I was a new college graduate. I had put in hours of work studying for tests I’d never have to take again, writing papers only one person would ever read, and reading books I hadn’t chosen on my own. But I had made it! I was finally finished. And I was out to conquer the world.
Hopeful and motivated, I applied for several positions in several different fields. I had a résumé for each application, and the confidence to go with them that I’d be offered several different jobs. I was anticipating my biggest problem would be narrowing my choice down to one. This being a professional thing is easy!
And then it started happening. One by one, all of my opportunities began to fade and the doors began to shut. Previously guaranteed offers were unavailable. Internships that were in the bag suddenly broke through the bottom and hit the floor. Humbled and my expectations and standards dramatically lowered, I applied for any job I could find, in the paper or on Craigslist. And yet, still nothing.
Broken, I turned to God angry. I had made so many sacrifices for Him! I had attended Christian college, played soccer at a smaller university in order to get a Bible degree, and didn’t even get more than one tattoo. I had made some serious sacrifices for the Kingdom, #sarcasm. In my emptiness and loneliness, God reminded me of the prayer I had been praying for the past several years: “God I don’t know what you want me to do with my life and I don’t know what my purpose is here, but I’m willing to follow your will for my life.”
Here’s where my prayer became a little unordinary, but bluntly honest: “God I’m not so smart when it comes to things like hearing your voice or determining your will. I’m actually quite dumb. I’m a soccer jock who doesn’t know ancient languages like Hebrew or what ‘speaking in tongues’ really even means. But I am willing; willing to do anything you put in front me. God – make it so obvious to me that I can’t miss it, and I’ll do whatever you want. Here I am. Send me.”
Make it so obvious to me that I can’t miss it.
I had forgotten about that part.
In order for God to make it so obvious to me, He was going to have to shut all the other doors in front of me so only one remained. I mean I asked Him to leave only one door left, talk about obvious. But as this process happened, it was much more painful that I ever imagined. Talk about painful. After a month of being shut down, rejected, and terribly insecure, I needed something to happen. And a new opportunity arose.
I remember the day I received an email from Central, a church out in Arizona, about a possible position as a Grades 4-6 Director. Growing up and living in Ohio, I had never been to Arizona. In fact, I don’t even think I could place it on a map accurately and name three cities in the state. What was even more bewildering was how these people even knew who I was (I later found out a previous college soccer coach of mine used to attend the church, and had sent in my resume to them on my behalf, but that’s another story). I also had never had a desire to work at a church in any capacity. I mean sure, I had worked with lots of kids teaching them the basics of soccer, but never hundreds of kids teaching them about Jesus. Now I was going to try and do it full time, and at a church? That idea seemed a little farfetched for me to really take seriously, and really too scary if I can be Frank. But I was Kevin, and Kevin always liked to do things that scared him. So I contacted them back.
Over time, things started to progress through emails and phone calls, and I agreed to go out and visit the church for an interview. I’d have to get on a plane and go someplace by myself I’d never been before. I’d have to teach on a Sunday morning in a church’s normal weekend programming, and I had never done that before either. And there were scorpions. Lots of them. Oh, did I watch the YouTube videos on those bad boys. This idea of going to Arizona was crazy, what was I thinking?
At this point in the process, I knew that there was a chance that maybe this interview was going to be different than the other dozens of interviews I had been to previously. With all of the crazy unlikely connections that had taken place so far, I still needed more confirmation from God that this was it. But I needed a sign. I needed Him to make it so obvious to me that I couldn’t miss it. It needed to be something that convinced me to pick up everything I had and leave my family, my best friends, my church, my dog and my comfort. This job was going to be life changing and I needed confirmation that would be clear. But how?
The night before I left, I shared with my family that I would be praying over a specific word. I was going to pray over this word the whole weekend, and if this word was said or heard in a big way, that would be my confirmation. I actually didn’t really know what to expect this to look like, but I chose the word, ”adventure” from my time exploring the forest as a child and getting lost on vacations wandering off alone. The word kind of defined me.
Upon my arrival, I got the chance to meet the Children’s Pastor, who would be interviewing me that weekend. Before we did anything, he took me straight to In-N-Out to tell me the plans for the weekend. He knew the key to my heart. When we arrived at the church, I’ll never forget this, we walked into the children’s building and there it was: the logo. A huge sign that read, “Children’s Xpedition: “Taking Children on an Adventure in God’s Word.” I couldn’t believe it. The pastor then went on to explain to me that it was the goal of their children’s ministry to take each child on an adventure in God’s Word. Then as the weekend went on, I met a lot of people who used “adventure” in their vocabulary. From describing what my job would be like working at the church, to taking hundreds of kids to summer camp, to even moving out to Arizona without knowing anyone, they said “adventure” more times than I can count.
Ok God, you got me.
I took the job and my life has been an adventure since. I truly believe God closed all the other doors so that only one remained for me to take. He made it so obvious to me that I couldn’t miss it, and then made it obvious some more, and some more. All I had to do was be obedient. That prayer of “make it so obvious to me that I can’t miss it” changed the course of my life, and I continue to implement it in my daily walk.
So. What are you praying for right now? Have you experienced anything like I did with the word “adventure”? What would happen in your life if you prayed for God to “make it so obvious to you that you can’t miss it”?
“Who you become is determined by how you pray.” – Mark Batterson