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Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’  You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. – Deuteronomy 8:11-18 (English Standard Version)

This Christmas season has been a time for me to reflect on just how incredibly blessed I am.  God has been so good to me – and I’m not referring to just material blessings, but also to the inner peace He gives me as I look upon a world full of uncertainty and chaos.  God has not once left my side, even as I have allowed myself to become busy, distracted, even curious about what might be waiting for me outside God’s provision.

Looking back on this past year, there have been many moments I have questioned God’s plan for my future, specifically as it relates to my career as a software developer.  As I see others promoted into positions I feel should be mine, as I receive lesser raises and bonuses than I feel I deserve, as structural reorganization removes the possibility of future progression and the fruits of my labor are deemed irrelevant, I find myself posing questions to God like, “Are you sure this is part of your plan?”, and even worse, “Why would you do such a thing to me?”

I find myself scanning the employment ads, hoping to find that one position that will ensure a bright future with great monetary reward.  I schedule job interviews and speak with recruiters who assure me that my talents and abilities are underutilized and unappreciated.  They promise that a new position will result in the respect and compensation I deserve.  I find myself considering the possibilities of a new title, a bigger paycheck, a new group of co-workers to admire my brilliance.  And I think of the impact to my current employer, when I drop the news that I am leaving.  The shock on their faces, the panic as they realize that I am one of very few who know the inner workings of the system and scramble to cover the gaping holes in their process charts as I remove myself from their diagrams.

Isn’t this the American Dream?  Aren’t we encouraged to better ourselves and our positions at every opportunity?  We’ve only got a limited time to maximize our talent and potential, and we’ve got to make the most of it before it’s too late.  Don’t worry about the people in charge; after all, we’re just numbers to them, and they will drop us the second that action becomes profitable.   Shouldn’t I be looking out for number one?  If I don’t, no one else will … right?

But … Someone has been looking out for me.  For almost 40 years, Someone has been by my side, guiding my path, nudging me towards the future He has planned for me.  I’ve taken some pretty big detours along the way.  I’ve fought against His direction, I’ve pursued my own paths, I’ve run headlong into exactly the things He doesn’t want for me, but still He is there, patiently waiting for me to stop my nonsense and turn back to His guidance.  Without Him by my side, I would have none of the things I have today.  Not even my job.

When I remember how God has provided for me every step of the way, I feel silly worrying about how I might provide for myself tomorrow.  When I consider the positions I have held in my past, and the incongruous leap from waitress to software developer, I feel a bit silly questioning God’s ability to define the next step.  When I reflect on who God is, and what God desires for each one of us, I remember that my career is of secondary importance to God’s love for those around me.

And I remember the warnings of Deuteronomy 8.  I have become accustomed to my paycheck, my position, and my lifestyle; at times, I have entertained the delusion that I earned all this on my own, and might even deserve more.  And I am reminded that God alone gives power and wealth – for the purpose of advancing His plan.

I see the people I work with, who are experiencing the same dilemmas as I.  And I find, that if I focus less on my own career crisis, I can focus more on encouraging them.  I can show them love, and bring joy and laughter into the office, and remain calm as we attend surprise meetings with new announcements of the next reorganization.  I know that God loves each and every one of them, and that His greatest desire for all of us is that we would know His presence, above everything else.

As we enter this New Year, I will sleep soundly at night, because I know God has blessed me with His presence, and I know he will continue to grant me peace in the face of uncertainty.  It is my prayer for myself and for every one of us, that as we experience the blessings God pours out on us, we will not forget the Source, and that we will draw from those blessings to bless those around us, in accordance with His plan.

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