Patience in the Wait
Today I opted to stay home from church because I’ve been working more hours than I’d like to admit. To provide some context, I have to be transparent and give you an all-access look into what has happened in my life the past 9-10 months:
In July of 2017, I left my job, my friends, and a bit of stability to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball overseas. Back in 2015, I had traveled to Germany, France, and Northern Ireland during a missions trip with News Release Basketball, an organization that teaches about Jesus through hoops. On that trip, I created some very strong and lifelong friendships. I also played some of the best basketball of my life and made connections that would potentially help me to begin my pro career after graduating.
So when I arrived in Europe last July, I was convinced that summer was my time to make my dreams come true. I was playing at a high level and garnered some attention—but none of it seemed to stick. Rosters were already completed, or teams either couldn’t pay or just weren’t interested. At the end of the trip, instead of being handed a contract, I was handed a ticket back home to the States.
As you may have guessed, I was distraught and confused. I really thought God had given me the clearance to pursue my dream and that it would turn out the way I expected. My career had never been a clean-cut route to success; I had so many bumps and obstacles along the way that I often questioned if the game was for me. But this was worst than anything I’d experienced before.
Fast forward a few weeks after my return. I lived with my parents for about two weeks before moving to Cleveland to be closer to my girlfriend (who would soon become my fiancée). I moved to Ohio with no job, no real place to stay, and a heart full of anger. It sounds foolish, but I didn’t want to live without ball and my love. God was still looking out for me because I found out I had extended family living in the city and I was able to move in with them until I got on my feet.
Then the job search began.
Let me start by saying getting a job in your field of study is downright difficult. Every application asks for more years of experience than most have coming out of college, and even just processing an application takes what feels like a few months. I filled out probably over 75 to 100 applications and received very little feedback. I ended up scoring an interview with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland after my well-connected cousin shopped my resumé around. The job was mine and I started in October—but the narrative only gets more stressful from here.
I was hired as a “Site Program Coordinator” at a local elementary, middle and high school, and began doing something I love: working with kids and underprivileged families. At first, I was the most motivated and excited employee, with a mindset that I could change the world. Unfortunately for me, I was unaware of the stress, un-organization, and difficulties that came with the job. I’d become a social worker without even knowing it. Even so, I carried on to the best of my ability and did everything I could to bring success to that program. However, by February of 2018, my organization lost the grant with the school and I was once again without a place of employment.
At this point, I felt completely broken and confused, but I still had an ounce of hope that God would take care of me. I continued applying for jobs throughout the city and even in other states…this time rejection emails came along with the non-responses.
I was determined to get a job I was “worthy” of working, refusing to go to any retail spots or department store opportunities. A friend I’d met through working at the school hit me up and presented me with a job in the hospitality industry. The company, Towne Park, turned out to be a valet gig, something I’d done to make a few extra dollars during college when I wanted to eat something other than Top Ramen. Now as an adult, engaged to be married and with multiple bills in my name, I was going to have to run cars for a living; my pride was being smashed and stomped into the ground.
I accepted the job and as of March 24th, I began working tirelessly every day as a valet.
I am not looking for a pity party. I shared all of that to give you context for what I’m about to say, because throughout my time working this job, God has been teaching me about myself. I have been prideful, egotistical, and self-gratifying for a long time—and didn’t even realize it. God can’t use that. I needed to change; to have a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
So today, instead of sleeping in, I turned on my computer and started to randomly delete files from my drive (No idea why this seemed like something to do on a Sunday morning). As I trashed memes and old college assignments, I felt an unction in my spirit to open a browser and watch Transformation Church on live stream, a growing church in the heart of my former hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I signed into the online watch party and throughout worship and a bit of the message, there were multiple technical difficulties. The sound would go, static noise took over and a few times the video went completely dark. But instead of getting frustrated, I just kept refreshing the page; and oh boy, am I excited I did.
Pastor Mike Todd titled his message “Marked,” and passionately preached about David and how he had to go through a “process” to get to his elevation. He talked about being anointed before being positioned and having a servant’s heart. The whole message was LIT and I’ll provide the link for you to listen to it for yourself, but there was one thing he said that stood out to me and gripped my heart:
“We want gratification now, but God is trying to mature us through the process so we’ll be ready for what’s to come.”
As the message continued, I couldn’t move past this point. It felt like God was speaking directly to me. In Tulsa, I felt like the man. I was blessed with so many things and relationships, I felt like I was on a fast-track to the top. But when you don’t go through adversity and your way seems easy, I think you can take God’s blessings for granted and you can begin to glorify what you’ve done and accomplished; when it was never “you” in the first place.
Being rejected from basketball and jobs took me to a place where only God could help me, where only His love and grace and protection and mercy could pick me up. I know what it’s like now to feel like you have nothing left to give, to feel hopeless and abandoned.
He was there all along, waiting for me to run into His open arms. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the godly run to Him and are safe.”
This time in my life has been grueling at times, mostly on my mind, wondering what God is doing and when He’s going to come in and save me. I’m proud to say, despite the hardships, I trust God with my life. I trust Him because I know the “process” isn’t meant to last forever, but it is meant to cultivate growth and expectation and complete reliance on Him and Him alone.
God is the promoter. God is the one that elevates. God is all that I need. So I trust Him and I go to my job, filled with joy and thankfulness that He has me right where I need to be RIGHT NOW.
Trusting in His promises, His timing, and His plans will provide you with the patience you need while waiting for the blessings you want.
If you’re going through a process like me, feel free to share it in the comments and remember to continue trusting the Father because He knows our beginning from our end.
(Link for TC message): http://transformus.churchonline.org/