How do you react when something doesn’t go your way? I’m not talking about not getting to go to your favorite restaurant for dinner, I’m talking about life changes that didn’t work out like you’d planned. Speaking for myself, I tend to spiral out of control (these disappointments tend to come at times when I’m already an emotional mess, and so things only seem worse). I get so focused on the negative, that it clouds out all else.
When I was a newly graduated nurse, I was applying for a great many jobs that seemed to be just what I needed, though not what I truly wanted. During nursing school I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have to work in a different area of nursing for a while, gaining experience before transitioning to the NICU – my dream job since before nursing school started.
But for the longest time, I wasn’t hearing back from anyone. Even jobs that seemed to be a perfect fit for new nurses such as myself. Once I finally started getting called in for interviews (roughly six months after graduation), I began to get excited, thinking that I would soon have a job. But I didn’t. I continued to be turned down for seemingly perfect positions, including one where I was almost certain the manager was going to hire me on the spot!
After so much waiting, my enthusiasm began to fade. After so much rejection, I found myself questioning God, questioning why he was doing all of this to me (a bit dramatic, I know). I didn’t understand, and this left me feeling hurt and frustrated.
But what does God say about all of this? Does God say that we should not cry or be disappointed? Personally, I don’t think so. We are human, and as such we are emotional and inquisitive creatures who want to understand. Even many people in the Bible cried out to God in despair during hard times (think King David and Job, among many others). But one thing you’ll notice as you read these stories is that despite all of their hardships and woes, these people trusted God to take care of them. They couldn’t see the end of the road, yet they trusted God to do what was best for them. God will always do what is best for his children, even when we are hurt and don’t understand.
Once I realized this, my mindset began to change. Was I still disappointed at every rejection? Of course I was. But every time I reminded myself that God had something better in mind, and that this wasn’t where he needed me. In the meantime, God provided me a temporary/part-time job as a church secretary, which was another unexpected blessing. And I continued to wait.
One day in February/March 2016, I decided to re-apply to my dream position of a NICU residency. I had applied for this position before back in the fall of the previous year, but was immediately rejected. It was a bit farther away from where I lived, but at that point I thought “What’s the harm of applying again?” So I sent off my application and didn’t think much more about it.
Shortly after applying, I was asked to come in for an interview. Part of me was excited, but the other part of me kept saying not to get my hopes up, because they were probably going to turn me down. I was still looking for other jobs, continuing on with my life, since I didn’t think anything would happen. Looking back, I realize that I had finally surrendered control of this issue to God, knowing that he would always do what was best.
As I walked in to the interview, I distinctly remember an overwhelming feeling of “It’s gonna be okay. Either way this works out, it’s going to be okay.” I firmly believe that this was God’s doing. During the interview, I experienced none of my usual nervousness, and I knew exactly what to say (something that had been an issue in previous interviews). Even after I left, I still had that feeling of peace, trusting God to do what was best for me.
I got the job.
Suddenly, it all made sense – the rejections, the waiting, all of it! God had provided me a job, and to top it all off, he gave me my dream job, which had previously seemed impossible! To this day I still get tears in my eyes when I remember this story, and I see God’s overwhelming love for me at every turn. During difficult times at work, I am comforted by the fact that I am exactly where God needs be to be at this time.
I am still a work in progress. There are still times when I cry out to God, and each time God, in his perfect love, reminds me of the countless times he has taken care of me in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.