Thursday, August 6, 2015

Holy Sh*ft

This post is a long time coming. I realize so much has happened in my life since my last blog post. I really need to get back into blogging. So here goes.  For those of you who need the social update, a little over a year ago I had a massive life shift. When I moved back from the mission field, I couldn't find work in the Midwest, so I took a job in sunny California where the weather was more agreeable and the lifestyle still very much missional. I went back to work full time at a child development center as a speech therapist. But I soon realized this was not the area of the field that I wanted to be in. My heart was still in the hospital setting and especially with neonatal babies. I was having a grand old time socially and spiritually. I was making new friends and getting very involved in ad outside of church. But I was not happy in my career.

In January of 2014 I decided to start looking for work in the hospital acute care setting. I talked to my own boss about it and there was still no availability at my current hospital (when I had originally interviewed they were going to let me work a few hours a week in their acute care setting, but as time went on they told me there wasn't any work over there and I was needed full time in the outpatient pediatric clinic). I ended up with an interview in Ventura County, about an hour away from LA, that a former co-worker had told me about. When they offered me the position it was the highest salary bid I knew I could possibly see in my career in LA. I was elated and told them I would sign a contract that week. And devastated. The hospital would be an hour commute from where I was living in Simi Valley and if I were to move closer to work, it would be over an hour and a half or more from where my community and church were. I decided to pray and I told God that if this was the right opportunity I would take it, but if He didn't want me to work there I would need another job interview STAT. I had been applying to job but hadn't heard so much as a "Thank you, no thank you" in weeks. The very next day I got a call from the Children's Hospital of LA where I had put in an application almost a month before. They wanted to interview me. WHAT?!?! Coincidence? I think not. I went in and it was the most intense interview I had ever been on. A nine person panel interview where they basically threw out challenging case studies and asked what I would do in each scenario. I felt I did well and they said they I was a high contender due to my experience, but they would let me know the following week after several other interviews: the week AFTER I had told Ventura I would sign a contract with them. Crap! What was I to do? Sign a contract at a hospital where I could potentially make the most money I would ever make in my career but be really far away from my new friends and community, or throw it all to the wind on a much lower paying job that I had no idea if I would actually get it or not but would be in the area of the city I actually wanted to live in. I went back to my prayer chair, this time in pure supplication: WHAT THE HECK DO I DO?!?!??! I felt God smile warmly at me and ask one simple question: "What does your heart want?" WHAT? God, that sounds so Disney. What does my heart want? What does that even mean? Aren't you supposed to have this big master plan where you have my whole life mapped out and I just connect the dots? And He just smiled at me again and asked again, "What does your heart want?"

Now this was blowing my theological box a bit. There are two very opposing theories in the Christian world: predestination and free will. I remember learning lots of theories and theologies back in my good old Calvin College days. For centuries people have built camps around one verse or another about whether or not God has every single day of your life preordained and if you mess it up you're screwed versus you have complete freedom of choice to do whatever you want and God just wants to come along for the ride (exaggerated, but you get the point.) I had always been more in the camp that God had a perfect plan, Jeremiah 29:11 and all that stuff, and I just had to seek His face long enough and he would reveal the next steps on the yellow brick road. But here was God asking ME what I wanted. So as DHT sings so perfectly, I Listened To My Heart and it told me that I didn't want to be in Ventura at all. It was not at all where my heart was (which is in Los Angeles). So I turned down the sure fire job and put all my chips on a high stakes gamble. I decided in my heart that if I got the job, Praise be to God and if I didn't get the job, Praise be to God.

A painfully slow week went by when I finally got the call: "You were such a great candidate with many qualities we're looking for, but we decided to hire internally" Crap. Really? This isn't playing out how I thought it would. Ok, Praise be to God. Then something strange happened. Every time I would go into the bathroom at work and look in the mirror, I would hear this voice in my head that would say, "Just quit your job." I know that voice. It's the voice that also told me to follow my heart. "Really?!?" I would say back. "But you haven't given me another job yet. I'm applying and putting myself out there and interviewing and nothing is coming up" "Just quit your job" is all I would hear back. For three months I kept hearing "Just quit your job" and for three months I would say back "But you haven't given me another job yet. At least let some one call me back!".

To make a long story short, I lead a missions trip back to Costa Rica with my Simi Valley Vineyard that March and it tipped me over the edge. It reminded me about my goals in life and pieces of myself that I was putting on the back burner. So when I got back from the trip, I literally just went into work one day and did what the voice in the bathroom was encouraging me to do. I quit my job. With no back up plan but big faith that everything would be ok. Because I knew who the voice belonged to. And then something cool happened. My boss came to me the very next day and told me they actually did need me in the acute care. As an on call therapist. Would I be willing to work there when they needed a therapist? WHAT?!?! That's the job I've been wanting! Of course! There would be no guarantee in how many hours I would get each week, but I could start right away. Sign me up.

So that began a crazy journey over the past year. I moved in with my best friend in North Hollywood to be closer to church and my new community of friends.  I started working on call at Simi Valley and was set up by my boss to work on call at our sister hospital in Glendale. A few months later I got a third on call job at another local hospital only 15 minutes from my house. Every day is different. I schedule with the hospitals up to three months in advance to cover vacations, but some weeks I still never know what days I'll work or at which facility. I could be scheduled and called off if the patient census is low, or I could be called in that morning to come in for a few hours. It's unpredictable and varied. I'm actually at two acute care hospitals working with medically fragile adults and at one outpatient pediatric clinic acting as their primary evaluator and fill-in therapist. While it's unpredictable, between the three facilities I have always had enough work each month to pay my bills and the schedule has given me the flexibility to continue doing missions work both here in the Valley and overseas. 

This whole experience has taught me several important lessons. The first is that I should not put God  in a box. This is an obvious one, but I some times forget it. My constructed theology that I create based on prior experiences and the reality of the season I am in may clash. This is a faith journey and not a faith paint by numbers. I really believe God is calling us to listen to His voice daily and be obedient in the moment instead of trying to hold on to what He told us ten years ago. I also learned that I need to know what's in my heart because my desires actually matter to God. God wants the BEST for me and every good and perfect thing in life comes from HIM any way. When we have the desires of our hearts fulfilled, He actually gets the glory from it. The testimony of how awesome He is and how He is working in our lives is such an encouragement, not only in our own lives but to other people as well.  Finally, taking a leap of faith into the unknown is scary. There is always a risk of falling flat on your face. But some times taking that leap means flying into fun and adventure. I will chose the risk every time. #worthit

No comments:

Post a Comment