Last year, on Friday, April 29, at around 6:30PM, I walked out of the offices of my job at the island’s oldest and largest media company and took my last ride on the staff bus. I had officially handed in my resignation letter a month before, but in truth, I had emotionally quit the job several months before. Many people see my decision to leave a stable job at a reputable company as the most irresponsible of acts. How could I do such a thing, in this economic climate?! Don’t I see that there are hundreds—maybe even thousands—of people who would kill to have that job?! Versions of those questions have certainly been voiced to me by concerned relatives and friends, and by HR representatives and would-be bosses in the interviews I’ve done over the past 371 days. Only one interviewer has understood my answer and motivation, and agreed with me. In fact, she had a quote on her wall that expressed the very same sentiment:
I believe in the depths of my spirit and from the bottom of my heart that that job was and should have been mine, but I wasn’t ready for it, so I ended up playing second fiddle to another candidate as it slipped through my fingers. You see, on the temporal plain—as in this realm of reality where all of us live and breathe and carry out our lives, the one that everyone understands and can relate to—I left my good, good job because I had hit a wall, a dead end. Come to the end of my road. Was all out of fresh ideas. Had nothing new to contribute. And I had felt that way for months, but allowed myself to be persuaded to “think about it some more” and continue. Plus, there was nowhere else within the company for me to go, neither a promotion upward nor a lateral move. I knew it was time to turn over the reins to someone who could look at this job with fresh eyes and come up with new ideas, and I’m not the kind of employee who is able to phone it in and collect a paycheque under false pretenses, essentially. That kind of thing doesn’t sit well with my spirit. Speaking of my spirit, the other reason I had to leave—on the spiritual plain, the supernatural realm of reality, of God and His leading that most people know next to nothing about—I knew I was being directed by the Holy Spirit to come away, take some time to seek His direction, because I obviously was in a transitional phase, at a crossroads, on the cusp of a big change, and I needed to get ready.
I prayed about the decision I had to make. I agonised about it. I sought out messages about listening to the voice of God on YouTube, and I was led to one from Priscilla Shirer entitled Releasing Your Grasp, which talked about the importance of this space and time of separation. It was that message that gave me peace to let go of the position I was in and freed my mind to look forward to the possibilities of what was to come. I didn’t just up and leave carelessly. A girl had (has) bills! Hello? But I knew I couldn’t stay, because staying was enervating and strangling. On that last day, after I had bid farewell to the co-workers who had added so much colour to my life for three years, I felt nothing but peace, because I knew I had made the right decision. After I left, I was going to dedicate the month of May to some serious prayer and fasting, to reading and meditating on the Word of God, receiving direction from the Holy Spirit on what my next steps would be, and working directly with my pastors in the soul-winning efforts of our church. I say “I was going to” do all of that, but what I actually did was, in a conversation with my employer from a previous job, mention that I had just finished my last day and would be open for freelancing opportunities. And what happened after that was I began receiving work practically from that very night. So, what did I do? I went right on working, pushing back my period of God-seeking and soul-searching, and before I knew it, a whole year and six days have passed and I’m still at home freelancing, with the contracts steadily dwindling down and panic slowly beginning to set in. Ya girl sabotaged herself, y’all. She shot herself right in the foot.
Remember that job I’m still confident was supposed to have been mine? I had a preliminary meeting with the lady who would’ve been my boss (the one who had the Dolly Parton quote on a picture on her office wall. Hello? Sign?!) in late May and the official interview in June. If I had done what I was supposed to do, I would have been ready. Whatever the gap was that led to them offering the position to someone else, it wouldn’t have been there had I been obedient, because the Holy Spirit would have been able to lead me in the right way. One thing about God is that He does not force anyone to obey Him. He gave us free will to choose Him or choose someone else. I basically went into that interview—which went very well, by the way—operating on my own strength, when what I needed was a supernatural experience. I wasn’t geared up, so I was pushed back. I understand that this makes absolutely no sense to the average person, but as a born again child of God with a modicum of understanding concerning spiritual realities, I know that life is not just about what I perceive and experience here with my physical senses. There are greater forces at play in this life, and my disobedience cost me what should have been my open door.
