Whenever I read stories in the Old Testament, I find myself being pretty hard on the Israelites. I read their stories of unfaithfulness, ingratitude, and disobedience and think ‘You silly people, three pages ago God made you some pretty awesome promises. He brought you out of exile, and made food literally rain down. How could you forget?’
As I walk through my time in the KC Fellows, I find I have more in common with the Israelites than I want to admit. In the time leading up to my arrival, I became aware that I lack sufficient grace for this wandering people group and have placed myself within the wrong side of the narrative for years.
My personal identification with the lost sheep, Israel, started after my graduation from college. I graduated with a degree in business, a minor in communications, and no job prospects. Not for lack of trying, but it seemed every door in the post-college hallway that I knocked on was closed. In the last two months of school I applied for dozens of jobs. I had two in-person interviews for jobs that would have kept me safely in my familiar college bubble, sent off five video interviews for jobs in professions that promised to keep me busy and traveling, and turned in applications for every Christian higher education position I could find in admissions, student life, or administration.
After facing rejection from them all, I finally started to consider this ‘Fellows’ program that had been popping in and out of my radar for the better part of my last year of school. I started working through the application just to have a ‘back up plan’ if my ‘real’ jobs didn’t pan out. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect, but I told myself it was ‘something to do.’ Amidst my three phone interviews for the Kansas City Fellows, I was still sending applications any and everywhere else, whether or not I had a particular interest in the company, industry, or area of the country. I even applied for a fellows program in Orlando. To this day I’m not sure why, but I was desperate to avoid Kansas City.
Finally, in my frantic searching, the one job I never dared to hope would be available, posted an opening. After feeling more stress about the application than the dozens of others I filled out, I submitted something I was happy with and was granted an interview. I felt I had finally outrun the hallway of closed doors, and the possibility of the Fellows. However, on June 17, my birthday, I received an email from my dream job notifying me that they were ‘pursuing other qualified candidates,’ I emailed the program directors for the Kansas City Fellows five minutes later accepting the spot in the program.
If I were to describe the month that followed my commitment as a biblical story, it was not that of Abraham trusting God’s provision and plan for his legacy, nor Moses faithfully following God’s commandments, and even less of Solomon receiving and utilizing divine wisdom. No, my story was more like that of Jonah, who ran from God’s call to Nineveh and was oh so glamorously swallowed by a fish.
While Jonah lived in the fish for three days and nights, I lived there a while longer. The disappointment of my plans falling through staying with me for a few weeks. However, just as God’s plan for Jonah ministering to Nineveh didn’t change despite his attitude, so too His plan for me to head to Kansas City wasn’t stopped because I was grumpy about it. Thankfully, He did some workshopping in my heart, and through interviews with a potential (and now my current) employer, He showed me grace and reassurance that made the 10-hour relocation from home seem a bit more bearable, and even, dare I say it, exciting.
And friends, my little Nineveh has been amazing. I have been welcomed into a workplace, church, and home that is utterly saturated with God-loving, kind, thoughtful individuals. Every day one of the lovely new people in my life shows me a part of God’s character in a beautiful and unique way. While the first half of Jonah is not the biblical plot line I thought I’d find my life mirroring, in this season it has been a vehicle of some of God’s sweetest blessings in my life to date.
Thank God for big fishes, closed doors, and new communities.