Without Volatility There Is No Opportunity

There was a brief moment of panic over the weekend that sent me scrambling for my journal and a pen.  I quickly scribbled a long email and sent it off to four good friends, then fell asleep midway through a pro/con list for a potential job lead.  One of the women in my circle soon responded with this psalm prayer:

Our soul waits for the Lord who is our help and our shield, for in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust. (Psalm 33:20-21)

love-happyI breathed a sigh of relief; it was a good reminder that I don’t need to have all the answers today!  I’ve been out of work for two full months now.  Most of that time has been spent traveling – including a long-awaited 3-week vacation in Europe, plus an additional week with my family here in the States.  I’ve spent plenty of time catching up with friends and overall just enjoying the summer.

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, it is time to get serious about the job search.  I have a handful of informational interviews set, and I had my first official meeting with my Career Coach today.  My weekend email exchange reminded me that writing is good medicine for discernment and for processing the flood of emotions that come with being unemployed.

I am so accustomed to walking with our college students through their big life decision that it now feels strange to be on the other side of the discernment conversation.  There is so much that I am learning, re-learning, and being reminded of.  I hope these reflections are helpful, as I chronical the highs-and-lows of trying to understand and uncover God’s plan for my life.

One sure guarantee though- insights will come from the most unexpected places!

While on vacation, my brother and I were talking about “risk”.  My brother is a commodities trader; he knows all about taking risks!  It’s how you get ahead in the stock market; you have to be willing to take a risk when everyone else is holding tight.  This is especially true when the market is unstable.  No one wants to take a loss, so they hold steady.  But, as my brother reminded me, those who take risks during times of vulnerability are the ones who are most apt to see the greatest gains.  Without volatility, there is no opportunity.

“Well, there’s a new motto to live by!” I replied.  “Without volatility, there is no opportunity.”

While it is certainly true for those who venture in the stock market, it also rings true for the adventures of the spiritual life.  Everyday life is full of fluctuation and change.  But in those moments of real vulnerability (cancer diagnosis, a job loss, an untimely death, etc.), our tendency is to hold tight to what we already know.  And yet, these are the moments of greatest learning, the moments that hold the greatest potential for encounter with God.

This lesson was at the heart of my anxiety this weekend, as I discerned whether to venture further into a safe and easy new job opportunity; or whether to wait and risk something yet unknown.

Thanks for walking with me as I risk new adventures and wait upon the Lord.

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