Friday, June 7, 2013

The Peace of God in my Job Search

My palms are sweaty.  I just finished a horrible demo lesson and know that the reaction will be, "We'll call you," will no intention to say yes.  How did I manage to mess that up? If only I prepared more, or thought about how long the labeling would take or had some more classroom management tricks up my sleeve, or... anything, then it would've been fine! Right?

I walk slowly out of the classroom, gathering the remaining bag of Goldfish and my worksheets, carefully placing the chairs atop the table as asked, and then head over to the office where we'll have a final talk.  I remember my past year of learning where, if I learned anything, it was that there are always positives to a lesson, and a successful teacher is an excellent reflector.  So I start thinking about what went well and what I could improve, instead of just saying that I failed.  

I'm asked how I think the lesson went and find myself pleasantly prepared for this question, sharing with ease the positives and specific ways I can make it better.  A pause, and a comment, "I like the way you reflect." 

Among other things she also shares, "It was very gutsy to do a lesson like this upon meeting the students for the first time.  I think when you start teaching, you might want to consider not using lessons like this until October, when you really know the students." Sounds fair to me, despite previous success. Then comes the big question, "So, what do you think?"

How do I answer that? What does she mean? That is one of the most vague questions I've ever been asked, especially in this particular situation so, "What do you mean?" is my automatic reply. 
"What do you think about the job? Would you like the job?" 

My heart pounds. My face flushes (typical). My jaw drops to reveal a gapping mouth. I'm being offered the job right now? Right here? On the spot? Even with my horrible demo?

It is a Christian School, I remind myself, and they need teachers, I could probably be anyone, but here and now they are offering me a job. 

"Umm, well. Yea - Yes, sure!" 
Did I just said yes? So I have a job for next year? 

They go over the more than modest salary, the hours, the classes, I'm handed papers that need to be signed and I'm out the door. I drive home in shock and slight confusion.  I say a quick thank you to God, but at no point to I earnestly seek His guidance. 

I have a job. 

I have a job.

Why am I not excited? 

At home, I check my email once more.  An email that is "marked as unread" still sits in my priority inbox (+1 for Gmail), and I re-read the email from the school that I had previously fallen in love with, a different school than the one I've been accepted to.  I know the general idea of what it says, "...We're not sure of our hiring ability..." which I had seen originally and skimmed the rest. That meant no.  Right? 

But now I take calculated closer look, thinking of the opportunity as gone.  I read "Contact me prior to accepting the job anywhere else." What? I don't remember that...   

It is a Friday, one of the first sunny Friday's near the end of April, and I head into Manhattan for my Demo at ICE, a collaborative public school.  I had spend the entire week re-teaching myself statistics and then piecing together a cooperative lesson for a demo. I was nervous, but as soon as I stood in front of those students, my fears subsided.  I proceeded to teach the best lesson I ever taught (in my opinion), and then was rewarded with a, "That was excellent," from the teacher who observed me. "We'll be in contact," is what I'm left with, and I walk out praising God, but mostly I leave with an extreme confidence in my own ability to teach. I love the school! I love the kids! I love how they not only are willing to answer thinking questions, but they ask their own questions! I love the calling teachers by first names! I love the collaborative nature of the school! I love their entire philosophy! I think this might be my dream job! 

So now I stare at this email that says "prior to" and ask myself, Does that mean there is hope for me to get this job? My dream job? I send an email saying I've been offered another job, and am left with heavy heart.  What school to pick? I sorta said yes to Evangal Christian school already, but I didn't sign a contract, I could probably tell them no... What should I do? 

I weigh the pros and cons, I consider my wants, I consider my needs, I consider what will be "My Best Fit."  A lot points to ICE, but, for whatever reason, I still don't call Evangal Christian to apologize and ask for more time. 

The week goes by in a blur of trying to forget, and I don't hear back from ICE, so I start to think, maybe that is God's way of saying I should teach at Evangal Christian School. 

Then it is Thursday. I open my inbox to check when bible study starts, and there is a new email from ICE.  "We do have a spot, but we need two weeks to decide," it reads.  
The AP goes further to ask, "Which place would you prefer to work?"

How is the possible? Why, after a week of starting to feel more confident with Evangal Christian, would God give me this second option again? Why do I need to actually make this choice and not just have it handed to me? 
I consider again, what do I want? And the assistant principal's question nags me.  I think I prefer ICE, but why I'm I reluctant to make that choice? I feel no peace and begin to realize, at no point, during the entire week had I consulted God, or asked for Him to lead me, or even talked to Him about the decision.  I had thanked Him when I got the job, but that was about it.  Instead I had been focused on myself.  

So I start to pray. 

What right do I have to come before my Father with this request when I've been trying to do it on my own for so long? What right do I have to ask for guidance when I've been seeking my own will first? 
I lay this out before Him.  With a small amount of bitterness I ask Him why He was giving me this difficult choice.  I ask Him how my choice in this brings Him any glory.  But then I ask Him for guidance.  
Our God is Sovereign, and all things work for His glory.  Thus, I ask for the choice that will glorify Him, and not myself.  It doesn't happen immediately. 

It's Friday and I wake up at 6AM, something I haven't done in 2 weeks, with the express intention of discovering if the commute to Evangal Christian School is doable for me if I leave at 6:30AM (because if I have to leave any earlier than that, I don't think it will be a match)! 
I get in the car, and pray.  

"Our Father who art in Heaven..." The "Lord's Prayer" is my model, as I praise God for His sovereignty and His characteristics of Glory. "Give us this day..." What do I need today? I need to Desire God above all else, I need to have strength to resist temptation and fight the fight. I need to know what school I should choose.  

I make it to the school with 5 minutes to spare.  The trip is doable.  I pull to the side in an illegal spot, put my hazards on, and cry out. 

I don't think about the pros and cons. 
I don't think about what I want. 
I don't think about the advice some friends have shared. 

I just think about God. 
My ears focus in on the song playing in the background:
"Oh Father, use my ransomed life in anyway You choose."
I cry.  And I know.

But Lord, what about the hardships I was worried about? Philippians 4:13
But Lord, what about what I wanted? Philippians 4:11
But Lord, what about the sound advice other's have given me? Philippians 4:8

Oh what a peace! In all my questions and my what ifs God, I'm reminded of the scriptures.  I consider how I meditated on Philippians 4 the day before because of the advice from a sister, and I remember the promises Paul talks of.  Oh What Peace comes from Resting in the Guidance of God!

I see now how the Woman of Virtue in Proverbs 31 can rejoice in the time to come for God is her rock!

So, I have a job.  Next September I'll be working at Evangal Christian School where I'll drive to joyfully each day, knowing that this is the Lord's plan, and His plan is Good.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds though Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

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