We do a lot of DIY here on the blog, but we’re also committed to keeping things real and letting you guys into our lives too. Well, here in the Mangin household we’ve been wrestling with some big life decisions lately. A few times it had me wondering, who the heck put us in charge?!?
So here’s the backstory… My husband has been blessed for ten years to have the best job ever for our family. Note, I don’t say he has the best job ever- clearly Miley Cyrus has the best job ever (bahaha!), but it’s the best for us and our four kids. He has total flexibility, it’s pretty close to home, he doesn’t have to travel, and he doesn’t come home with any work stress. For us, that’s just about perfect.
So here’s the dilemma… his company has had layoffs for the past ten years he’s been there, not every year, but off and on. Thankfully, we’ve never been impacted by them and Eric has been successful all of these years, but we’ve always wondered if his luck will run out someday. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever known and really smart, but when you see other good people let go, you wonder.
We’ve never looked for another job, we’ve actually not really even thought about it- we love his job, we’re thankful for it, and we joke that if he could get a contract for the next 25 years, he’d sign and be the happiest man alive (he likes predictability lol). But, at the end of the summer another company began recruiting him. At first it was kind of just a long shot- it was a somewhat different field… he’s in pharmacokinetics (nerd city right) and this company deals with orthobiologics- similar, but different worlds. He wasn’t sure his degrees were fitting, and even though he was willing to go through some initial rounds of interviews, it seemed like nothing was happening for months. So, we just figured we’d stay put- we were really happy after all, nothing lost.
A few months had gone by and then we got a call that they’d found what they considered “just the right role” for Eric. They had seemed really interested in matching their employees with a role that fits their skill set and personality (which is something we both thought was really neat). Anyhow, just before Christmas, he was given a formal offer and then came the, “Okay, who’s going to make this decision for us” moment.
We’re responsible for 4 kids and 2 adults… decisions like employment are a big deal. Especially since I just recently left teaching to work in TV for “Knock It Off” That decision has worked out amazingly well and I’m so happy, but two risks in one year- now that’s just crazy talk. It’s moments like these that make us realize holy crap we’re adults and no one is going to decide this for us! Yikers!
So, now that you have the back story- my real topic is how to make big life decisions… I wish there was a perfect recipe. Now, I don’t hide the fact that I’m a believer and I fully know I’m not the one in charge here, but as I see things, God lets us make choices and also expects us to make wise ones. I think there are a few camps on how to make decisions as a Christian… let’s tour those camps shall we? I always loved me some summer camp!
Welcome to Camp- God-is-gonna-show-me: (If you say that really fast it sounds like some cool tribal inspired camp name) This camp is the leave the wet fur (or something like that) outside and if it’s wet I’ll take the job and if it’s dry I won’t. I’d join this camp in a heartbeat if I was back in Biblical times. It seemed to work out just smashingly back then. I also know some people love this camp, and it works for them, but trust me, if I leave a sock outside waiting for an answer, my dog will just eat it and then I’ll really be confused about what I should do.
Welcome to Camp- God’s-gonna-give-me-peace: This camp is good for the non-active types. You don’t have to do much other than just wait around and wait for peace one way or the other. Here’s why I don’t sit around this campfire… I think I could convince myself of most things and make a convincing enough argument that I’d feel good about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision or that I’m getting peace from God.
Welcome to Camp- God-Opened-the-door or also known as God-wanted-me-to-persist-through-closed-doors: I think this is by far the most common camp. It has a waiting list a mile long! Basically, here’s the gist of it… If it seems really easy and all signs are pointing to it, then God’s opening doors and that’s where he wants you. Sounds simple right? But, this camp also has another name, we can’t forget that one. The one where doors are closing, obstacles are coming, but it’s interpreted as God hoping to see you persist and fight through adversity. I think this camp is a slippery slope-a person choosing what they want and then spinning what name to put on- doors opening or fighting through adversity. I think the people at this camp are still desiring to do God’s will, but it’s some scary circular reasoning. What if the obstacles are God’s way of saying nope, this isn’t the right thing for you. How do you know the difference?
(sidenote: I hate camping and Eric fully knows it)
Welcome to Camp- God-doesn’t-care-about-details: This camp doesn’t have campfires and s’mores nights- bummer. It’s based on the idea that God isn’t concerned with the small details of life. He’s more a big-picture guy. So take the job or leave it he’s not overly concerned. I’m not a member of this camp, but I do agree with a measure of it… the underlying idea that God’s going to use you wherever you are (within reason. I’m not saying use this one as an excuse… God can use me in this affair type of mumbo jumbo!) I’m more in line with this idea than the idea that God is concerned about what color socks I’m wearing (if you happen to care, they’re grey Puma socks).
Welcome to Camp- Crapshoot: I was starting to write about this final camp- the one we joined-and gave it a fancy name, but then I deleted everything. It was crap. Here’s what we did… we prayed about it, we sought the counsel of wise people – and not just ones that would tell us what we want to hear and not just ones that we agree with everything about (read: liberals and conservatives). We talked about it a lot, and then decided that God wants his kids to be dependent on him and yet independent too- confident in decision making after asking for wisdom. Then, we made our choice and now we’re asking him to use us within the decision we’ve made. I don’t know for sure that it’s the best decision long term, I don’t know that it’s going to mean job security, I don’t know that we’ll be happy with it in 6 months, but for now we’ve made the best decision we can.
Today, Eric gave his notice at work and starts his new job in two weeks. We’re excited, a little nervous (because we know it will be tricky at first with my crazy TV work schedule), and ready to take on this new challenge. This whole big life decision thing was not easy, and it really made us pause and and think about how to go about it all.
Now, obviously not everyone will agree with our approach and not everyone will love my camp commentary, but it’s just my take on things and the good news is that my opinion doesn’t have to change yours. 🙂 You can leave your sock out and wait for an answer- just don’t do it at my house, because seriously Pennlyn will eat your socks! 🙂
I’m just thankful for a God that is willing to love imperfect people, I’m human, selfish, opinionated, quirky, sometimes blinded by pride, but have a God that’s willing to work through all my crap and use us none the less.
So, enough about me, how about you… how do you make hard decisions? Have you had to tackle some biggies?
PS If this post is way too heavy for you- you could always just go watch some “Knock It Off” episodes. hehe.
Credits: Photography by Stacy of Salvatori Photography– Newest member of the East Coast Creative Team.