I want to share with you a very unique experience, which includes what I believe is a “God moment”. I try to use that phrase sparingly because in my past, I’ve overused it and misapplied it egregiously. You know, it’s one of “those” moments where you suck the air in through your teeth and think - “Oooo yeah...not so much”. So - from that wisdom...I’m using the “this a God moment” phrase to cover this post.
In the last year of looking for a job I kind of neglected the idea that there would be an interview process. It’s not that I forgot, or didn’t think about it - but after a year it’s not what I was focused on. Then, God blessed me.
A friend went out on a limb and recommended me to people that are in a small but trusted group of “movers & shakers”. From that, came something unique. Not a job interview, but a meeting with a person who said “When this person recommends someone, it’s worth my time to find out about them first hand”. Intellectually I know that’s known as networking, but there is nothing in my job history that would warrant this kind of attention. I’m not devaluing myself as a potential employee, but “it is what it is”.
I tell you that, to say that preparing for an introduction meeting is what catapulted me into a completely different mindset...the right mindset. I am looking to do something I’ve never done before. I believe God led me to the logical conclusion that in order to do that, I’m going to have to do something I’ve never done before to get it. Most normal people realize this early on. I am in no way normal.
What did I learn?
I can honestly say that I didn’t know what that “something I’ve never done before” was until today, June 15, 2011. I had just left the building from my very first meeting and while wading through the self doubt and the “Did I really say and do that?” moments, I heard His still small voice...”You won’t succeed at this if you don’t start being honest with yourself then put all that effort into asking for what you really want”.
Me: You mean I should have asked her if I could take photos and write for the company?
Him: Well, that’s a little rough around the edges as far as verbiage goes, but when you get home we’ll work on it.
Me: You mean I just did that meeting for nothing?
Him: Noooooo...I’ve brought you to a point where you know...that you know...that you know....that you’re going to have to stop expecting that someone else can define or read your heart & mind. And the mistakes you made in that meeting, we’ll fix.
Me: Ok, well ouch God...that kind of hurt.
Me: So what you’re telling me is that I must define in unequivocal terms what my head and heart know to be true, AND figure out how to convey that in a meeting or job interview where I have no “professional experience” in either.
Him: Yes, and I’ll help you.
For the last year I have stood by what I know to be true...photography and writing bring me actual joy, and THAT my dear friends is what I want to do. I am standing on some Bible verses that I believe apply to this season of my life.
What do I believe?
Ecclesiastes 5:20 | “For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart”
For Caryn will not dwell unduly on the days of her life (stuff that’s not important), because God keeps her busy with the joy of her heart!!
Jeremiah 29:11 | “For I know the plans I have for you” says the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
If I’m going claim those words as truth, just as importantly I have to believe in the One who can do it...
Ephesians 3:20 | “Now, to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask or think - to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever”
And thanks to my friend who gave me this “it’s not for nothing” hope just the other day...
Romans 5: 2-5 | “...And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
In Caryn-neese: And not only that, but Caryn...she rejoices in her tribulations because she knows that tribulations produce perseverance in her. And that perseverance...gives her character to draw from. And that character...will give her hope. And that hope...WILL NOT DISAPPOINT her because the love that God has shown her dwells in her inner most being, deep down in her soul - and she is renewed in that hope because the Holy Spirit dwells in her, reveals to her the things of God, and brings to mind the love that He has for her.
What did God tell me?
Standing on those verses and letting the Holy Spirit guide me, I began writing...and rewriting...and revising...and defining...and believing...that these are the two most important questions anyone could ask me right now. And I will answer with absolute assurance...
Caryn, tell me about yourself.
In a nutshell, I was born in Florida and raised in Tennessee...you might notice my accent from time to time. I went to college for a couple of years close to home due to a family circumstance. When that circumstance changed, I decided to change my major to “real life” and joined the Army. The resume you have is 17 years worth of unforgettable experiences & doing it all in my strength. The most recent unforgettable experience is not listed - I have been unemployed for just over a year now. In that year I have worked to maintain a mental and spiritual balance - discovering what is important to me as a person, as a professional, and defining what success is going to look like. I believe with every fiber in my being that those three things will blend beautifully together. Furthermore I believe that it will happen in this next season of my life. I have learned that life is a marathon, not a hundred yard dash. I am grateful to be introduced to someone who so highly regarded by my friend and who is willing to help me in that process if at all possible.
Caryn, what type of position are you looking to fill?
My resume reflects a varied skill set in a variety of industries. Most of my positions have centered around clerical work, but as you can see I have experienced and done well at some very unique things - I’ve repaired helicopters, worked on unique projects and excelled in industries that I knew nothing about. However...I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I have a talent for writing and photography. Those two things bring me actual joy.
I had the opportunity to be asked a literally life changing question just a few months ago that simply required me to answer it:
“If God were to create “the perfect job” for you, what would it look like?
I began a stream of consciousness writing, then divided them into categories such as salary, position, employer and quite frankly - what type of employee I will commit to being. The list was 3 pages so after I defined and refined the various points, here’s the short version...
My ideal job would incorporate writing and photography. Those two things naturally lead into the technological/new media industry - things like blogs, podcasts and vidcasts. I would like to travel to a degree. My salary would be provisional, to live and give freely. And most important, it would be a reflection of me working and moving in my natural gifts and talents that I have been given. Oddly, I love to do the things that other people hate to do like get things organization, take the time to figure out how to do it better (process improvement) and I have learned the value of serving my fellow man.
My ideal company would be one in which their services are centered around people. There’s a difference between companies who offer services to people then give back to communities & charities. What I’m referring to is a company whose services center around serving & helping people. In addition, there needs to be a genuine desire to build real relationships with people - and I believe that begins in the workplace. To me, real relationships mean that egos (and sometimes titles) are put aside & there is a genuine willingness to work together to provide excellent service. You simply do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
This year has been full of tough but rewarding lessons. THE toughest question I had to answer as honestly as I could was - how do I know I am successful? I am successful when I am living a well balanced life - mentally, physically and spiritually. I am successful when I’m working in my natural abilities and giftings according to His purpose and plan. I am successful when I consistently learn new things and am willing to step outside my comfort zone. I am successful when I know that I am helping others and making a difference.
To everyone who has asked me these questions in the last year, I’m sorry. I am sorry for whatever answer I provided you at the time as I broke into tears. Not being able to answer these question was simply embarrassing, but it’s what brought me to this post. God redeems. These are tough questions to answer truthfully and I am grateful for every day I spent learning the value of them.
I believe that what I have defined here, is what I want for my life & my career, and they are things that fall into the will of God and His plan for my life. I believe that God will bless me with these things in the most unexpected...the most beautiful...and the most meaningful ways - because He is a God who is faithful to His Word: “For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart”.
I believe I have done every conceivable thing possible to find a job. I also believe that God would not let me settle for “just anything”. He led me to define what was important and gave me the words to express it. Thank you to the person who helped catapult me to the level with God...if ever there were a testimony for “real relationships”, here it is.
Please know that I am honored and moved to tears every time I think about the people who have already come along side me to offer their support and words of encouragement. Who earnestly pray when they don’t know what to pray for because I couldn’t tell them. And who go out on a limb in ways that I have never seen before. If you feel led to pray for me, thank you - these are the specific things I am asking & believing God for in this next season of my life. I look forward to paying forward all that has been given to me during this time!!
With all of my heart and mind, Thank You.