When you knock, doors open.
A few months ago, I became restless in my job and my position. I was beginning to wonder if it may be time to go. I had been in a new industry, learning a new business and responsibilities for about a year. And it wasn’t all fun, and it had become laborious and even arduous at times.
Having served in a variety of ministry roles over the years, I longed to return to a place where I could help, encourage, motivate and inspire people. Because of a layover in my life, I had not pursued that return, at least not earnestly. But the long layover had ended with a beautiful start over and I was soul-searching.
Ministry was where I belonged. Ministry can take on a lot of forms, though, and it’s certainly not limited to a church setting. Having served as a pastor and worship leader in various settings years ago, I was comfortable in church ministry. I felt that I would eventually return there. At some point.
Trouble was, I was already there. In my mission field, in my “church”, that is. I just didn’t know it. Or at least hadn’t accepted it.
Enter a conversation with one of my sons. We were discussing options and he was offering his suggestions and ideas about how to approach my search. True to form — he doesn’t fall far from the tree, you know — he began to use my own words to get through my sometimes hard-headed skull. Hmmm, smart son.
One of my favorite quotes — and his, by the way — comes from Howard Thurman, who encourages you to find what makes you come alive, and go do that!
As I listed a few skills and talents I have and listed some “jobs” I can do, he stopped me and said, “You can do that, but what do you want to do? What makes you come alive?” Hmmm, let’s just don’t go to the right ballpark, let’s find the exact right seat!
It was then he suggested that I start knocking, so I did. I knew what I wanted to do, what I felt called to do, and I already had a plan of sorts.
But when you knock and no one answers, you start to wonder. When you knock and stand waiting at the door and nothing happens, you begin to doubt. I continued to knock because deep down I knew Matthew 7:7 all too well. Moreover, the Amplified version says it like this: “…knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” So I knocked and knocked and knocked.
Then, days later — not weeks or months or even years — the door opened. An unexpected door. An unforeseen door. An extraordinary door.
Someone in human resources asked my boss if I would be interested. He responded, “Yes, I know he would.” Then, eight weeks followed with 11 interviews, background checks and online tests. I researched the position, counselled with others, prayed about it and talked to a few close friends, our kids and our moms. I communicated with my boys often through the process. My boss was a constant source of encouragement even though he knew he’d have to find a replacement: “You got this,” he would remind me occasionally.
It was an intense time for Elizabeth and me, and we discussed it every night. Every night. She never wavered in her expectation of where we’d end up. The leadership mentioned a few times, “we want to be sure we have the right person”. I had the opportunity to speak with some accomplished people — vice presidents, department leaders, even ministry leaders outside the business — in those interviews. Since there was only one position like it among the 2,500 employees, the number of interviews made perfectly good sense and, you’ll always find your purpose and future in the waiting.
Back to the restless, “where I belonged” part for a moment. Over the course of the restless, trying-to-leave period, little mile markers popped up from time to time.
My pastor preached about being in ministry and he suggested ministry wasn’t always in a church setting. Many people, he said, have this utopian perception about working in a church. Then, right there on the screen, it said: “Grow where you are planted.” My wife elbowed me (ever so gently, of course), and smiled, but still, I thought: “Ugh, do I want to grow there anymore?”
She also reminded me of what I had written on this blog very recently: God is working in the heavenlies on your behalf. There they go again, using my own words against me. But she was right, as well as my son, and I knew it.
Over the course of those eight weeks, I diligently, almost stubbornly, pursued the position. The “interviews” became more like conversations that energized and excited me. I put together a 90-day Fast Start Plan and presented it to the leadership. I asked questions, I even compared notes with the other finalist for the position. I involved one of my pastors, David Grothe, and a former pastor/mentor, John Bosman, and requested letters of recommendation. Ultimately, I felt called to the position, and I told the President and CEO that.
Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from the Director of Human Resources. She was calling on behalf of the Vice President of HR to offer me the position. The next morning I signed an offer letter.
The knocking, the persistence, the waiting and, yes, even the tenacity, the preparation and bulldogedness had been worth it. Indeed, God had been working in the heavenlies on my behalf all along. To be sure, knocking opens doors. And, yes, while the grass may look greener somewhere else and where you are currently may not look promising, you can grow where you’re planted and find opportunity right under your nose.
It may take time, it may require patience, it may mean you have to develop a plan and stick to it, and it may mean you listen to wise counsel, it may mean you don’t give up and it may mean you go after it with an unrelenting determination and doggedness. Don’t judge your future by your current situation. The greener grass may be right behind you or right out the window rather than the next county over. There is always much happening, even if you haven’t gotten a peek behind the veil!
The door will open, and you can walk through it. It may sound trite, but God is not a respecter of persons. What he did for me, He will do for you.
And that, my friends, is how I became Chaplain at this historic Broadmoor, one of the most elite resorts in the world.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”