I have worked in the lovely world of retail since I was 16. Every person’s dream job, I know. My first job was in a small children’s boutique in Visalia and since I didn’t finish college, I was stuck. I’ve been blessed with the gift of leadership though, so once I moved down to the LA area I was promoted to management within a month of starting a retail sales job. I have been in the riveting world of retail management ever since. My most recent longest position was the Store Manager for Skechers shoe company in Orange County. It started out as a great position but was extremely stressful and I quickly became very unhappy. I had a boss with little integrity and made me promise after promise of advancement with zero follow through. If you know me at all, you know that I don’t sit still well. I am a busy body that needs to be challenged and grow or I get bored and frustrated. After being there barely one year I began the job search for another company to transition too. After almost 2 years of searching, I finally got a job as a Store Manager for another footwear company that valued me and was half of the stress and chaos of Skechers. When I was done with the training program and really got into the daily grind of my new job, a harsh reality set in. It wasn’t just Skechers I had been miserable with, it was retail. It was laying in bed at night and not being able to sleep because I couldn’t get my sales associates to add on a freaking handbag with every shoe purchase. This was my BIGGEST stress, and a real one. My position required it of me and I had to deliver. Seriously, shoot me now. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
After really feeling the renewed call to ministry/missions at the start of this new job, I was trying to plan and figure out how I would get myself out of this job and into a more meaningful one. I started planning to relocate to the Los Angeles area to get more information on non-profit organizations and opportunities where I could be used. My thoughts went back and forth…
“I can’t quit my job because I have adult bills and responsibilities and can’t receive unemployment if I quit. I can try to get myself fired, but because I’m a responsible person with integrity, I could never do that and have that on my resume.”
I started to become very unhappy every day at work, though I had only worked there for two months. I was praying for direction on how I can get myself out of this position and set myself up for the rest, and heard nothing.
I have always been very hard on myself. I am very self aware and can point out everything I do wrong and when and where. Though I am very comfortable in my skin and I really like the person that I am, I struggle with the things that I really want to do better. I had really began to dig into my prayer time and the Word but it was never as much as I had wanted for myself. I have a habit of feeling like if I mess up one day, it cancels out all of the good I did the day before, which is not at all what God tells us in scripture. A couple of weeks after feeling unhappy at work, I came up to Basileia, my brother’s church in Los Angeles, as I had started to do every Sunday. It was Father’s Day. The pastor’s wife Anita, whom I had never met, came up to me after the service and said she felt like God wanted her to tell me something. We introduced ourselves and I immediately braced myself for what she had to say. She told me that God sees all of the small things that I had been doing to get closer to Him and that they are not small to Him. She sat there with me while I wept and she prayed for strength for me that week. She said she wasn’t sure why, but she felt like I needed strength.
Three days later, God removed my first key from my chain, my career.
In fact, it was a lot of keys. You see, I had a really important job with lots of responsibilities, which my keychain was proof of. I was let go of those responsibilities under my ’90 day probationary period’ for no real reason, accept speculation from my assistant that lied in order to get rid of me. I was hurt. I have never been fired from a position before and I give my all to everything I do. How could God be allowing this? How could I have this on my resume now? How could he allow me to feel such rejection and disappointment without me even doing something to deserve it? I cried all the way home and voiced my frustrations to my Dad on the phone as I drove. As I was explaining it, I realized how well God knows me. If I had actually done something worthy of getting fired, I would have never forgiven myself. I would have tortured myself and wondered how I could have done things differently, as the patterns in my past have shown. God removed me completely from that job with no questions asked. After the tears subsided, I began to feel the strength and encouragement that my Pastor’s wife had prayed over me just a few days before. I was so grateful that I wasn’t in that job anymore. Though I was frightened by how I would have to figure out the next stage, a load had been lifted off my shoulders and I found such joy. I felt that God was in control and He didn’t need me to make things happen. He’s got this.