better perspective on the rough patches and what’s needed than I do. Somehow I feel like it’s my testing moment and I’m cheating on the test if I ask for His assistance.
Recently at work I made a recommendation that ended up being passed over. My initial feelings were of anger, as I felt responsible for this particular activity. But when the leadership deemed not to abide with my suggestions, it was a blow to my motivation, trust, and ego. They brought me in because of my familiarity with the system and here they were making judgements as if they knew better than I did. Why should I bother any more? Am I really needed there, if they won’t listen to me? Or am I just being possessive of what I think I’m responsible for and do I need to allow others to “play in the sandbox with me” so to speak? I struggled to get my feelings sorted out and to be rational and reasonable about the whole situation.
I get emails from different places about different job openings on a regular basis, although very few interest me. I mostly delete the emails without even reading them. Yet during this trial, I did start reviewing them, trying to see if one sounded like a good fit for me. However, I couldn’t help but get a sense that I still have a purpose at my current employment. I started remembering how this opportunity seemed to just drop in my lap, like a gift with a big bow on top, especially since I wasn’t even looking at the time! It can be hard to stay the course when the bumps in the road seem like they’re going to shake the car to pieces. Is it any different from the occasions recorded in the Gospels where the disciples were terrified during strong storms on the sea? In one account Jesus calms the wind and the waves and chides the disciples for not having faith, in another Jesus invites Peter to walk out on the water to Him. In both cases, Jesus does take control and they stay the course to their destiny.
After much reflection, I realized that while it is important for me to give my recommendations, I also need to let leadership take responsibility for their decisions as well. I may not like it, but it’s one less thing for me to stress about if I let it go. I found it a bit incredulous how easy it was to blow up over one thing that didn’t go my way than to appreciate the many times that I have brought valuable knowledge and perspective based on my experience.
This time the challenge happened within the realm of my employment, but it could have easily been a situation within a relationship with friends, family or even a complete stranger. Challenges and trials are part of life, but those of faith are called to seek out the assistance of God. It doesn’t mean that the difficulties will go away, only that we will have the accompaniment of God as we move through them. And no, it’s not cheating, it’s a way to get closer to God and see His handiwork close up. What could be better than that?