Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is God Calling?

Here's the question:  can we be called to a job rather than to a career?

The short version is this: I need a new job.  If I had to list the regrets I have in life, it would be a short list.  It may even be merely a single item - leaving my job at BPC.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  I truly thought I had considered everything.  As I'm writing this I realize that I cannot even qualify that choice as a regret.  Was the decision shortsighted?  Sure.  I was focused on aspects of that job and this job that I now see are inconsequential.  But what it really comes down to is a lack of information.  I didn't know there wouldn't be enough work to fill 40 hours.  I didn't know that my boss's temper would affect me so deeply.  Heck, I didn't really know what his temper looked like.  I didn't know that being alone in our building would feel so lonely.  I didn't know that my commute would wear on me so hard.

With this new information, I decided to start looking for another job.  I don't know what the perfect situation will look like.  If I'm closer to home, could I work in a job that doesn't fully engage me?  If I have a job that I love love love, would my commute bother me less?  Is it in my family's best interest to make less money while being much happier in my job situation?  I've applied for some jobs that are closer to home and some that seem like they would be a good fit for me.  Nothing has worked out, so far.

Last week, my dearest Lois Lane forwarded me an email she received from the program director at a local Christian radio station.  They are looking for a full-time on-air personality for their morning show.  Lois works in the communication department at UNI with interns and she was contacted to help spread the word for their search.  Her brain works is curiously awesome ways and she immediately thought I should apply and so forwarded the information to me.  I'm smart and a can learn to do just about anything, so I thought "this could be a fun adventure!"  I looked at the job description and quickly learned that they wanted a "real" broadcaster.  I have great chatting skills, I love music, and I love God but clearly that wasn't going to cut it.

After a few emails back and forth, Lois convinced me "why not?" and said she would ask the program director if they would consider applications from inexperienced folks.  I thought surely he would say "this is a serious radio station, we want a professional broadcaster."

I also emailed JK and she aptly pointed out that I had never, ever mentioned a desire to be in the world of mass media and pushed me to consider what my career goals are.  Just because I need a new job doesn't mean I should jump into the first thing that comes along.  Getting out isn't the only goal, I also have to find my way to something better, something that will sustain me for years.  She's so smart.

That evening I listened to the radio station during my commute home and was left with a yucky feeling in my gut.  This radio station is owned by a Christian college in the Twin Cities that I don't particularly admire.  Some of the youth group kids I worked with were looking to attend that college and some of their practices were, shall we say, less than progressive, in my opinion.  I liked the music I was hearing, I didn't object to anything the DJ's were saying, but something just wasn't right.  I attributed these feelings to God telling me, "Nope, that is not the right place for you."  I wouldn't be comfortable working for an organization whose theology vastly differs from mine and I know it wouldn't be fair to me, the listeners or to the people who put their life into that ministry.

So I thought, "Good enough.  That's not the ministry for me, not the job for me and that's perfectly okay."

The next morning, however, I felt compelled to give them another listen.  This time, I felt totally different.  I heard only, "We are here to uplift you.  We want you to know God is on your side.  We want you to know t Eastern Iowa is on your side."  I am a strong believer in the idea that it takes a village to do just about everything in life and the interludes presented by the DJ's between songs made my heart feel warm.

That morning, Lois forwarded another email saying that the station would absolutely accept the application of anyone with experience in Communication - and it seems that Youth and Family Ministry falls in that category.

Well, shit.  Now I'm all kinds of confused.

When JK asked me to consider my long-term career goals the only thing that came to mind was being a stay-at-home-mom.  Granted, we are several years away from being able to make that happen financially and it may not ever happen.  I'm okay with that, too.  I have never considered starting a career in the communication field because I don't have the education or the experience or the opportunity to go back to school.  But I do know that I have been long fascinated with media.  I don't think I want a life-long career in the business world.  When I think about trying to get back into congregational youth ministry, that doesn't feel right either.

I do know that I am called to ministry, but I am far from sure what form that is supposed to take.  Maybe I'm supposed to be super involved in a congregation in lots of informal ways.  Maybe I'm supposed to spend my ministry energy on building a strong prayer and devotional routine for Clayton and I.  Maybe I'm supposed to work for an organization that takes people on mission trips.  Maybe I'm supposed to mentor a kid in Waterloo.  Maybe I'm supposed to work for a Christian radio station.  Maybe I'm already fulfilling my call in my everyday life.

Is God calling me to this job?  Is God calling me to a career in media?  Could this job be a filler job until my career path is clear to me?  Or maybe it's a filler job until I get to stay at home with Clayton and any other kids we are blessed with?

Of course there are zillions of factors to consider - will it be enough money, will we be able to make the goofy hours work, will I feel comfortable working with people whose ideas of discipleship are more traditional than mine...?

I forwarded my resume to the program director on Monday.  I haven't heard back.

Share your thoughts below and stay tuned....

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