“Corinne, you’re going to be the President one day. I’m just sure of it.” Family, friends, and mentors have been telling me this for as long as I can remember.
“Destined for greatness,” they said. It was all ingrained in my spirit, my identity, from a very young age.
I didn’t realize how much my identity was dependent on my career and wrapped up in my professional achievements until it was all abruptly “taken away” from me. No, I wasn’t fired or let go. No, I wasn’t forced to leave my career. I married a soldier. So yea, it wasn’t actually “taken away”, it just felt like it was. I choose him; I “married the Army”.
I had no idea how essential my career was in my security, identity, and confidence until that essential piece of my identity no longer existed. I took a faithful step; although some days I think it was pure naivety and as I was blinded by the love I had for my husband. But, even if I was naïve and love struck; I believe it was a part of God’s plan.
There was nothing else in the world I would have abandoned my DC career for; except love. God knew that and He knew what it would take. He had a very big lesson to teach me; one that would require some major changes.
We moved to our first duty station – I went door to door, I searched high and low, I even had our local congressman’s office befriend me and try to help. But there was nothing. I begrudgingly realized I was either going to sit around for 8 months or make minimum wage, so I walked into a temp agency. They placed me in a job within the first 10 minutes of arriving through their doors, working 40 hours a week as a Secretary/Executive Assistant at a warehouse for a medical supply company. There was my first slice of humble pie.
Instead of twiddling my thumbs of boredom (and yes, it was boring by the way), I learned how to create my own tasks. I learned how to initiate projects that weren’t delegated to me, simply to be (and feel) purposeful. It worked and just as I was getting ready to PCS to our next duty station the company offered me a full-time sales job. A job that was not at all within the scope of my career or what I wanted to be doing. I prayerfully and nervously turned it down. I looked at our next duty station as a new opportunity; a new job market full of possibilities.
Throughout the transition from our first duty station to the second, I reverted back to my old way of thinking. I found my hope in the job to come, and the bounce came back to my step as I dreamed of my next awesome job.
As you can see, I’ve slipped in and out of this major identity crisis over and over again. I found assurance and security in my career. My performance in jobs only egged my ego on. It only built up this false identity. Crossing things off a to-do list was my drug of choice (still is if I’m being totally honest).
God’s Work is Never Done
Without telling you every single detail of every single job I’ve had since that DC job; God has shown me and edified me in these areas over and over. I, easily fall into the cycle of finding my identity in the world. Satan knows my crutch well and finds ways to tempt me into that shallow calling. To this day, I still occasionally get recruited and those interviews remind me of this very lesson – God is never done with me.
Throughout the years of not having a glamorous career or a top notch LinkedIn profile, and following my husband’s career around the world – God has done a number with me. First, I had to face who I really was; I had to allow God to show me who He created and wanted me to be. This involved a lot of empty time, stillness, and slowly finding my role within a community in lieu of a workplace. Then, over time, I became more and more comfortable without the heels and business lunches. He softened my spirit to His calling.
What have I learned? Well, for one, when our plans don’t work out, God truly can and will use that time for His good – if you let Him. I’m not sure I really let Him as much as He twisted my arm. But regardless, I am happier and more content living for Him instead of a boss. I now see His purpose and calling in my life even while it took some painful seasons and countless years of falling on my face.
If you are in one of those transitions and trying to listen – it’s painful. It’s hard to change; it’s hard to face our sin and weaknesses but He will give you strength and bring you through. He will eventually give you clarity. Allowing Him to use you is our calling. Giving Him your strengths and passions will lead you to an ultimately more fulfilling place in life.
Sisters, you can have a successful career and find your identity in Christ. You can rise in the ranks and make your way to a corner office; but I urge you to always put God first. Find your identity in Him and if you don’t know what that means, maybe now is the time to begin thinking that over.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13