A few summers back, I received my Master’s Degree and a few days later, I accepted a minimum wage job in a warehouse out of necessity. At the time, I just knew that I would not be working there that long. I figured I would be there two weeks max and then back to being in my career of choice, in a full-time capacity.
Two weeks came and went. The weeks began to pile up, as well as the “Thank you for applying but we have chosen another candidate to fill the position,” emails in my inbox. I was trying to keep my trust in GOD, and I did not want to complain. So, I didn’t complain out of my mouth, I just decided to grow a beard to represent “my struggle.” I didn’t complain out of my mouth, but I did complain by growing an ugly, patchy, and wild beard that screamed, “LOOK AT ME AND MY SORROW! PLEASE ASK ME WHAT’S WRONG!”
I want to believe that it started out as a sincere gesture to not complain and to trust GOD. But it turned into the very thing I was trying to avoid. It was a struggle. I was trying to trust GOD and do HIS work no matter where HE placed me. I understood that just because I was asking for something did not mean that GOD would answer affirmatively. I knew it, but it was hard to experience. I fought to be content with how GOD was providing for me at the time. I was thankful, or at the least, I sincerely wanted to be thankful.
Furthermore, with all the “noes” I was receiving in my email, I began to get bitter at the people who were deciding not to employ me. I would daydream about the excitement of showing them what they missed out on. I hoped for opportunities to rub their bad decision in their face.
Then one day, by the grace of GOD, it hit me: my struggle beard was really a huge symbol of my pride. Though I would say that I trusted GOD, my beard was saying that I did not trust HIM at all. My mouth was saying one thing, but my beard represented the opposite. I was ashamed and I had to repent. I cut off my beard.
I realized that I could not pray to GOD to open a door and then get mad or bitter at employers when doors remained closed. I cannot have it both ways. If I am trusting GOD to open doors, I have to trust HIM to keep doors closed. The employer really has nothing to do with it if I really want GOD to be involved in the matter. Either I am trusting GOD or trusting myself and the employer.
Months later, I ended up getting a job in my career of choice, but if it were open when I first started applying for jobs, I would have never applied—the way I was thinking at the time, I would not have viewed it as a good opportunity. Not only was it a good opportunity, it was the best opportunity I could have received, even considering if some of those noes had been yeses (thinking about it still blows my mind).
King Solomon told us to trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. He said that in all of our ways we should acknowledge HIM—beards included.
Grace and peace.11