Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Well, of course this blog is all about change. And let me start by telling you I’ve had a love-hate relationship with change. I’m guessing that I probably “enjoy” change more than most people, partly because of my personality (I get bored rather easily). But also because I’ve discovered that, as I’ve discussed elsewhere in this blog, when a significant change occurs in our lives, even if it seems unwelcome at the time, it typically ends up transforming us in great ways … if we let it!

The Bible assures us that change is good, and that everything that happens to us (if we love God and are called according to His purposes) works for our good. Therefore, we shouldn’t fear change at all, should we? But, we still do. We’re human, and change is risky, and invokes fears of what might happen in the future.

Well, it’s happened again! There’s been a big change in my life, and it’s one I really wasn’t looking for. Several months back, a former colleague and manager whom I’ve had a great relationship sent me a link to a job posting with the international office of World Vision, the organization I spent nearly 25 years of my professional life working for (not the International office, but the U.S. office, currently based here in Federal Way, Washington. We have several international offices, including one in Southern California where I first began my career with World Vision; but the main one is now in London).

And no, I’m not moving to London. (As far as I know!) But anyway, at first I politely ignored this colleague. After all, I had just decided (after applying for numerous jobs, and none of them working out) that I was actually quite happy doing what I was doing. I was doing four very different things, all part-time (writing, tutoring for our local school district, mushroom hunting, and driving) and was really enjoying the combination. The pay wasn’t great, but pay really isn’t an issue for us at this point in our lives anyway. I love variety, and flexibility, and freedom, and this situation pretty much gave me that stuff. It didn’t seem broke, so why fix it?

So, I politely ignored my friend who sent me the link, replying with a note something along the lines of “Thanks! I’ll check it out.” (I didn’t lie … I DID check it out. I read the job description. But of course I didn’t bother applying.)

So, several weeks later, my friend contacts me again. “Ummm,” she said, “I’m not sure how to tell you this exactly … but they are kind of waiting for you to apply!” Thus she (very politely) told me to get my butt in gear and get my application in there.

I’ve had similar situations in the past with this friend. The first time I applied to World Vision, she was the one who interviewed me. After something like seven separate interviews, she offered me the job … then I told her the truth, that I really wasn’t sure I wanted it!

“What do you need to make a decision?” she asked.

“I need to pray about it,” I hedged.

“You have the weekend. Start praying,” she said. It was a Friday, and she wanted an answer by Monday.

So, I did what she advised. I prayed, and I heard God say, “Give this a chance. I have a plan for you.” And thus began my 23-year “second” career with World Vision (the first time, I spent two years there in the Monrovia office in the early ’80s, which ended on a somewhat negative note, which was why I was reluctant to return. More on that in another blog post). And this 23-year stint was a fantastic experience, in so many ways. What a blessing! I’m so glad for the Lord’s direction in my life. On my own, I don’t think it would have ever happened.

But it was scary. Change. BIG change!

And such changes have happened periodically throughout my career. Once (a year or two after I started the internet program at World Vision U.S. in April 1997) there was a bit of a “coup” of sorts (while my manager was out of town), and the whole operation was shifted (by a new VP, Atul Tandon, whom I later grew to have huge respect for) over to an entirely different department. My first manager there in Marketing told me her goal was to get rid of me and give the whole internet operation to an agency.

Surprisingly, she wasn’t successful, and eventually changed her mind. But it was a rough start with a new boss, let me tell you! Not to mention the fact that there were a few people in the organization (one at the vice-presidential level) who seemed to believe the internet was evil and did all they could to try and stop the forward progress.

Another time, I actually received a “pink slip” when the department I was working for was terminated. But I quickly discovered that the next assignment was something God had prepared for me to do, and it was so much better than what I was leaving behind.

So it has gone. Each time I’ve experienced a major change, I’ve discovered God had a plan for something better. And so it was in August 2016, when I was laid off of World Vision. I was actually excited about that, which everyone else seemed to find kind of weird, but it was because I believed God had something far better for the next phase of my life.

And hence my reluctance to commit, when after a great set of interviews I was offered a one-year contract with World Vision International’s Global Communications Centre! But as I met the team and learned what I would be doing, I began to get excited about this new opportunity.

In many ways, it is coming full circle from where I started (the second time) with World Vision in 1994. I will be writing, and I love writing. But this time I will be working with international leadership, something I’ve never done before, and I’m very excited about that. I’ll be hosting a monthly webcast for World Vision leadership, and working on several digital newsletters, and other ad-hoc projects. And it’s part-time (30 hours/week) which is also very good for my life and where I am right now.

Anyway, I do intend to continue working on this blog (which I originally started at the urging of several colleagues as a way to eventually provide resources for my memoirs) as time permits, so this certainly isn’t the end! God has better and better things in store. Embrace the change!

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