Planning to be faithful

I don’t think I’m allowed to plan my life anymore. I’ve told you before – I have a sick love for planning, and re-planning. I apartment-hunt in my free time for a move that might happen a year from now. I half-worry, half-daydream about my future career, the books I’ll *hopefully* publish, the family that might someday come to be my own. If it’s possible to have thought ahead about something, I will have or will be doing so shortly, right after I finish thinking about which of my three desired careers I should pursue first.

It does make me tired. I know you were about to ask. All the planning and re-planning and worrying does tire me.

And THINGS NEVER PLAY OUT THE WAY I EXPECT. You know I’m serious when I use all caps. That’s not a regular occurrence here, folks. But it’s true, so I’ll all-caps it again. IT NEVER HAPPENS THE WAY I EXPECT, OR THE WAY I PLAN, OR THE WAY I THOUGHT I WANTED IT TO.

Let me just tell you a funny little story about my plans and how God said no.

Summer begins in May for college students. This means we need jobs. Some students plan ahead and join programs, do missions, travel. Some start looking for jobs in March. Some get them when they get home.

I started applying in early January.

I know. It’s sick.

I applied early because career advisors tell you that you need to do that, get your resume in before the crowds submit theirs, stand out as the person with initiative and organization. I applied early because I knew it’d be competitive. Publishing is a hard field to break into. You need an internship. You might need more than one.

Most internships these days don’t pay. At least not consistently. The internships I applied for were mostly stipend-pay. I applied for four. I interviewed for two. And I got – NONE.

No one wanted me (or if they did, they didn’t want me enough). I have probably twenty drafts of my resume, and it’s been past all the people to check it over. All the people. I have experience already. I thought I did well in the interviews. They liked me. But apparently something was lacking, or someone else fit better. So, there I was, internship-less. I have jobs – that wasn’t what was bothering me.

I felt like I wasn’t being efficient. Three weeks of working retail went by, and I kept telling myself (without fully believing it) that God must have something else in store for me, not about my career planning.

But by last Sunday night, I felt like he didn’t. I felt like everyone else had gotten something new and exciting, and I got old and not in my desired field. So I sat in my bed and shed a few self-pitying tears and finally told God that I would be faithful with what he had given me. Hadn’t he provided work that yielded paychecks? Hadn’t he given me friends to be with this summer? Hadn’t he given me books to read and plenty to keep me occupied? God, you’ve given me enough, I said. I will be faithful to the relationships you’ve given me. I will be faithful in the work you’ve already assigned to me. I will look for your guidance in the everyday and stay quiet to hear your still, small voice above the cacophony of the world.

I thought, This must be what I need to learn. I must need to learn to be faithful with what I have been given, to be a steward.

Apparently not.

I had followed my mom’s advice (99.9999999% of the time, a good idea) in reaching out to her friend who works for Big Name Publisher in sales. We had coffee the Friday before this little meltdown/Come-To-Jesus-Moment, and we talked about publishing. She gave me some tips on my resume and said she’d be willing to forward my cover letter and resume to her contacts at Minneapolis companies. I’d forgotten that was a possibility. I was just happy to be talking with her. Two hours after we left, I had drafted a cover letter and dusted off my resume and sent them to her.

She waited until Monday to send the emails out, to keep them from getting lost in people’s inboxes over the weekend. So thoughtful. I hope to be like that for other people. She copied me on the emails she sent to her contacts and said she was impressed with me and thought I’d be a great intern or future employee (at which I blushed… even though I was alone).

I expected to possibly be contacted by someone willing to do an informational interview with me. Maybe to have someone say they’d keep my resume on file. Internships are filled by this point. Nothing would come by that route.

Two hours after she sent those emails, I got a call. A call. On the phone. With a real, live person on the other end offering me a position at Well-known Educational Publisher.

God is too good to me. Is that heretical? Too good. I would have been happy with a small-time internship at the little companies I had the courage to apply to, the ones that could not offer more than a possible stipend and a resume boost.

Not only did they offer me the internship, but it’s paid. I’ll get minimum wage. (Yes, that is an exciting thing!) AND. AND. And. AND. It’s full-time.

Full-time, paid, with a good reputation to boot.

Now I’m positive I’m going to be learning this summer.

I don’t want to take this as a-see? God DOES want me to use my summer. And he FINALLY got on board with my plans and is helping me to do what I want to do.

Because that’s dumb.

This is my (and yours, if you have made it this far in the abnormally long post) reminder that God writes my story. And God doesn’t depend on ordinary means. And God doesn’t need me to even apply for a job or interview for it for Him to give it to me. This is my reminder that God’s plans prevail – and that they are good, whether it’s obvious or not.

I start tomorrow.


2 thoughts on “Planning to be faithful

  1. Congratulations Ashley. Praying for you today. God is so good and I also needed this reminder that my life is not up to me but what God wants. Thank-you.

  2. I read your entire BLOG thoughtfully, but excitedly. I sat on the edge of my seat and my heart was pounding with anticipation, Ashley. I knew you had quality things to share, and you DID. (Hey! I use all capitals when I am deeply serious too.)
    THANK YOU for this wonderful news of your new job!! WOW! YIPPEE!! PRAISE THE LORD!!
    Thank you for sharing the deep surrender you came to before you ever got the news. You gave yourself completely over to Jesus. You surrendered. You gladly obeyed in the simple, but meaningful ways. You expressed your willingness to invest in all that He has already given you. I like to put it plain and simple: you died to your own plans and desires. (I have to go through this over & over again.)
    And out of that death came RESURRECTION.
    God gave you more than you expected. He gave you resounding JOY.
    On and on throughout our lives we go through this process: die to it….out of death comes Hope…then Fulfillment…and JOY.
    I love you for sharing these beautiful things.

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