Thursday, April 7, 2016

5 Lessons from a Job Search



I'm settling into a new job and my life finally seems to be coming together. I've thought a lot about the last six months and all that has transpired since I walked across that graduation stage. As I've looked at some of my experiences, I decided to write down some of things that I've learned over the last little while.

1. The Lord expects us to do hard things, but He prepares us to do hard things. 

There was one day where I thought a lot about Eve. I don't think she understood all of what would happen after she partook of the fruit, but I think she knew that things were going to be difficult. She knew that everything that was familiar and comfortable was going to change. So often I think we're at the same spot in our lives. We know that we've gout a tough decision to make and we don't know the outcome, but we know what the Lord would have us do. I've found such comfort in Eve's example: If Eve could partake of the fruit, I can do XYZ. Elder Maxwell once said that we were measured to our tasks and found equal. The Lord knows all of the trials, decisions, and circumstances that we'll find in our life, but he also knows that we are ready for them. If we've allowed him, he has prepared us for each and every experience we will have. 


2. The Lord has great confidence in us. 

So often I've wished for a free pass on decisions, hoping to wake up find manna on my doorstep in the morning. I've prayed and prayed to know what job to take, where to move, etc., and the answer keeps coming back, "I know you'll make the right decision, Angela." Agency is one of the gifts the Lord has given us and as we use it correctly, I think the Lord allows us to make more and more of our own decisions without his 'micromanagement.' The Lord trusts us more than we think he does and has confidence in our ability and our desire to find and live his will. And beyond that, I think he is often very proud of how we choose to use our agency. 

In connection to all of this, the Lord is also very merciful. Although I feel that he has confidence in my ability to make challenging decisions, he always confirms when I make a right choice or corrects when I make a wrong choice. This is directly a consequence of his love for us. He knows that I may not be as confident in my decision making skills, so he takes the opportunity to calm my fears and express his love. 


3. Having daily, meaningful prayers changes everything. 

A few months ago I realized that my prayers had become pretty lax and, to be honest, kind of pathetic. They were quick prayers uttered at morning and night, like I was checking off an item on my to-do list. When I realized that my habit of daily prayer was seriously lacking, I made a conscious effort to have more meaningful communication with heaven. And like the flip of switch, everything changed. I felt more at peace, the Spirit was easier to recognize, and answers came more quickly. 

I think there is something to the law of the harvest with prayer: We get out what we put in. I think Heavenly Father is pleased with any communication, but just like earthly communication, heavenly communication is richer when we have a fuller dialogue. Conversations that have some thought put into them are often the conversations where we get the most insight. So I've spent more time thinking about what I want to ask the Lord, what blessings I stand in need, what things make me happy, and what I want to learn about it. 


4. Like prayer, gratitude is transformative. 

After the New Year I decided that I needed a change in attitude. I was discouraged with my situation and felt like I was going nowhere quickly. Someone gave a talk on gratitude in church and I decided it was time to plant that seed of faith. At the end of each day I wrote down three things I was grateful for in my planner and then tried to express this gratitude in my prayers. I quickly realized that my situation was nowhere near as dire as I had made it out to be in my head. I have wonderful parents and a warm place to sleep at night. I had plenty to eat and siblings who were willing to go out and do things with me. In short, I was/am immensely blessed. By actively looking for all the things the Lord had blessed me with, I knew that he would continue to bless me in the future. I knew that I wasn't overlooked and that I wasn't a scribbled note in the margin of some heavenly notebook. He was aware of me and the blessings were sure to come.

5. Fourth Watch Problems are tough, but they give us an opportunity to develop our faith, hope, and trust in the Lord. 

In Matthew there is a story of the apostles on the Sea of Galilee one night and the Savior is watching on the shore. The sea is small and you can see it in its entirety from certain vantage points along the shore. As the night goes on, the waves tend to be large and boisterous and the situation can quickly become really dangerous. The apostles cry all night long for the Savior to rescue them, but he doesn't come until the fourth (and last) watch of the night, which is right before sunrise. Finding a job for me was a Fourth Watch Problem. No matter what I did on my own Sea of Galilee, I had to wait until dawn for rescue. I had to trust that the Lord was going to continue to watch over me and bring me the right position at the right time. And it was super hard to do that. But if we give up too early, we'll never get to experience the joy and wonder of walking on the water ourselves or the relief that comes when the Savior finally arrives. If we quit to early, we rob ourselves of those blessings. Elder Holland teaches that "faith is always for the future" and everything lies ahead for us. It's easy to lose sight of that in the middle of a Fourth Watcher, but we can't forget that the Savior is always on the shore, keeping a steady eye on us.
This experience has been incredibly tough, but as I look back it is so apparent that the Lord's hand was setting the course. There is always sweet with the bitter. Sometimes you've got to dig for it, but it's there.

6 comments:

  1. Great post and great things to learn. Thanks!

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  2. I loved this. So much. Thank you, Angela :)

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    1. Thanks, Cambry :) And congrats on your upcoming wedding!

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  3. Thank you for sharing! You're an inspiration and you've expressed so beautifully things that I've found myself struggling with. Congrats on your future!

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