Summary: Often we believe that a particular situation or plan we have is ready to be implemented. Actually, it is not always the proper timing. God knows when you are ready and when it fits into His plan for our lives.
I ended up at the mall. I don’t know why I chose the mall, but it seemed like a logical place to go. I just stormed out of the house, got into my car and started driving. I had only been in town a few months and really didn’t know anywhere else to go. I had to get away from all my problems and the challenges of the day.
If you are trying to get away from it all, let me tell you – the mall is not a good place to go. There amongst hundreds of noisy shoppers, teenagers of every shape and size, mothers pulling crying children, and so forth, I wanted to find solitude to feel sorry for myself and tell God how unfair He was.
You have to understand why I ran to the mall from home that day. Earlier, I had to make what seemed like a really tough choice at the time. I had a part-time job that I enjoyed very much in the television industry. The job had great potential for growth and career advancement; however, the job interfered with the family.
I had to pick up the kids each day; take my husband to work (we had only one car), go to church two times a week, work in various ministries in the church, workout at least three days a week (just to keep that girlish figure), cook dinner each evening, and a host of other things. At first, the part-time job fitted into the schedule very well. But over time, it became overwhelming, trying to balance between family and work. I had to choose – the job or my family?
To be honest, at first I wanted to be selfish. Why not? I had stayed home with the kids long enough. They were both now in elementary school and they really didn’t need me anymore. I had a great day care provider and they were in school many hours doing the day. I could be a typical woman of the times and work and send the kids to day care and juggle the housework. If I let the job go, then I would be giving in again and losing out on the things I wanted to do. If many of my friends and associates could juggle career and family, why couldn’t I? Why was I always having problems when I tried to work and take care of my family at the same time? My decision time was here – job or family? With much regret at the time, I resigned from the job.
Since I was at the mall and angry that I was not having what I wanted out of life, I felt I might as well shop. Shopping always made me feel better and help me to forget about my present problems. For the next hour or two, I would forget every problem I ever had and spend, spend, spend. I thought about the dress and shoes I had my eyes on over the last few weeks in my favorite store at the mall. I decided that if I couldn’t have career and family, I would at least have something I really wanted!
I realized, however, that I only had $.95 in change in my purse. I don’t know if you’ve been to the mall lately, but $.95 is not enough to buy much. I fanatically looked for an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that could take care of my money woes. I put my ATM card in the machine with the anticipation that I would soon have money to spend. I thought, “Now God, I can have what I want and not even you can stop this. I can have it for me and me alone!” It seems as though God heard this anguish, selfish cry. All of a sudden the ATM screen went to a black background with bold green letter that said, “SORRY, CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE!” It was SHUT DOWN! Here I was at the mall with hundreds of shopper and NO money. I felt just like the bank machine, “closed for maintenance”.
Filled with dismay and disappointment, (and really angry with God and everyone in my life), I left the mall. A river of tears streamed down my face. I begin to think how “nothing ever works out for me.” I begin to ask God what he wanted me to do and why the job didn’t work out. Talking about having a pity party (I was the only attendee)! I got into my car and reminded Him that I was his child and he promised to give me the petitions that I asked! Suddenly, I heard a still small voice speak to me:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways”. (Isaiah 55:8)