What is my purpose for asking God for guidance and wisdom? Is it to achieve His ends...or mine? My first step is to lay all at His feet and offer it to Him: my work, my time, my evening and weekend activities, my thoughts, my hobbies, etc (Romans 12:1-2). In 2008/9, I remember having these sorts of day dreams where I surrendered even my hobbies to God, but only with great loss, pain, and reluctance. At heart, I felt very self-righteous for making such a weighty sacrifice. But was that sacrifice really as weighty as my deceptive heart made it out to be? What could be more painful than to sacrifice one's own son - yet that is what God gave up to save me (Romans 8:32). How can I hold anything back from Him in light of that? I am not my own because I was bought at a price and a very high price indeed (1 Cor 7:23, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Lord, I lay this job decision at Your feet. Do with it as You will. All I ask is that You guide me closer to Yourself (Psalm 27:4).
Other questions to ask:
Is there any unrepentant sin in my life? I'm beginning to face my fear of making choices (Romans 8:15), speaking up (2 Timothy 1:7), etc. Friends, do you see other unrepentant sin obvious from my writings here?
What are my desires? Why? To work at a job where I feel that I am contributing real value both in terms of the work itself and with regards to the Kingdom. I feel like I am not useful or meaningful where I am now. Perhaps the work itself has little significant meaning measured against world history, but I do have opportunities to support in love and speak in truth to my co-workers (John 1:14). If I work in a mission organization, I won't have those same opportunities. Am I seeking a new job simply out of selfish discomfort and personal preference? Might I be more useful to the Kingdom if I stay in this job? (Matthew 5:14-16) That's a very hard question for me to consider.
Am I in God's word? I've been reading small bits of 1 Peter in the mornings. I don't have a clear evening devotional. Perhaps I need to get back into evening Spurgeon devotionals... Yes, I believe I will start tonight.
Am I going to church? Yep. I did miss last week, but I really felt the loss of that time of spiritual feasting and fellowship.
There's a lot of information to gather and consider. The jobs range in type and location and goal. If I did seek a job, I would probably need to move - forcing a consideration of new housing, a new church, new means of transportation, new local services, new friends, etc. It could even include a new language, culture, etc. Not that any of that would be new, but it is inconvenient. Included in that would be a new methodology of support, which would be new to me.
I'm poised at an interesting set of circumstances right now. My housing is rather temporary in nature and I wouldn't be leaving any family here. The stakes that fasten my tent down are: waiting for new management to relieve me at work, my healthy church, and potential opportunities to teach the Bible.
I was also advised to factor in marriage and whether I ever want that to be a part of my life experience. I'm open to possibilities, but I'm not counting on it or even hoping for it. I'm content to remain as I am, like Paul said.
But all this leads me to ask - do I seek to work out of an unhealthy motive? Do I seek to find meaning and identity and joy in work alone? (Ecclesiastes 2:11) Do I think that work will satisfy my thirst? If so, I'm afraid that I'll find it to be yet another broken cistern. (Jeremiah 2:13) Only God can satisfy that deep thirst of the soul. And even if I seek for work in the ministry, if I do so out of a desire to idolize the opportunity rather than to use it for God's glory, I will be sorely disappointed. Martha's work was not wrong in and of itself, but her attitude toward work did not glorify the Lord or benefit her (Luke 10:41-42). I need to search my heart and see what desires are truly and fully behind my consideration for a new job.
I stopped praying about this. I need to start again and keep it up (Luke 18:1). Right now. Lord, guide me in Your way and lead me in Your righteousness for Your glory and my satisfaction. Amen.
I've been talking to a lot of people about this. People at Wycliffe, my parents, my friends, an elder, one of my co-workers, etc. I'm also looking into the possibility of finding a discipling partner who will take me under her spiritual wing, hold me accountable, grow with me, and advise me. I also need to actually ask for advice from everybody, since I haven't done that yet. So, lj friends, any advice?
I'm doing some of that now :)
What other information (about myself or the options) do I need to make this decision? First, I feel like I really want to search out my heart and understand my motives for seeking this other job opportunity. Are my motives pure, or are they deceitful? Second, I feel that I really want to address those areas of my life where I know I am living in a way that does not please God (namely, my indecisiveness and my fear to speak to others about my faith). I want to confirm that these sinful behaviors are not somehow deceiving me or blinding me. Third, I want to learn more about the way that individuals work in the organization and to get a better sense of what that job atmosphere would be like. I'm afraid that if I take the step to request an application right now, that it will appear that I've acted too hastily and not thoroughly counted the cost or considered my innermost intentions.
What makes me feel like I need to act right now? While I feel like I need to gather more information, I also feel torn to act right now. First, I want to please people and show that I really am interested. Second, I am afraid that the type of position that I'm interested in will be taken by the time I finish the process. Third, in a sense, I feel as though I'm hesitating out of fear and that I need to prove that wrong by making a move. Fourth, I feel as though I just want to move on to the next stage because I've been here at this stage for almost a month now. Not that a month is a very long time...
So, I struggle! Wrestle! With my heart and with God. May God align me to His will as I wrestle with these matters. For His glory! :)