Do you know Katie McNemar? Shame if you don’t. She’s pretty awesome. She used to work at Georgetown University Hospital in D.C. but God called her elsewhere. And guess what? She followed. In my mind, if Obama ever had a medical emergency, they would hurry him to Katie’s hospital and she would shove Secret Service guys out of the way and be like, “Hey…HEY, KATIE MAC HAS GOT THIS, SECRET SERVICE PEOPLE.” And then she would help save the President. But she left that possibility behind because God said, “Go.”
I randomly came across her blog not too long before she made the decision to follow. In today’s post, she talks about that decision, her faith as a result of it and John Denver. Don’t act like you aren’t interested.
Read this and then go check out her place, The Dailies. It’s basically like a digital representation of the feeling when you take the first bite of a donut. I know, right?
When I quit my job as a hospital administrator at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and moved back to my hometown of Buckhannon, WV to live with my parents at the age of thirty, I guess I kinda thought that God would meet me at the state line with a dump truck full of blessings and dream-come-trues. This whole thing was His idea after all. He was the one that planted the idea of leaving and then followed up that shocking revelation with no less than twenty confirmations that I was supposed to get the heck outta Dodge. I got the message loud and clear. The most difficult part was that He left me with no other solid directions other than for me to go back to WV.
It was hard to leave what appeared to be a pretty decent life in order to come back and have no idea what to do next. Okay, hard isn’t the best word. I think a better word would be scary. It’s not like I have a savings account full of money (or one at all) or a trust fund. I was living paycheck to paycheck because I have a good bit of debt that I am still paying down. This meant that I wasn’t going to be able to quit my job the next day and execute Job Quitting scenario A*, B**, OR C***. I had to plan, save my money, and pray like I’ve never prayed before that God show me what I need to do.
In order to pull the trigger on this plan from God, I felt I had to come up with something to tell people so that they wouldn’t freak out when I told them what I was doing, and in the process freak me out as well. I needed a plan that wasn’t too elaborate, but at the same time made sense to people. When I told people I was quitting my job and moving back to WV, most of them automatically got that look that you make when you are trying to swallow your throw-up.
If I could tell people that I was going to move back to WV so that I could live in the bustling capital city of Charleston, go back to school for my M.A. in counseling at Marshall University, and in the mean time work at a hospital there, then they would all let out a collective sigh of relief saying to themselves, “Phew, Katie’s got her life all lined up and in check” and I could confidently pack up my little studio apartment in Georgetown and continue to pray for God to make my grand plan (which I think sounds pretty awesome) come true as soon as possible so that I don’t look like a royal jack-ass, a dirty liar complete with pants on fire, or a future crazy cat lady that lives in her parent’s basement and cross-stitches Bible verses into her granny panties.
I’ve been home for a month and a half and the plan I came up with in order to soften the blow of having no idea what is next has pretty much all but slipped quietly into a coma. It’s still breathing, but it’s not moving. I’m not saying that God won’t bring those dreams to fruition in some form one of these days, but He has basically taken my hands out of the cookie jar until after dinner, if you know what I mean. My purpose and my plans are two totally separate things. I made a plan, but my purpose is Jesus. Even if my plan includes Jesus, it’s still not my purpose. My purpose is to love Jesus and follow Him even when it seems crazy.
God didn’t show me the whole picture. He showed me the first step and asked me to take it in faith.
And I did.
As soon as my size six feet hit the WV soil, I already knew in my heart that my big plans were out the door. I felt it in my soul. As I passed the sign that says “Welcome to West Virginia” I noticed that God must have parked my dump truck full of dreams somewhere else. Perhaps He had to stop to get gas. As I prayed, He broke the news to me gently that things weren’t going to be like I thought, but if I was willing to keep going, they would be far better than anything I could have imagined.
I know that God has big plans for me. Not so that I can be “happy”, but so that through my life, His glory and truth will shine. I want my life to show that Jesus is God and that the only way I could have what I have and do what I do is if that is true. That’s what I want more than anything.
The only way I can mess that up is to try and make these things God has planted in my heart happen in my own strength and in my own way out of fear and impatience. When God told David back when he was a shepherd boy that one day he would be king, David didn’t immediately go out and buy himself purple robes and a crown. He went back to humbly tending his sheep. David knew that God was with him and he trusted that God would honor His words.
When God told David to whoop up on Goliath, he was able to do what an entire army couldn’t simply because He believed that God would never have asked him to do it if he wasn’t able. God uses the humble and willing. He uses the trusty servants and makes them Kings. If God has placed a dream or vision on your heart, then you will see it come to pass. It’s our own man-made plans that fail. When we seek for our own glory and not God’s then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
If you have a dream, but you feel like you’ve been waiting for long enough, wait longer. If you have a dream, but you feel like everything is an uphill battle, keep fighting. If you have a dream, and you feel like you aren’t strong enough to keep going, pray for strength. Continue to trust in Him even when things look bleak or desolate. He is able to give life to dead, dry bones. Believe that He is able to use you no matter your past or present.
Moses didn’t feel ready for the task that God gave him, but God used him anyway. If we say “no” to God when He asks us to make a move then we aren’t just missing out on some amazing blessings for ourselves, but more importantly, we are missing out on being a blessing to someone else. We are missing out on being a part of God’s big huge love story to the world.
A few weeks ago I realized that the dump truck of blessings and dream-come-trues had already arrived at my doorstep. I just didn’t recognize them for what they were because I was too blinded by my own thoughts of what they would look like. Open your eyes and see that God is blessing you every single day. I understand how hard it can be to wait. I know how hard it is to keep hoping even when you don’t see anything happening. Don’t give up. Persevere. Laying down your plan and your old life in order to follow Jesus isn’t just worth it; it’s your purpose. You don’t have to listen to me. Listen to what Jesus said:
“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:25-26)
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
*Job quitting scenario A – My own version of the Office Space printer scene where I take my fax machine that has 5 sticky buttons and makes papers fall all over the floor and I beat it with my dry erase board easel until it’s in a thousand pieces. I then put those pieces in a manila envelope, along with a letter that simply states, “It’s not that I’m lazy. I just don’t care,” and hand deliver it to my boss with a tape of the song “It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” playing in the background.
**Job quitting scenario B – Wait until a really important meeting where everyone is around. Or better yet, the monthly birthday cake celebration. Food always brings people. Then I hop up on the conference table and lip sync to John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” while I throw my resignation letter up in the air like it’s confetti and blow kisses to everyone.
***Job quitting scenario C – Wait until my weekly meeting with my boss. Demand something completely ridiculous like a $20k raise, a company car, and an all-access pass to the physician’s lounge (that place is like Disney world. Free donuts AND muffins. What!?). After being promptly rejected I slam down my resignation letter and say, “If I don’t get some free donuts right this second, I’m WALKIN’!” After once again being promptly rejected, laughed at, and had security called on me, I gather up my belongings and leave.
What’s something God has asked you to do lately?