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I can see my two feet again. I know the ground that I am walking on again. My feet tread on new terrain, yet the path is a familiar soul. For several long weeks (actually… 28 long months since my last employment), I have been waiting on a consecutive confirmation from a pending job application. So forgive me if English becomes a second language out of sheer amazement and awe of God’s *timely* provision!

I am blessed to have been personally recommended by a graduate agency.

I am blessed to have been called for an interview to prove my technical knowledge.

I am blessed to have passed the interview stage and to be told of my unconditional outcome the following day.

I am blessed to have secured positive references from my previous employer.

I am blessed to have passed the disclosure process.

I now wait for official paperwork to confirm on black and white legal print – that I am indeed an official employee.

Despite my inward and outward acknowledgement of God’s blessings, I also admit and confess that I have been tripping over my faith. When one has been out of work for a long time, one can only imagine the transpiring journey of reminding yourself your identity in Christ. It’s not just seeking the LORD through prayer and Scripture, but really discerning if “Plan A” or “Plan X” is where the LORD wants you to be.

So you can imagine my parent’s excitement when they found out the good news. My Dad recognises my outward disbelief that I’ll be returning to full-time employment, because it’s been far-too-long. The amusing thing is… my parents were over the moon before the employer even received feedback from my professional referees.

At least my parents are renewed in their faith which encourages me dearly.

Life Experience

I have learned so much during this time of waiting.

I can now fully empathise and sympathise towards others who have been out of work for so long. I am also aware of a younger Christian couple who are both out of work, hence why I am the kind of guy who would rather stabilise in a source of regular income, before pursuing friendships and relationships, especially that of the opposite sex… but that’s just me! I am also aware that you cannot plan your own future, much like the saintly divine Christian women who are so sexually pure and driven by Scripture… you know, the conservative Christians waiting for a godly Prince Charming (a.k.a. Mr *blinking* Darcy). God-willing, I would rather be that breadwinner and provide for my future family. Meanwhile, women are rapidly climbing the career ladders and some even earn more than the guys… so yeah, how do you fit the complementarian approach of Scripture in the 21st century society?

I have also learned that a busy mind during a time of waiting can be counter-productive, because you often forget to look after yourself. Basic stuff like personal hygiene or keeping active, or being in the company of friends and family. Am I to say that I didn’t shower for days on end because of my limbo situation? No, but I didn’t bother manscaping my facial hair until my Mum reminded me that I looked like a monkey. I also lacked the oxygen to the brain and body through regular exercise, which is a wonderful therapy should you want to sleep well each night without stupid dreams ruining your sleep. People resort to coffee and tea, but it is not a healthy substitute compared to actual exercise.

I noticed that when I chose to volunteer, either through the local church or outside and within the community that I could literally escape my own problems, because you can guarantee that there is ALWAYS someone else who is worse off than your own self. Although you feel a sense of initial gratitude and thanksgiving, I find that serving others often masks your own problems and needs as a human being, as we all need to be ministered too (be it spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally). The problem is… we live in a very self-centred life and people are in constant need 24/7. If only we learned to instinctively seek out the LORD as our first point of call. In our personal bible studies – yes. In reality, we somehow forget the basics of the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

I also say this cautiously, as I am aware of individuals who are so absorbed in love and devotion to serving the Kingdom of God, but it appears they have neglected their own family, or their kids have wondered away from the LORD without that parental leadership and encouragement. We (as sons and daughters) will always look up to our parents for love, encouragement and guidance. In a Christian environment, we learn to accept that our Heavenly Father fills that void of parental love, encouragement and guidance, but still… if we are not nurtured in that path of seeking God as our LORD and Saviour, then we will resort to the whimsical idols and fallacies of this world instead.

Reeling back a bit… it is also one of the major reasons why I decided to pull out my application for the vocational post advertising for a youth pastor. When you stare down three A4 sheets worth of demands listed like a shopping list, you honestly don’t feel valued as a born-again believer, except for the once-a-week prayer meeting with the pastor and the rest of the church staff. Wow! Once a week prayer meeting for a church. Oh the irony! Is it so hard to pray and share each day? I see my neighbours more than once-a-week, why should a vocational role be different?

I am also concerned of my own single status. I am content at present, as I have one major thing to pursue whilst I am still single (Kingdom-focused vision). Most churches will want to squeeze blood out of a stone of a single bloke, because all paid staff are essentially *owned* by the local church. Sad fact, but it’s true, hence the demands and stress. I don’t mind the sacrificial demands and stress, but the lack of support. Meh! You can’t “advertise” that you want to make true disciples of the LORD Jesus Christ, if you can’t support those in the leadership team to share and live in that example to others.

The other major reason for pulling out of the application process is not just the crucial question “Who can I secure a pastoral reference from at my local church?” but when I was praying and reflecting during my application, I noticed my tone changed to hurt and anger when I was writing. I immediately stopped writing. I read what I had written so far, then I saved the document and closed shop. I think I have shared before of various issues of the changing landscape across churches.

I just wish God’s Word would be given a more prominent role in today’s churches than branding and marketing campaigns, but then that can only be effective when the lead pastor is rooted in God’s Word… otherwise, it’s just a “job” and for those who know me personally, I never see it or even call pastoral work a job, but a vocation. If that is the case, then I would rather have a job working in the so-called secular workplace and be among people without knowing God as their LORD and personal Saviour, and outside the protected walls of a church where the Gospel is supposed to be shared with, not kept behind closed doors and preached to the converted who are too stubborn to be moulded by God’s hands.

Onwards and Upwards

Lately, I have decided to bring forward my life ambition to read the bible in a year. Ultimately, it’s not going to happen, as I want to digest what I read of God’s Word. It’s not a race to rush the study of Scripture anyway! I find that devotionals place me inside a comfort bubble. I just want to expose myself to the raw power and authority of God’s Word. Unusual desire indeed, but that is what I crave in my heart, mind and Spirit… to truly know God as my LORD and Saviour, now and forever more.

I am slowing guarding my time, which I know is my biggest enemy. It is a daily challenge in the 21st century to honour and use God’s time wisely. I waste time like a self-made millionaire. It is my guilty pleasure.

You watch a typical movie… and boom! There goes an average of 2 hours. It’s worse when you watch TV, because it is series-driven and regular than a one-off movie – hence, why I don’t watch TV!

You play a video game, be it casual or hardcore… and boom! There goes several more hours.

You read articles and books outside of God’s Word… and you guessed it, boom! Further time is consumed in man’s knowledge of a temporary world than the dwelling of God’s richness of His Word.

The more that I faithfully allow and trust the LORD to truly work in my life in a transforming way, the more I see a glimpse of the need to build for His Kingdom, but with a renewed focus. However, I need to understand that focus in a defined way, so I can work towards this goal. Vagueness is useful, but it’s not healthy.

The reason I share is that anyone can make believe an issue as something relating to God’s Kingdom, but often is the case, following the LORD in His *true* and *biblical* ways is never easy.

In the meantime, I will likely be starting my new job the day before December (of this year!). I will still be blogging, but hopefully the next time I blog, I will be replacing WordPress with a geeky replacement. All content and comments will be ported over, but the underlying web architecture will be different, and hopefully… hopefully the website will implement modern features such as HTTP/2 and SSL, meaning a fast and secure website. I told you it would be a geeky replacement. :o)

P.S. I read that WordPress is changing its own architecture, meaning there is no PHP and MySQL, but instead will use JavaScript and MEAN API… which in layman’s terms there will be no physical databases and old technology will be obsolete. I still want to use a faster platform in the meantime, as I want to learn the latest in web technologies for future projects. We shall see!

~Richard