Okay, What's Next?
Where it is now the second week of October, I am realizing that I need to develop a different routine. There are a few reasons for this:
I am not a Kennedy. I am unable to sit endlessly without doing any paying work.
My current routine, while enviable, has not worked especially well lately, beyond helping me pass the many hours believing, with varying degrees of accuracy, that I was productive.
Having finished the book I was working on, the emphasis has shifted to rewriting it. You may have heard that writing a book is hard. It's not. You can write a book. I did. But rewriting it, you know, because your first draft was garbage, that is much harder.
Once rewritten, I must take my new baby out to meet the world, and let that world ruthlessly judge her. (I am unsure why my book baby is feminine.) In all likelihood, professionals will request yet another rewrite (hopefully not back to the aforementioned garbage, but who knows?)
Severance, like summer, is over.
What to do, what to do?
Or, as President Bartlett used to say on the old 'West Wing' TV show, 'Okay, what's next?'
Well, the great state of Rhode Island has agreed to pay me a pittance weekly IF, and only IF, I make every effort to secure full-time work. To that end, they send me, through various job sites, a variety of job openings for which I am completely unqualified. Do you want me running the emergency room at your local hospital? No. You don't. You really don't.
The emails come with the assurance that, if the openings I am seeing are not suitable, I can go to the site and update my profile. This way, I will see more appropriate opportunities.
Ah, therein lies the rub. My 'path' (as we 'seekers' like to call it) is somewhat unconventional. There are aspects of Christian ministry, fiction and non-fiction writing of various lengths and depths, counseling, speaking, blogging and maybe a podcast.
How does one find one's passion? Or is it better to create one's passion? I tend to think that passion matters, and that is where I break down.
At a high level, I am passionate about sharing my faith and helping others to discover theirs. Faith has brought me peace and contentment in all situations, including this one, now, whether they are favorable or not.
But how do I drill into that next level, where I get engaged? 'Engaged' is vague, but actions have to be specific. So, what am I doing? How am I working on a quest that is much bigger than I am, much bigger than my talents are, much bigger in influence than any other on earth, much bigger because of the stakes, for individuals and for humanity than any other quest there is?
I am not sure. So what am I doing about it?
First, I pray. I have learned that praying before I do anything else helps me move along more effectively. I pray for direction, guidance, insight, patience. I know God has a plan for me, and I know it's a good one. I am trying to follow along.
Second, I seek input and advice from experts. I've reached out to friends in ministry and business. I have talked to old friends, who have known me since childhood and people I haven't know as long.
Third, aside from people I already know, I need to meet new people too. As an introvert, this is a challenge for me.
I am an introvert because I'm insecure, and I'm insecure because, at some level, my ideas, to the degree that I can describe them, seem crazy, even to me. I should probably get over that, or get some new ideas.
Maybe an ice cream truck. Or tend sheep.
Fourth, when I get a chance to volunteer for something that seems like I can help, I volunteer. I always thought that in volunteering, the volunteer is giving of their time, and therefore, organizations don't want to overtax them or offend them in any way.
I will let you know if my theory holds.
I volunteered to join a group tasked with improving patient experience at the large medical practice, where I am a patient, almost 5 months ago. The first meeting is still 2 weeks away. To formally volunteer, they require:
An application very similar to a job application;
A phone interview with the doctor leading the project;
An in-person interview with the Director of Patient Experience;
Having passed those 3 hurdles, they then require:
2 professional references,
A criminal background check,
A health evaluation and;
A partridge in a pear tree.
I'm almost 'there' and will be after appointments tomorrow.
Anyway, all I know for sure is that I want to use the written word to advance my purpose of bringing people who have not met him, to Jesus.
Jesus doesn't need my help, but he wants it. Not for his benefit, but for mine.
He uses any situation I get myself into to make me a little bit better than I was before. Sometimes the situation goes beautifully, meaning that whatever he was trying to fix in me got fixed, and we're moving on. I learned or grew or enhanced my character, faith or servant's heart.
Other times, I miss the mark, fail the test, drop the ball, mess it up, handle it badly, bungle it or don't even show up for the test. I feel like if I was Jesus, I would be shaking my head a lot at me.
But he doesn't. When I fail, he picks me up and tells me it's okay, we'll try again. He wants me to pass, so he gives me the test as many times as I need. He even tells me the answers.
I am getting refined or polished or finished or crafted. Take your pick, he's helping to remove my flaws. It will take a very long time. Hence, the need for patience. And faith. I have faith because I know he will finish the project he started in me. And his projects are always successful.
Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful week. God bless you!