When I was in college I read a book called “Good to Great”. Have you heard of it? As a friend of mine was telling me her recent job-hunt story, I kept thinking about that book. Mary had been laid-off from a decent-paying good job in graphic design. She had quickly picked up a little contract work and then wisely sat back and took a breather before making any other moves….she was en route, albeit, in a very elegant and unorthodox manner. And today Mary has landed a dream job that is in line with her passions and calling, all while seamlessly integrated into her healthy local-church community. In what seems like an effortless way, Mary made choices and operated out of a healthy place that took her from good to great to BEST…moreso, GOD’s best.
1. She made choices from her calling rather than out of desperation.
It would have been easy to just take the first job that came her way. She had bills looming and no promise of a paycheck to take care of those bills in the future. But with a little savings tucked under her wing and a bit of contract work here and there, the Lord allowed her to really sit back and ask those uber-important questions of: What do I LOVE doing? What am I good at? What jazzes me? What would I do even if I weren’t being paid? Stepping back, she discovered she was really energized by being a light in a lost world. She is a phenomenal graphic artist. She loves a family-type environment more than the cut-throat of the average white-collar world. So when a local church offered her a position, she prayed about it and then respectfully turned it down. It didn’t meet the criteria she had laid out as part of her genetic makeup, as a part of her calling.
Mary knew what kind of position would keep her in that “best” place, long-term. But when that position didn’t show up right away, she could have easily taken the myriad of job options that were popping up around her. Instead, she allowed the different opportunities to teach her more about herself…more about what she was called to do. The clearest example I can think of in my life is my dating life. I am single with a hoppin‘ social life. I meet new folks all the time. I live with 4 girls and there are occasions when one of us just has a little pity-party regarding our marital status. To be honest, it happens less than you think. We’ve become this fun little nucleus of hodge-podge family and don’t really have TIME to think of our ring finger’s need of bling. But we also have this unspoken pact that passes between us all: we want God’s man for our lives, not OUR man for our lives. So we go on occasional dates…just like we engage in missions and the local church. Because we KNOW that He has a plan and that He is actively bringing it to pass (Proverbs says He will accomplish what concerns us) then we make decisions about our time based on His call on our lives…not on us huntin’ down a man. We could easily go to a different party every night of the week…and probably be married within a year. But we don’t want a good or a great man, we want God’s BEST man for our lives.
2. She focused on the necessity rather than the urgency.
Mary had looming bills to pay. Girl’s gotta’ eat! But she knew, long-term, she needed a place that allowed her to work out of her calling. It was necessary for her created self that she operate out of a place of purpose. When her talent met her passions and opportunities, she met her calling. She met her best.
Speaking of eating, our bodies have opposing forces, don’t they? Our tongues crave our friend’s Ben & Jerry. Our body’s re-energize on fuel of spinach and apples. And our staff would insist I add “lean protein” to that list. When I’m tired and hungry, Ben & Jerry make some pretty convincing, urgent calls. But if I stop and remember my Mom’s admonitions from childhood, I put the spoon away, back away from the freezer and dig into a heaping bowl of greens, feeding the actual cells of my body what the NEED. When I focus on what my body NEEDS, the urgent call of the processed-food wild seems to muffle. I get a healthy, productive body for my choice.
3. She trusted Him.
Mary didn’t walk around crying “Oh woe is me! I don’t have a job! Have you SEEN this economy?!” She stepped in and did what she could. She sent out applications. She networked. And then she released it. She hung out with her community. She took advantage of her now-loose schedule and had picnics at the lake, took long bike-rides and discovered new hobbies. She just breathed in peace in the place He had landed her. When Mary could have been stressed (and don’t get me wrong, she had a few moments), she went to the Lord and released it back to Him.
When I first moved back from overseas, I was desperate for community. If someone even LOOKED like they were going to invite me to an event, I was IN. It didn’t matter that I was tired from a work trip or desperately needed to spend some time with the Lord or would have to shift a visit to Grandmother til the next day. I needed friends. And what I received from those harried hangouts was exactly what I did not want: weary soul and no heart-connections made with friends. I was operating out of a place of desperation and just took the first thing that happened along, rather than waiting on His BEST. I wasn’t trusting in God to supply that need. I saw a lack and set about trying to fill that lack…and failed. Miserably.
When I had these moments, I discovered a little ritual that helped me align my heart back with where The Lord was speaking. First, I’d go to bed listening to worship music. Something about my soul marinating in praise of Him all night opened my ears a little wider to hearing His Voice the next day. Second, I’d awaken and say, “You are Good. You are my Dad. You can do anything in the world. And You have me in this place today. I believe You want the best for me. THAT MEANS THIS DAY IS YOUR BEST FOR ME. Help me to see it as such. I trust You. I trust YOU!” Let me tell you, my bedroom rug is worn from rockin’ on it and saying this little prayer. I find myself going back and saying this so many times…believing He has His best in action for me today.
So this begs the question: How are YOU going from good to great to BEST today? How can you incorporate Mary’s BEST decision making into your life today? Don’t you think some of these statements can be used to describe you? YOU make decisions out of calling and necessity today…all while trusting God. “Beautiful!” as my sister Priscilla would say!
Here’s to His BEST for your life TODAY!