Haha yeah, ok God, but I don’t think I can do that.
This past week has been Miranda internally freaking out. I like to be in control, know what is happening, and feel comfortable in a situation. I decided to work at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. this summer because I had never worked with food, and thought I might as well try it out for half the summer at a restaurant with a cool atmosphere. I never imagined it would be this difficult for me right from the start. I was informed of four days of training, a 30-minute drive after deciding to take a route without a toll, and told the best parking was a garage which cost employees $5 a day. All of these details caused me to be very ungrateful for a job. I constantly compared it to my job back at home, which is a small retail store where my boss is such a generous, personable lady, I can work with people near me in age and lifestyle, have freedom and control at the store, and of course, there are clothes.
The first week at Bubba was rough because I was unwilling to open up to what God was trying to tell me, and I was upset that God was challenging me so soon into my trip. Also, I was mad at my past self for thinking this was a good idea, instead of just finding a cute little retail store to work at in St. Pete. I wanted to be good at everything the trainer told me to do, but was also too afraid to take initiative at times. I didn’t want to fail or mess up and that mixed with the wrong attitude, kept me from performing my best and just trying to both learn and enjoy myself with what was coming my way.
Each week of the summer we have a Bible verse to memorize for Monday nights. This is my first time truly taking the time to memorize scripture and, while at first I was very nervous, I have been surprised at how much I have actually enjoyed it and seen the benefit of memorizing scripture.
The second week the scripture assigned to memorize was Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds, in Christ Jesus.”
I was memorizing the scripture during the week and about the third or fourth time I repeated it to myself, I realized just how applicable it was to my situation. I needed to present my request to God and pray that God would provide me with the ability to do good work for Him, and to trust that He was, and is, in control of my job situation. So I began to pray that God would change my heart and how I felt toward my job.
Sunday I worked, but before then we went to church. I don’t think I have ever been in church and had a sermon that felt so applicable to me at the time. It was over Judges 7, where Gideon is told by God to reduce the size of his army to only 300 men, but is still able to defeat the Midianite army without any casualties. The pastor used Juges 7 to explain how:
- When God wants to use us he will often weaken us.
- God would send salvation not through human might, but the weakness of humble obedience.
- God patiently deals with faltering faith.
- At some point, you have to take a risk.
- God can turn weakness into strength.
- Join Jesus wherever He is.
Each one of these points really struck me and helped me to realize that it is okay to not feel secure in everything, but that I can lean into God during times of difficulty and weakness.
So after an encouraging morning, I got to work, ready, and open for the job that God had provided me. Instead though, I just sat. I sat for more than an hour and a half waiting for my trainer. She finally arrives, and just when I think I can begin my training for the evening, the rain comes and all heck breaks loose. The outdoor computers have to be unplugged and taken to shelter, and while I thankfully wasn’t let off work early, I was told I would have to redo my third day of training, for a third time. Leaving work I was upset, but I also just had to laugh at how funny God is sometimes. I felt like God was saying to me, “Chill Miranda. You freak out about things at times and instead you need to be open and stop resisting.”
So, while I am still not done with training, have not received the hours I was hoping for, and none of my other problems have magically disappeared, I can tell God is working to mold and shape my heart. I’m not even going to try and guess what God will hit me with next, and this job roller coaster definitely isn’t over, but I’m starting to become okay with that. For in the words of Forrest Gump, “My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
So I came home, I started working again, met up with friends, and spent time with my family. I got into the routine of being home, and I loved it. Memorial Day was like the calm before the storm. I spent the day with family and had a blast playing games and meeting up with family friends. The rest of the week though was filled with lots of planning and meeting with people before I left. One of my XU friends came to my house on Saturday and while it was so nice to see a familiar college face, it was such a weird experience too. I watched as she said bye to her Dad and brother, and then the next day she watched me do the same with my family.
On Sunday all three of the XU kids and I met up in Cincy and we had dinner with friends who have gone on STP previously. The weather was beautiful on Sunday and we walked downtown enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Monday we drove to Atlanta and stayed in a church just outside the city. It was the first time we met all the STP members and, honestly, I didn’t feel ready for it. Tuesday morning we woke up around 6 to start our last leg of the trip. As we started driving closer and closer to St. Petersburg, the reality started to set in. I became nervous but was so thankful I had friends who had decided to go on this journey with me. We drove through the entrance of the college and realized that we had no idea where to go. We had known that Eckerd College was our destination, and what dorm we were in, but we didn’t know how to get there or anything. It hit me that we were clueless and unprepared for this journey in so many different ways!
While thinking about this experience I had been looking forward to being challenged, now that it was about to happen, I wasn’t too excited. Honestly, I wanted to get on campus, find a beach, and hang out with just my XU friends for a little bit. That obviously didn’t happen, and instead once we found our dorm, we were greeted by new people and quickly we were unpacking the car and I was separated from my XU friends. My nerves just kept on increasing as I met new people and I really began to process what I had signed myself up for this summer. And surprisingly, the thing I had been looking forward to, working at a new job this summer, soon became the thing I was looking forward to the least.
After different orientation stuff, we had some worship time. While at first worship was pretty awkward because we didn’t really know each other, I didn’t know all the songs, and we were singing on the floor of a classroom, I was soon calmed down by all of our praising voices. During this time, the verse of “The Greatness of Our God” really stuck out to me-
Give me grace to see
Beyond this moment here
To believe that there
Is nothing left to fear
So while, yes, I am still freaking out for my job interview coming up soon, and there are more than 100 things I wish I could change right now, I know that through all these things, I can put my trust in God. Seems pretty easy, right? Well I have my job interview soon, so I will let you know how it goes!