You’re Fired! One year later…

firedIt’s officially been a year since I got fired from a job I loved, from an employer I had worked faithfully for for almost 13 years.

Technically, it’s been a year and a week. Last week, on the actual anniversary, I had intended to write this blog post, but I couldn’t. Like other losses, losing your job carries memories—good and bad—that surface on the anniversary. So I spent most of the day reminiscing. Old friends I’ve lost touch with, and some I haven’t. Trips I took. Fellow speakers I met. How I was fired, what I felt that day, and what God has done in the interim.

I have enough emotional distance now to blog about the one-year mark. So here it is. Don’t be disappointed that I don’t have a top ten list of things I’ve learned or some epiphany that I experienced. Instead, here are my random thoughts as they come:

1. You can know that you are in the absolute center of God’s will and still hurt and doubt and question and… I have no doubt that God took me away from that job. No question. And I if we were sitting across the table from each other, I would tell you why. Even though I knew God was sovereign (and He still is), it still hurt. And I doubted and questioned and wondered. In the end, though, I could relax in the comfortable arms of God who could handle all of those conflicting emotions.

2. The grass can be greener, but it also has its share of insects, too. I often wondered what my life would be like if I were a full-time mom, full-time freelancer. I pictured a dreamy world devoid of the stresses of corporate life. On this side of the fence I can say that my stress level is a -12 compared to my previous life, and that is good. But freelancing also means filing your own taxes, marketing yourself, feast-or-famine work. There are some definite drawbacks. But hearing my daughter tell me she’s glad I’m home when she gets home from work is worth the trade off.

3. My worth does not come from a job—even a “ministry” job. Looking back, I realize how much of my self-worth was tied up in the work I did. The books I wrote. The ministry to girls I helped launch. The authors I got to know and rub shoulders with. Ripping all that away in an instant can leave a gal numb, upside down, and discombobulated. Lest you think you’re immune to this trap, let me ask you a hard question: what would you do if you’d worked for the same place for over a decade, establishing yourself as a leader in your field, only to have it taken away without a moment’s notice? If you were honest, you would struggle, too. Because we’re both human and both susceptible to the lure of applause and affirmation and success.

A year later, I still don’t know where the next steps will take me. I know where I think I’m headed, but this recent journey has taught me that life can change quicker than you can say, “Hey, can we talk to you in the conference room?” One thing I do know: jobs come and go, but my Savior does not. He is my Rock and my Future.

And for this moment, that is enough.

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8 thoughts on “You’re Fired! One year later…

  1. I know this feeling all too well. God said my time was up and I had to resign from a lucrative career. Huge humble pie, but the incredible stuff I have seen since then. Wow!

  2. I can’t tell you how much I personally miss you! Even though we only got to work together a few times, I always felt like I had a friend in student ministry who had a similar passion. I’m sure God is going to use this special time with your daughter to plant seeds that will last for generations. The future is exciting!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kelly! I miss you, too! If you’re ever back in Nashvegas, shoot me an email and we’ll meet up! And if you ever need a speaker for Sooner State, I’d love to visit! My dad lives there, and my mom’s family all hail from Oklahoma, so I have a special affinity for that area…I even have a scar on my knee from one of my trips. :-) Keep me posted on your ministry there. Grateful for you!

  3. Amen and amen! Stepping out on faith can be scary and full of uncertainty. But when we let go of our ideas and plans, God can work miracles.

  4. Pam,
    I just fell on your blog and wanted you to know 1. I am (and always have been) thankful for your ministry. You helped me many times when I was in full time ministry as I struggled ministering to the girls in my student ministry.

    2. I want to add that I too was fired a few years back from a ministry. I will say, and I wonder your thoughts. How do you personally keep the negative thoughts, that seem to always creep back in, at bay?

    I too know absolutely that God moved me from the (unhealthy) place I was serving and I am in a much better place now, serving in the business world as a “secular missionary.”

    But although I know God protected me and moved me, I still have occasional bouts of anger to creep back in.

    Thoughts?

    • Brian,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Here’s my solution: there is no solution. :-) There is no way from keeping a thought from popping into your head. If I say, don’t think about pink elephants, what will pop into your head? Pink elephants. However, I CAN control what I do with that thought. I can accept it as truth and act on it. I can allow my emotions to be influenced or swayed by a thought. Or, I can evaluate that thought, determine that it’s not helpful, not truthful, and not in line with I know from God’s Word and I can chunk it…the modern-day translation (or should I say paraphrasing!) of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). It’s a process, one that I have to repeat all the time. But it works for me. Most of the time. :-)

      And, BTW, I think it’s normal to have bouts of anger to creep in. I understand. I’d be worried if you didn’t get angry occasionally.

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