Part 3: In which I attempt to take control of my destiny.
A year after I graduated from college, I was living in Dallas and working full time as a surgery scheduler. Not a biblical surgery scheduler, mind you, just a plain ol’ surgery scheduler. Which means, I was not using my degree. At least not to earn an income. I went back to school because, frankly, what other options did I have? Two years after that and I was a 24 year old with a Master’s degree in Higher Education.
Yes, my friends, you can actually get a degree in Higher Education. Basically it means (because I promise you, even people working IN higher education don’t always know) that I could work in Administration at a University. And the reason I pursued this degree? I wanted to work with campus ministry, residence life, or student life. Essentially, I hoped to work at the college level with students, building relationships, encouraging spiritual growth, etc. I wanted to spend my time doing something valuable, with a Kingdom impact.
I graduated in May, so when would you think I’d start freaking out about not getting a job? June? August? Um… No. JANUARY. Five months prior to graduation. Call it divine foreknowledge, call it a severe lack of trust in my own ability, but somehow I knew it was going to be a long and winding road. I applied for hundreds of positions, was interviewed for only a few, and not offered any.
I moved back to Minnesota after graduation, lived with the parents and was working part time, continuing my job search for another 8 months. And you know what? It was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Here I was, devoting my life to the pursuit of a career where I wanted God to use me to change lives, to offer hope, to share my experiences in a way that would hopefully impact others. When I didn’t get a job it felt like God was rejecting me.
Wasn’t I good enough? Wasn’t my heart pure enough?
I revisited this experience early last year when talking through some of my history. I knew it had been difficult and I knew it hurt, but until recently I didn’t realize how much of that pain I was still holding on to. I didn’t realize precisely how that year of my life had affected me, and honestly, still does.
At the end of 2005 my brother invited me to come stay in Alaska for a while. And I wrote this blog when he did. And then I went. What did I have to lose? What I didn’t know was all that I would gain…