If I'm honest, I have to confess that I didn't want to write this post. Seeing as I'm trying to be honest with myself, and have a record of what God is teaching me at every stage in my life, I have decided to put it in writing and share it. So here goes.
Sometime last year, I felt God was telling me to leave my job, leave the 9 -5, leave everything connected to my previous accounting career behind and focus on becoming a writer. I was so convinced about this that I prayed about it and I got the confirmation again and again. So about the end of June last year, took the plunge! I quit my job and waited for God to show me what to do next. I asked - "What should I start doing now?" Sure enough, God started opening my eyes and inspiring me so that I could start taking small steps on the path that He had called me to walk. Even though I knew I had a lot to learn and a very long road to walk before I started to see my dreams become a reality, I loved the peace that it gave me, knowing I was doing God's will. I travelled to Nigeria in October and at the end of 2007, I asked God what His plans were for me in 2008. At the beginning of the year, I knew He wanted me to focus on my writing and take it seriously. I was all geared up to do just that when I came back to England in January.
Then I got an email from my former boss asking me if I wanted to take my job back for six months while the girl that replaced me takes her maternity leave. I mentioned it on this blog and I was wondering if it was a good idea to take the job back, knowing it would distract me from what I was supposed to be doing. I prayed about it and waited for God to say yes or no, but I didn't hear anything and I had to get back to my boss in a week. I thought of all the reasons why I should or shouldn't go back to work and I justified it to myself that since it was only six months, it shouldn't be a big deal, and the money would come in handy while I do try to do my writing during my spare time. So I did not "trust in the Lord with all my heart" as Proverbs 3 v 5 says, instead I "leaned on my own understanding", so I said yes and went for it.
Big mistake. It wasn't long before I realised that I had made the wrong move. After a month back at work, I was bored with the job, angry with myself, frustrated with the stress, and tired of the commuting. Then to make matters worse, I was falling behind on the writing I was supposed to be doing in my spare time. Every time someone asked me "how's your writing going?" I always felt awful (thanks Believer, Mimi, GNG, Vera and Jaycee, lol) because I knew I wasn't as focused on it like I should have been. But it was too late by then because I had committed to stay in the job until August.
Then I was too proud to admit to God that I had made a mess and ask for forgiveness. Instead I grew colder and colder because I blamed Him for not answering me promptly when I asked if I should take my job back. Silly of me, I know. But I'm so grateful that God is a loving and forgiving Father who is merciful enough to overlook my mistakes, faults, shortcomings, what-not and draw me back to Him. Two weeks ago, I was in church on Sunday with a sullen attitude, when I was hit right in the face with a message titled "Listening to God". Suddenly I heard it loud and clear as if God was saying to me: "You silly girl, you should have listened to what I told you at the beginning of the year before you went off and did your own thing. Now, see how unhappy you are". I was hooked for the rest of the service. Afterwards, I went to meet the speaker to get the poem she read out during her sermon. She told me that God told her when she was preparing her message notes that she should print a spare copy of the poem because somebody would be needing it. I was so humbled when I left church that afternoon. I knew then what I had to do, so I went back to God and asked Him to forgive me and help me make things right again. All through that week, I had the poem on my table and I read it every day. And every time I saw it, the message sank into my head again: listen to God before you take any big step.
So I've made a mistake and learnt a lot of lessons. One of them is that nothing, absolutely nothing is worth straying out of God's will for. I've learnt that it's wise to postpone a difficult decision until I'm absolutely sure of what God says. I've learnt that I need to focus on what God has called me to do and not get distracted by other things that look tempting. I'm learning to be patient and work according to God's time-table and not mine. And I've learnt that even when I've messed up big time, God is always willing to give me a second chance to make things right again.
I thought I should share the poem too, because I'm sure it will bless somebody who needs to read it.
The Father's Voice
Listen my child,
Beyond the noise of other voices,
Beyond your conscience, your knowledge
Listen for my voice.
The shepherd's voice pierces the babble,
And can be heard
But it can also be missed
By the attentive ear
Listen for my voice
My voice reminds you of my presence,
It helps guard you
From distractions from my way
Listen for my voice
Of listening for my voice
Will help keep you true to me
Focused upon me
Listen for my voice
And sometimes what you hear
Will astound you
But you will recognise the Truth
Because you know my voice
Listen to my voice.