Why? So That…

I had an interesting experience this week.

I interviewed for a job.

Not to change jobs, but more to add something to my already rather full plate.  But even though my plate is already quite full, when an opportunity comes up that has been on my mind for quite some time, I would be foolish not to go for it.

As I applied, I put it all in God’s hands.  Truth be told, from the moment that this particular position came to mind, I have left it in God’s hands.  Because, even though this would be a really cool thing, I know that if it isn’t in God’s plan for my life, then it will not happen.  And I will be ok with that.

To be honest, knowing that I’m doing my part to be willing, and leaving the rest up to God has given me a sense of ease and peace throughout the entire process.

So here’s the deal:

I suck at interviews.

Seriously.

Historically, I just have not been capable of presenting myself in the best way possible.  I get nervous, and even more awkward than normal.  And it’s just a flop.

I walk away feeling dejected, because deep down, I know that I just blew it.

So, to say that a great deal of prayer happened before this interview is an understatement.

My prayers basically went something like this:

God, give me the words.

And guess what?

He did!

But that’s not even close to the best part.  Because, I walked away from the interview knowing that I wasn’t the best candidate.  Not that I wouldn’t be amazing.  But I know that I am not the best candidate that they are interviewing.  I’m far from the most qualified.  I don’t have the experience.

There is a 99.99% chance that I will not be getting this job.

But I walked out of that interview with a huge amount of satisfaction about my part of the interview.

And we’re finally closing in on why this was such an amazing experience…I promise.

The person who interviewed me is someone I have known nearly my entire life.  She was one of my teachers growing up.  And I have worked with her, and for her now for almost 3 years.  But even with such a long history, she didn’t know me all that well.

She laughed at the fact that she asks everyone the same questions, to keep the playing field even.  She asked me to tell her about myself.  And as soon as I started talking about myself, and some of the things that I did after high school, her jaw hit the floor.  So in asking the question that she felt foolish asking, she found out a lot more about me.  In a really good way.  She didn’t realize that I had moved half way across the country.  Or why I made the decision to move back home.

She definitely didn’t realize that one of my most memorable moments growing up came during one of her classes.

But here is the really cool thing…

We talked about my motivation for applying for this job.

Which led to my motivation for doing many of the things that I do.

And that specific motivation has been on my mind a lot lately.

Why do I do the things that I do?

What is the outcome that I hope to get from doing the thing that I do?

To the point where I have written the following on my desk calendar at school:

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I did this so every single time I look at this, my own personal motivations come to mind.

Why?

Well it certainly isn’t money.  As I stated in my interview, if money were my greatest motivation, I would go down the street and work at McDonald’s because I would make more money.

Would a larger salary be nice?  Yes, yes it would.  To add a little more cushion to bank account.  So I wouldn’t have to rely on my parents for some help and support.  Yes, that would be fantastic.

But I do love my job.

So what is my motivation?  Besides the fact that this is where God has placed me for right now.

The “why” that I bring to work every day, the “why” that I take with me to youth group every week, is that I want to be able to give the kiddos that I work with something that I didn’t have growing up.

Yes, I had amazing parents.  I had youth group.  I had people that care about me.

What I didn’t have was the self-confidence in myself.  Nor did I have a firm understanding of who God was.  Or who I was to God.

So that…

So what is my expected outcome?  What is my goal?  What purpose could I possibly have in doing the things that I do?

I want these kids to be able to stand firm in their faith.  I want them to turn to God when times get tough.  Not to turn their back on their faith when life gets real, and things get hard.

I made bad, really stupid mistakes growing up.  I made bad, really stupid mistakes as an adult, too.

I want better for the people around me.  So they don’t go through the same struggles that I went through.

Because I truly believe that even though used the free will that God gave me to not just turn my back on Him and run away.  I lashed out.  I swore up and down countless times that there couldn’t possibly be a God.

I was dumb.  I was selfish.

Even though I did a lot of things that God isn’t thrilled about, I believe that He can turn all of those mistakes around, and use all of them for something positive.

And it isn’t just that he can use all of those stupid mistakes.

He is using them.

 

I Am Positive…

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I survived.  

Barely.

But I survived.

There were definitely tears.  

But I survived.

Sometimes, people suck.  I honestly don’t believe it is intentional.  But just the reality of life. People suck.  

Let me give you an example:

Last night was youth group.  And one of the other leaders and I had previously agreed that we would swap birthday nights to bring snacks.  She brings snacks on my birthday, I bring snacks on her birthday. Yesterday morning at 6am, I get a text, asking what kind of snacks I like.  And any type of sweets that my high maintenance digestive system could handle was out. Ok, that isn’t exactly what was said.  But that was the gist.  So I do give options.  

But then, she brought birthday cake.

And made an announcement that there was birthday cake.

That I couldn’t eat.

She announced that.

No birthday cake for me.

Maybe (definitely) I was already in a slightly emotional state of mind.  Because I just hate this day so much. And as my dad sympathetically told me last night, it always will.  Because nothing about my birthday being difficult will go away. Because the root cause just can’t be changed.

So I was already in an emotional state of mind.  

And then I don’t get birthday cake. 

And I have to watch everyone else eating birthday cake.  

Yes, there was chips and salsa.  Very delicious chips and salsa.  

But it isn’t birthday cake.

If your digestive system isn’t high maintenance, you probably don’t understand.  This is torture. Absolute torture. This isn’t the “oh, I’m on a diet and I shouldn’t eat that.”  This is the “my digestive system is going to try to kill me if I try to eat that” kind of a thing.  

Tor.  Ture.

Beyond that, I have a lot of friends and family with small kids, where life just gets in the way sometimes.  I get it. So sometimes it’s difficult to remember birthdays and other important dates. I get it.  

I really do.

Most of the time, I try to make sure important dates and things get recognized.  I’m a cheerleader for life for everyone. I try to send birthday cards to people close to me.  An actual through the mail paper birthday card. I want to see other people succeed. I want good things to happen to other people.  I’m genuinely happy for everyone else when these amazing things happen to them.

But over the past 24 hours, I had a pity party.  A selfish, downtrodden, pity party. I’m even going to be selfish enough to say that it was warranted.  

Because life gets in the way and people suck sometimes.

Do I think that any of this was intentional?  Absolutely not. My friend honestly was trying to do something for me when she asked what kind of snacks I like.  Not thinking about how I might take it without getting to have cake. And within this same group of friends, another friend keeps telling me that we need to have a night where they all have to eat a “Johanna friendly” meal.  So there is understanding there. It just went a little sideways for a bit. 

And do I think my friends and family purposely didn’t wish me a happy birthday?  

No. 

I don’t.

So I understand that it wasn’t a personal attack.

But the pity party still happened anyway.

I started to question why I do some of the things that I do.  Why I’m always the smiling, friendly, outgoing, happy person that I am.  Why I’m the life cheerleader. Why I go out of my way to do the things that I do.

Is it even worth it?

Not that I do the things that I do in hopes that people will return the favor.  That isn’t why I do these things.

But, sometimes it would be nice.

I honestly started wondering who would even notice is I stopped doing the things that I do.

And then God chuckled, and answered my question.

A coworker, and one that I’m not extraordinarily close to, emailed me this morning, and apologized for not realizing that it was my birthday.  And then thanked me for always sharing my smile with her.  

Ok, God.  I get it.  

I don’t want to give you the impression that I had ever intended on not doing those things.  I might whine and complain about it a little.  But that’s all.

In one belated birthday wish this morning, a friend told me that he hopes today is the start of my best year yet.  My friends, I cannot tell you how much I hope and pray that is the truth.