Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I think of that several times a day thanks to a generous artist I know, Anya Getter, who sent me a beautiful painting of a woman with courage.
… and the visual reminder of Eleanor’s directive … has given me the extra ounce of courage needed to job hunt over the last few months, and has inspired me to take the big leap I did last week, when I accepted an offer for a full-time position at a prodigious consulting firm with a great reputation.
There are plenty of uncertainties and you can bet I’m nervous.
I have never worked for a large corporation before and don’t know how office politics work. I haven’t yet been assigned to a specific project, although I’m hoping to work on mental health programs. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be working or how long my commute will be. In the beginning and for periods of time, I might have to leave the house at 4 in the morning and return around 8 at night. I’ll be driving in beltway traffic. Yes, the chick that hates to drive anywhere outside of a five mile radius. It’s going to be a huge adjustment. For me. For my husband. For my kids.
Because I’m OCD off the charts, I’ve been writing posts during the summer that I can publish during the fall if I can’t squeeze in the time to write. I also have some favorites among my archives that I wanted to resurrect with a new twist. So I will publish posts every day (except Saturday and Sunday) like I’ve been doing. Come the end of the year, I will be better able to assess the situation.
I’ve been praying the Third Step Prayer about 20 times a day since April, when I got news of my disappointing book sales, followed by the sale of Beliefnet. The prayer goes like this:
God, I offer myself to Thee- ?To build with me ?and to do with me as Thou wilt. ?Relieve me of the bondage of self, ?that I may better do Thy will. ?Take away my difficulties, ?that victory over them may bear witness ?to those I would help of Thy Power, ?Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. ?May I do Thy will always!
I would ask God over and over again to direct my path. To give me some small clue as to where I should go, thinking that His will would be to work for this agency over that one, to write versus consulting, to freelance as opposed to working fulltime. But, according to Wilkie Au, a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University, that’s not what discerning God’s will is all about. In his book, “By Way of the Heart,”
Unfortunately, many people view the will of God as rather like a ten-ton elephant hanging overhead, ready to fall on them….Actually the word which we translate into English as “will” comes from both a Hebrew and a Greek word which means yearning. It is that yearning which lovers have for one another. Not a yearning of the mind alone or of the heart alone but of the whole being. A yearning which we feel is only a glimmering of the depth of the yearning of God for us.
Thus, the will of God is dynamic, personal love urging us along the path that leads to union with the Lord. As with an ordinary journey, there may be several paths that can lead equally well to our destination; or some way may be notably better; or some way may lead us away from our destination.
So “the prayer to know God’s will,” states theologian John Wright, “is a prayer to have this kind of insight about the choices open to me.” When we pray “Your will be done,” we are not thinking about a script of our lives God has destined from all eternity. Rather we are referring to the choices we must make. And when these lead to union with God, they are compatible with God’s plan to unite all creation. “Thus, it may sometime happen that I will actually be doing God’s will, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whether I choose this or that.”
I don’t know what God’s will is for me. For the time being, I’ve stopped trying to figure that out. I just assess each situation and take my best guess as to what is the right thing to do. I put myself out there and do something every day that scares me. Like, for example, driving to a corporate job on the other side of the DC beltway. That definitely qualifies.