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Growing Pains

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

As I drove down route 7, I got a phone call from a number I did not recognize. I thought about sending it to voicemail, but something told me to answer it. When I realized who it was, I pulled into a Burger King parking lot and put the phone on speaker so I could listen more intently.

I was sitting in the parking lot listening as a human resources person said: “congratulations and welcome to…” Immediately, I thought “this ain’t real Jesus.” Why? Because I had just interviewed for the job only the day prior and they said to give them a week. So I put it in my mind that I had time. I mean, after all, I made sure I completed all of my school and business work because it was the week of my church’s revival and Howard’s homecoming. I fully anticipated that my mind would be free of deadlines, work, decisions or anything remotely close to those things.

But, I listened as she quickly explained what I’d be doing, the position they wanted me for (which was a lot better than the position that I applied for), how I’d be an asset to the team, what the compensation would be and my benefits package. It reminded me of the last five seconds of a medicine commercial. In between her spewing information, all I could understand was the times she asked, “do you accept”? Training would be three weeks, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. “Is that okay with you?” My response: “yes”. And she asked a lot of other questions that I really do not remember.

I immediately felt the stress rising. I don’t like the feeling of being rushed into a decision. Give me a second; let me think it through. After the phone call, I received a series of emails detailing what I’d have to do to accept the offer and to be fully hired. I had to take a drug test, pass a background check and fill out some forms. I did the background check and the drug test, passed them both. I got the call on a Wednesday; I took my drug test that Friday. During those two days, I had time to think it over. I looked at the demands of the job. I called my mother and spoke to her. I talked to my mentor. I mapped out how much the structure of my life would change, if I were to accept the obligations and responsibilities of my new position.

The opportunity was a great one. It was with a reputable company. The compensation was great. The benefits were better and they kicked in immediately. The opportunity to move up…I could have done it in maybe a year. In five years I could very well be in a fabulous place, in terms of my career and age. So why did I decide to turn it down? Easy, it didn't line up with my God-given vision. Where I am with school, my company and other things I had going on, I couldn't effectively do them all. The job would've taken away the flexibility I need to maneuver my life. The job would immediately consume my life. I had an uneasy feeling about it all along. I knew the culture I was getting ready to go into. It was cut throat. And while I know I could have adapted to the environment and demands, and done a great job, I had to seriously ask myself: would it have been worth it? Was this what I really wanted? Would this fit in with school, church and so forth? My answers to all of those questions were a loud and resounding “no.”

I used to think that every opportunity presented to me meant that it was for me. It had to be or else why would it come up? But I am learning that no, some opportunities really are just distractions. For me in particular, some of the opportunities presented to me have been God testing my faith. How much do you trust Me? How badly do you really want to manifest the vision I gave you? In this season I have really learned to be okay with walking from opportunities that don't suit me.

It has caused me to realize that life really is just a series of tough decisions. This past year I have been faced with decisions and situations that will impact the rest of my life. Now I will admit, days after this, maybe even months, I'll probably wonder how different my life would be had I taken that job. But I do not regret my decision. Once you see your vision, there will be detours; the road to success is certainly no straight line, but there are some things that you have to be uncompromising with and for me, I have realized that flexibility is one of them. I understand sacrifice, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my peace of mind, or my soul, especially not for some dollars.

I also had to turn down the position because I knew that I probably wasn't going to be there long. The job would've just been a means to an end for me. But I know that somewhere, there is someone really praying to be in that position. That’s their goal in life. So, I made room. God bless the person who will take that position and thank you for the opportunity. Thanks, but not at this time. Recently in one of my Facebook posts I said “a lot of the things that we want are not unreachable, but we're not getting it because our actions aren't lining up with what we say we desire. If you don't put yourself there mentally, chances are you'll never get there physically.” The body, the mind, the spirit and the opportunities have to be in tune with the vision in order to see it manifest.

Making wise decisions for yourself is not just about weighing the outcome now, but it's weighing the outcome with consideration of the future. This year has been a year of risks. I’m willing to risk it all to live the life I’ve always imagined.

I know what God showed me for my life, so I am not worried and I’m not panicking. I am willing to wait for the right opportunity. If my life has taught me anything it’s that busy does not mean productivity. And as much as I want to jump in and do it all, I have to be strategic with how I spend my time and where I dedicate my energies. Though I’m trusting the process, I do not hesitate to say that it’s painful sometimes. My journey thus far has certainly been a lesson in patience and persistence. Growth is transformative and change is inevitable.

*This was originally published in October 2014.

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