Swing Out Sister!


"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, 
which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Rev. 1:8

It was my first day driving to my new job. I sat in my car, waiting at a red light, when a semi truck turned the corner in front of me. He had to swing the truck way out of his lane, curving to the right, in order to fit into the next lane, on the far left, in the direction he wanted to travel. My brain connected the dots like a flash of déjà vu. Same thing happened to me yesterday, I realized. I went downtown and drove into an underground parking garage. As I entered, the attendant took note of the size of my vehicle (a tiny white Ford Focus) and directed me to a spot nearby.

“Swing out,” he called after me, “to get in there.”

Sure enough, it was a tiny spot, nestled up against a wall, in a corner, adjacent to a black SUV. I swung my car out obediently and slid right into the spot with no problem. When I saw the truck do the same, albeit in a much more exaggerated manner, I saw the parallel. The truck swung so far out that it appeared as if the driver meant to continue straight ahead, but suddenly, it veered to the left and settled in the turning lane. At that point, you could see that was the driver’s intention all along. Now I know that is the process for turning such a large vehicle, so it should have come as no surprise. But it occurred to me then that God has done the same with my life. I had swung out, thinking I was far off course, when actually I was being aligned so that I could fit right into a spot intended just for me.

See, this job, although surrounded by a series of coincidences, is really no coincidence. Years ago, after I was laid off, I was interviewed for this very same position. I wasn’t really interested, at the time, in making that drive. I couldn’t, in all honesty, say that I wanted the position because I felt I could get something closer to home. I knew I’d have to sacrifice my salary but I considered it worth giving up at the time. It was a comfort zone thing. For the last ten years or more, I’d managed to stay close to home and make pretty decent money. I was still raising my kids and felt I needed to be near them, I reasoned. I didn’t want to go far because my mom needed me, too. So God blessed me to be able to work nearby so that I could watch over my family. But it was only for a season.

Well, fast forward to present day and I realized that my reasons for not wanting to make that drive no longer existed. My kids are grown and building their own lives. My mom is in the care of my sister. During the interim, I had drifted far from the career I used to have, going more and more into pure sales (at which, I suck – just let me state that for the record). It’s a seedy business, at times. I have neither talent, nor stomach, for it and only admiration for those who undertake, excel at it and can manage to make a living from it. Meanwhile, I also found myself doing that which I said I would not do – expanding my job search and driving further and further from home. I finally took stock of my situation and wondered how and why I had gotten so far off course. Maybe I’d missed something, some turn, somewhere. Some sign that I should have gone in a different direction. Or maybe my course still lay ahead of me. I was truly confused and didn’t know how to find myself or the way back.

Then, I got a call and email about a position pretty far from home, with the pay I was looking for, but the schedule was far from appealing. It was the sister company of aforementioned job, in a field that I was familiar with and which I actually liked, so I felt like I could do well. But, I had to admit, I didn’t like the location, the hours or the days I would have to work. I would have taken the job purely because of the money but my heart wasn’t in it, LOL! Apparently, God knew that because they didn’t even offer me the job. I was double-minded, so it was no wonder that I didn’t get it. No big loss there. As my sister always says, “We’re not gonna mourn what you didn’t want any way!”

What has happened along the way to my current position, has transformed me. And I don’t just mean on that first day. From the time of my lay off until now, I’ve learned that the driving was not that big a deal and I could handle it. I had such a mental block in my head about it. But I see now that it was really fear of the unknown. I was comfortable doing what I was doing and being close to home. So God made me uncomfortable and shook me up so much that I wanted to change. He let me become so dissatisfied with the local offerings, which were becoming less and less convenient, until I saw that I had to move on. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. In a way, I knew that, but I assumed it mean changing careers. That is, until a few weeks ago when I was contacted once again.

“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5

Wonder of wonders, it was the very same position, at the very same location, for which I interviewed years back. But I was not the same person that turned my nose up at the opportunity so many years back. Time and perspective had changed my much vaunted pride. Experience had been a hard teacher and I had gained insight into what I wanted (as well as, what I did not). By this time, my resistance had been worn down about the drive and I no longer found it daunting. I had come full circle. It’s so funny because I made that drive to the interview, knowing that I had it. I was sure. I knew it down to the soles of my shoes. It felt like the circle was complete. Like I was coming back to what I had fought against, only to find out it was actually where God wanted me to be and how He had determined to bless me. Let me insert here that I’ve learned a lot also about NOT telling God how to bless me and to trust Him to know what is best for me! I’m no longer as proud as I once was – life events and God have humbled me.

Of course, I had a great interview. It was my job. Of course, they made an offer. It was MY job. And of course, the position is a good fit for me – like I was made for it and it for me. It was MY JOB! I knew all of these things of a certainty. I saw God in it. As I should have seen him from the beginning, now that I think about it. How was it that I missed God in that initial interview? My mind was in a different place, I have come to realize. It has now been transformed and renewed my thinking in the process. Now I see Him, working the whole time to get me where He wanted me to be all along, so that He could bless me. Amazing. It was me who’d swung so far out, so far off course that I threatened to change my very direction, were it possible. Me, all along. I kept thinking it was Him! But because He is the Driver and ultimately in control, he wrested this rig from my grasp and steered my wayward vessel until it yielded to his command and brought me unto this place. I shall consider it an oasis, of a sort. For a season, at least! 😉

Be blessed,