Earlier this evening, as I was watching the latest episode of The Glee Project (keep the snickers down to a minimum, k thx), one of the contestants said something that was profound in its simplicity. During his last chance performance (the last chance a contestant has at proving to the judges that he or she deserves to stay in the competition), he told the judges, “I’m here because God wants me to be here right now.” Think about it: wherever you are at in your life, it’s because God iwants you there.
I witnessed this recently in my own life. The first permanent, full-time job I got after graduating college was as a staff assistant at a local university. In addition to answering the phones and doing basic clerical work, I kept track of the donations the university received and got them ready to be entered into our database. Eventually I was promoted to actually entering them into the database, and then I received another promotion that saw me balancing out each month’s donations and working with IT to resolve database issues. None of the jobs were my dream job. In college, I majored in public relations, so I was prepared to start a career in either that field, or somewhere else in media. It was what I was educated in, and it was where my skill set was most valuable. When I first got hired on at the university, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be there past a year. It was just a job to pay the bills while I looked for something more relevant.
I ended up working at that university for almost four years, and I frequently wondered why the hell I was there. I hated math and numbers, and problem solving that involved math and numbers, and the primary function of my job was to keep track of the donations we got in, make sure each month balanced out, and reconcile for any discrepancies. While there were a handful of people with whom I truly enjoyed working, there were just as many who were difficult to get along with and who made day-to-day operations such a process. Office politics were through the roof, and I was often frustrated. I searched for jobs, but got nowhere. I felt like I was stuck in a dead-end with no outlet. I vented to friends, and I vented to God, asking why I was in the job that I was in. I was grateful to have a job in an economy that was tanking, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. And no matter how much I vented, I stayed put. God made it clear to me I’d be there for awhile.
In March of this year, I received and accepted a job offer with an ad firm, and I saw why I was at the university for so long. During those long years, I matured as a young professional, and as a person. I learned how to interact with a large group of people with very different personalities. I learned how to be proactive in whatever job I found myself in. I accepted the fact that there were times where I’d have to suck it up and do tasks I didn’t like. I learned to pick my battles. I learned how to deal with office politics. I learned the importance of communication. I learned how to cover my ass. I learned to be happy even when things didn’t go according to my plans. When I started my new job, I had a whole new set of skills unrelated to my degree and my past media experience which set me up for success. Looking back, I think that if I had started a career in media right out of the gate, it wouldn’t have worked out. I was at that university for so long because God wanted me there. He wanted me to grow and mature so that when He finally gave me an opportunity, I’d make the most of it. His plan wasn’t what I wanted, but it ended up being what I needed (of course).
When life is moving along fine and dandy, it’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s totally in God’s plan.” It’s when we’re at a standstill that it becomes harder to fully believe it. But from looking at my own experiences, I think it’s when we’re at a standstill that God is working the most. Even when we don’t see it, we are where we are because God wants us there.