Rather than butterflies, it felt like beetles gnawing away in my stomach as I waited for the partners’ vote. I’d worked very, very hard to become a partner, I thought to myself; I took a huge pay-cut, remained open to criticisms (fair and unfair) and was now facing that day. I tried to stay calm and was praying constantly as I went about the shift.
“I’m sorry. You didn’t get enough votes.”
I thought I was following the Lord’s leading when I accepted the job offer after a lengthy (and I thought) thorough job search. Even some words from my pastor to me years ago supported my impression of the Lord’s leading. My husband was in agreement. I was going to a new job where I would undoubtedly become partner in 2-3 years. My new group was excited to have me. It was the type of practice I longed for: more academic, younger, energetic and progressive. The doctors were great people and many were from my old residency. Surely we would get along quite well. In my heart, there was no question I would become partner and finish out my career there.
But, it became more difficult than expected. I had an unpleasant sense of being micro-managed, the sense that I was being constantly watched and my clinical decisions second guessed. My eyes were open to the politics of medicine from which I had been sheltered in my previous job. There were private meetings with the executive partners where it was becoming clear that partnership was not as certain as previously thought. My confidence was slowly unraveling.
“When we talk about being crucified with Christ & dying to self, what do we mean? It means we die to our desires, our ego, and our will.- Sometimes this even means dying to our own vision. But you may say, “I’m sure my vision is God-given. It is His will.” Yet there is an inherent danger. – It is possible for the calling, promises, and vision God has given us to become our main ambition, making them opponents of God, for He is not willing to share our hearts with anything – not even with good things.” Live Before You Die by Daniel Kolenda, Christ For All Nations Church
In retrospect, this seems to apply to my case quite well. The “vision” which seemed clearly from the Lord perhaps unwittingly dethroned Him.
“To God surrender is not complete until it is all encompassing, exhaustive, total. It is not simply saying, “Your will be done,” but it includes, “Not my will.” This death to self is not some form of divine sadism. God always has life in mind.” Live Before You Die by Daniel Kolenda, Christ For All Nations Church
Jesus prayed in Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42. I remember praying to the Lord, feeling quite anxious about the vote. Wasn’t I following His leading? Wasn’t it His will for me to become partner? Hadn’t He confirmed this path through a variety of ways? It had become so difficult and painful. But, in the midst of wrestling with God, I also whispered weakly, “But, Lord, Your will, not mine.”
As faint and halfhearted as it was, He honored that teeny, tiny fleck of desire to put Him before myself. The funny thing is, it is He Himself who wills us to desire His ways. Even my little whisper was of His doing: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 NASB.
Now several years later, my heart swells with the deepest of thanksgiving for God’s providence and sovereignty over my life. After experiencing the death of my vision – not making partner – I returned to my previous group which welcomed me back with open arms. My income is better than ever. I am in a practice with opportunities to share Him whereas it would have been much more prohibitive if I had stayed. And, best of all, I have flourished and I have rejuvenated a love for “real” emergency medicine.
Without fail, each and every single trial I have gone through has strengthened my belief that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 I am deeply grateful for God’s work in my life. He has nurtured me patiently through this and other difficult circumstances to be more like Christ. It is truly a remarkable expression of His grace and love for me.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. John 12:24
Death to my vision is welcome because I am completely convinced that sometimes it takes death to bring life.