Going back to Pastor Priscilla’s message a little, one of the Biblical stories she referenced was about Elijah and the experiences he had prior to his fire-from-Heaven victory on Mount Carmel. Many Jamaicans consider themselves God-fearing and they went to Sunday or Sabbath School, so they know the basics of the story. I won’t get into all the details, but if you want to know more, read 1 Kings 16:29 to the end of chapter 18 to get the full context. The long and short of it is that, because of the sinfulness and idolatry that was happening with God’s people at that time, under the reign of King Ahab, Elijah had made the bold declaration that there would be no rain—not even a dew drop—for several years, until he gave the word. What followed was three years of him having to hide from a livid King Ahab. But God called Elijah away to hide by the Brook Cherith, where he drank from the stream and was fed by ravens. The word Cherith is derived from the Hebrew chorath, which means “cut off” or “separation,” among other definitions. Elijah was literally called to a place of separation, and I believe I was, too. My task wasn’t of the magnitude of Elijah’s, but the directive was the same. Come away. There, at the place of separation, Elijah was miraculously fed and nourished. Because he obeyed. That’s what I missed by disobeying. In that period of separation, he received what he needed for his moment on Mount Carmel, which came three years later. Without that separation, who knows what would have happened to him?
Without that separation, what happened to me is that I missed my cues, and what should have been a month between jobs has turned into 371 days of wandering. I’m living a true children-of-Israel-on-the-way-to-the-Promised-Land experience, where an 11-day journey turned into 40 years of misery because of their own mumbling, grumbling and rank disobedience. Good grief! I’ve had a few great months freelancing, mind you. But it was never my plan to do it full-time for so long. I’ve had a few job interviews since the one that got away, but none of them have led to offers. You’d think I’d have had the sense to repent, take some time away and commit to doing what I should have done from May 2016, but have I done that? Nope. Have I spent numerous days moping around, feeling sorry for myself, guilt-ridden, lost, and frustrated instead? Absolutely! I’ve made several attempts, but for whatever reason, I haven’t followed through, and I’ve consistently been paying the price. You see, I’ve spent years perfecting the art of self-sabotage. I’ve only, in the past three years or so, been learning how to move away from that mindset, but as they say, old habits die hard. It’s been a journey, and I’ve truly been working on myself, with the help of two amazing, committed friends who are tough-loving and gently extricating me from the grips of crippling self-doubt. What happens when I feel emotionally or spiritually overwhelmed is that I tend to run and hide instead of fighting back. I’ll sequester myself in my room and drown my sorrows in the vice of books or social media or movies or tv shows, just sitting in limbo while my mind ricochets between feelings of abject wutlissness and fear that I’ll never amount to anything in life. Y’all should hear my internal dialogue sometimes. Sheesh! Today, I learned from one of the YouVersion devotions I’m reading that the root word for ‘fear,’ in both Greek and ancient Hebrew, implies a running away from something or someone. I’m done running and tripping over myself. I know for sure that God hasn’t given me the spirit of fear. I know it comes from the devil himself and he’s nothing but a liar and an accuser, but while knowledge is power, it’s only useful when you do something with it, you know?
So, here I am, 371 days later.
Do I regret leaving the job? I know members of my family regret that I did. They didn’t get the call on their spirits that I did, so even when I explain, they don’t understand. One panelist at my last unsuccessful interview spent about 10 minutes trying to understand my decision, trying to convince himself (certainly not me) that I was just burnt out and needed a vacation, because it’s just unfathomable for someone to leave a job without another already lined up. What can I say? There are many—many—things I regret in this life, but that decision is not one of them, and will never be. What I do regret is my disobedience to God, not once, but every single day since then that I have failed to just do what He had called me to do. I have taken many a social media hiatus, with the intent to start, but I’ll go a day or two and then get distracted.
But the buck stops here. I will not go into the 372nd day like this. I am making a public commitment to dedicating the next seven days to doing what I should have done last year. I know I’d initially said a month, but seven days is what has been resonating in my spirit as I’ve been bemoaning my current state and thinking of what my future is going to look like. This is not what was supposed to have happened. This is not where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I am not an ordinary person. I am a cherished daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Holy Spirit lives in me. I’m supposed to be a walking demonstration of my Father’s supernatural power. My life is supposed to be an example to others, a beacon of what they could be, not this tacky cautionary tale. I may just decide to go the whole rest of the month, because truly, it is to my benefit. No one commits to spending time in fellowship with God, follows through, and doesn’t have a testimony to show and tell.
What I’ve been doing is walking blind, when I have the Light of the World as my guide. My gosh, what a mess I’ve made! I’ve been walking in mere hope when I’ve been called to walk in faith, which isn’t believing for some faraway thing that may or may not come to pass, but a certainty that it already has—the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not (yet) seen (in this natural realm), according to Hebrews 11:1. The Amplified version puts it like this, “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” I will have my testimony and I’ll share it here and in church and all over my social media and anywhere else I’m led. I’m putting myself and my business out here on front street as an act of repentance, an act of faith, and yes, a cautionary tale to someone else who may just be struggling with their own internal crisis and could use some encouragement or a kick in the pants.
So, thanks for reading. And watch this space.