Monday, January 8, 2018

When the Answer is No

Luke 16:10
Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with large things. Whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in large things too.

Six months ago, I began applying for jobs with very high hopes. I felt that my six years of volunteer work one to three days per week in an after school program would help to make up for the fact that I had not had a "real job" (other than running our small family business) in over 20 years.  

I took my first rejection very hard, so hard that I refused to apply for any other jobs for several months.  I licked my wounds and told myself that the interviewer had a problem. I'm still not certain where the truth lies in my summation; I'm not sure what I did that had me dismissed so abruptly after an hour long interview.  But I FINALLY moved on and began my search again. 

In the meantime, I began a very satisfying stint as a volunteer for a second grade classroom at one of the schools our neighborhood kids attend.   I applied for a job which would in no way involve working with children; I wasn't sure at all that I was qualified for that position and wasn't surprised  when the position was filled in house by a very deserving employee who had the education and work experience to do that job very well.  I applied for three different, but similar, positions at three different elementary schools in the section of the county where I live.  I interviewed for two of those positions. After the first interview, I had a brief discussion with the principal at the school where I volunteer; I told her that I seemed to have lost my ability to interview well.  She recommended that I be myself and allow the love for children that I had expressed to her in a phone conversation days before shine through.  She seemed confident that I would get a position soon.  

I went to the second interview full of hope and enthusiasm. (Was I too enthusiastic? Maybe, probably, don't know!) The interview went very well in my opinion.  I felt like I connected solidly with the teachers and vice principal who conducted the interview. And the age level for the students was right in the zone where I had invested so much of my volunteer time. High hopes and excitement reigned in my psyche.  And then the days began to drag and I didn't get the phone call. After a week of waiting, I knew in my heart what the outcome would be.  They had said they were in a hurry to fill the position.  No one can control the home office timeline; but I knew what was going to happen.  And then there it was in my inbox, another rejection.  That was the most difficult!  That was the job I wanted more than all the others.  I had interviewed for another position with another organization on the same day as that interview and I had already heard the fateful "NO" from that interview.  I quickly got another no from the third position with the schools; that application had not even garnered an interview for me. After one more application and interview, my seventh "No" came by email yesterday. 

Down for the count and totally depressed and defeated.  Fifty-six years old and washed up!  Is that what it is? Am I too old to be working with young children; but how could I have such a desire to teach, advocate, and mentor on behalf of little children and it not be the right fit for me?!!   

A week or so after I got the rejection that hurt the most, I had lunch scheduled with a young friend whom I had met several years before; we are just becoming "real" friends through sharing experiences and time together in recent weeks. I shared with her that when I first met her, I thought God had brought us together so I could mentor her; ashamed, I admitted that God had showed me clearly that she is the mentor, I am the mentee. At the lunch table,  I began my whining about not getting any of the positions I had applied for.  She asked a couple of pointed questions.  Her questions resonated with my own thoughts. I confessed to her that the verse above, Luke 16:10, had been circulating in my head for weeks. My house is in shambles, my finances are not far behind. I'm unorganized, undisciplined, and many times uncaring in the keeping of my home and family!  I'm running around like the proverbial chicken with it's, you know the rest.

So in her kind, wise way, she told me to FOCUS (that again) on my first responsibilities: my marriage, my home, my children, my business, then all the rest.  Why is that so difficult for me?  I do not know!  I think there is the element that my husband and my sons still at home are all adults; shouldn't they be able to take care of themselves and even help take care of the house?  Well yes, yes they should!  But that doesn't mean I can flit around the neighborhood totally ignoring my people and my own mess at home.  

I have accepted that (for now,) the answer that best serves our well being is NO OTHER JOB for me. I'm using the holiday period,and most likely, beyond to get the house in order, the financial books in order and try to get a grip on myself, my energy level, and my desire to serve, teach, and advocate for children. I'm having to remind myself constantly that the things I have neglected for years cannot be totally restored to order in days.  This is a process and I will have to maintain my FOCUS and DEDICATION to my small things for quite some time, developing routines and habits geared towards my most important "jobs," wife, mother, business woman, neighbor.

Seven "nos" in six months feels like a lot of rejection and I struggle with it.  But God is opening other doors; new ideas and new projects are presenting themselves.  I am trying to stay FOCUSED on my core objectives in spite of and because of those other pressing projects.  Lord, please help me!   Amen.

Addendum to this post:  I wrote the body of this post in December.  It is now the second week of January.  I am crawling along addressing the issues right in front of me with the focus that those things deserve. It is not a fast thing to dig out of years of neglect; but it is going along steadily and mostly smoothly.   LSP

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