Last November my wife and I went on a short getaway to the Big Apple for our five-year anniversary. With two toddlers, demanding jobs, and extracurricular activities, our plates are constantly full. We needed time to talk. You know, talk.
Most of our conversation centered on my wife’s career. After weighing pros and cons, we decided that it was the right time for her to start her own business. We put a bow on that conversation and figured we’d taken care of our “big” adjustment for 2018.
A month later I received word that after 10 years in Bakersfield, I was being promoted to regional marketing director for Adventist Health Southern California. I accepted the role but decided not to move our family, requiring me to commute to Los Angeles three days a week.
My new role has been an emotional roller coaster.
My new role has been an emotional roller coaster. I’ve had to learn how to manage both people and projects remotely, earn the trust of three hospital executive teams, become comfortable never having a normal schedule, and learn where to find reliable Wi-Fi and vegan cuisine.
Most of all, I’ve had to navigate feelings of not really belonging. In my previous role I was a regular at events, a key liaison to local churches, and embedded in initiatives to engage more than 2,000 employees. Now I swoop in for strategic meetings, get my parking validated, and “zoom” through L.A. traffic to my next appointment.
I’m trying to excel in my new job, while still putting God, family, and church first.
Am I wasting my life? Is all this in vain?
Most of us have likely experienced similar feelings at some point in our lives, even when we believe we’re living in God’s will.
The stalwarts of the Bible felt like this too. Perhaps no human accomplished more than Moses. He served as a divine mouthpiece to liberate an entire nation; met with God on Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments; faithfully led grumbling Israelites to the threshold of the Promised Land. Whew.
Yet as Moses came to the end of his life, unable to enter the Promised Land, he was in a state of mournful reflection. According to Ellen White: “As Moses reviewed the result of his labors, his life of trial and sacrifice seemed to have been almost in vain.”*
Moses—the guy who marched uninvited into Pharaoh’s palace and parted the Red Sea—doubted that his time on earth had been put to good use.
Looking back, it’s easy to see the eternal impact of Moses’ earthly efforts. Yet his vision blurred in the waning moments of his life.
Maybe, like me, you’ve asked yourself: Why am I living in this town? What is the point of this job? How am I supposed to reach these people?
The usefulness of our lives isn’t based on how we feel in a given moment. Our only job is to “die daily” and allow Christ to use us wherever He puts us, because He sees things we can’t.
From His view, my life—and yours—is anything but wasted.
* Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890, 1908), p. 472.
Jimmy Phillips is regional marketing director for Adventist Health Southern California.