Decisions are a part of life. We decide when to get up, what to eat, where to go, who to talk to and so much more daily. These decisions are often easy to make with little thought and minimal anxiety. However, a life changing decision can often be challenging, daunting and stressful, because of the impact this decision will have on our lives. For example, choosing where to go to university, where to settle and who to spend the rest of your life with can be a little more difficult than choosing your breakfast. However, it is exciting and thrilling to be able to make these decisions which have such a huge impact on our lives. It brings us so much joy and happiness especially when we feel we have made the right decision.
About a year ago, I decided to make a life changing decision of my own. I decided to change my career path from a Pharmacist to an Accountant. In this process God taught me many important lessons. Today, I would like to share some of those lessons with you. I hope that these stories may be able to help with whatever decision you may be facing today.
I can distinctly split my career change into 3 phases:
Before the Change
During the Change
After the Change
Let’s dig into what I have learnt from each stage.
Before the Change
I knew for a long time that I wanted to change the direction of my career. However, I also knew that the best decision for me was first to complete what I had started and then to change to something better suited for me. In this season I learnt practically what endurance and patience looked like.
“Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.”- Ecclesiastes 9:10
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters”- Colossians 3:23
These verses stayed with me during this phase. It didn’t matter that I was focused on changing my direction, I still knew that God had placed me in this pharmacy course for a reason. He had put people on my path for a purpose. So, I gave it my best. I was not the cleverest in my class and it felt significantly harder for me to grasp concepts which seemed straightforward to my peers. But I worked like I was working for God. I kept on going through the course, each year feeling more intense and impossible than the previous one. But each year we made it through.
There was not a moment wasted in this course. Even though it was not what I was planning to do for the rest of life I learnt so many invaluable skills, that I still use today in my personal and professional life.
Through the pre-registration year, I kept going. This was one of the hardest years I faced to date. The hospital learning environment can be intense to say the least. It is an environment filled with pressures on every side and the adrenaline is always pumping. The consequences of my actions were much greater here than when I was a student and I needed to be more diligent. I learnt how to be fully dependent on God during this time. Daily, I would ask Him to guide my actions, conversations and interactions with everyone I came across. Passing the pre-registration exam was the main focus of the pre-registration year.
As soon as the pre-registration exam results were released, I could hardly believe it, all I could do was thank God. I knew in that moment that it wasn’t me and I couldn’t have done it without Him. I also knew in this moment that it was time for me to finally make the change. This phase of my life was soon coming to an end.
During the Change
The time had come for me to start applying for jobs and I was excited. My first few applications were unsuccessful, but I was okay with this as I knew this was a rite of passage. If you are currently in the middle of applying to jobs and you keep on facing rejection, keep on going and don’t be discouraged, you will get there! All you need is just one “Yes”. With each application, I learnt from my mistakes and tried to do better in the next one.
Then one day I saw an advert for a finance position, I read the description and in that moment I knew. I knew this was the perfect one for me. The applications were opening in just a few days and I was beyond excited to begin. I talked to God in this time, I told Him how this was the one I wanted, I asked Him if it was right for me and I also asked Him to give me the peace and strength if the answer was “no”. I had also decided that if I did not get this offer, I would stay in Pharmacy for the foreseeable future waiting for God’s direction.
So, the application process began, and I progressed onto the next stage. Only four more stages to go and I was feeling optimistic. Next were the online tests, there were five of them. I would practice and pray before I started each one after work, and I felt like they were going really well. One day after work, I came home ready to do my test, as I logged and saw the screen my heart sank.
“Sorry you have been unsuccessful because you have not completed the tests in the designated time”.
I was shocked, “what designated time!?” I thought to myself, I was under the impression I had a full week. I had been so diligent, how had I missed this important information? I frantically looked through the website and there at the bottom it said, “once started the tests must be completed in three working days”.
I was so disappointed, and I knew I had no one else to blame but myself. I should have been more careful. In my well of tears I went on my knees. It was a short and simple prayer and went something like this:
“Abba….. you know how much I wanted this job, you know how long I have been waiting for this opportunity. I don’t know why this happened and I’m beyond upset, but I will accept whatever you give to me, if that’s pharmacy then that’s okay.”
I cannot fully describe the peace I felt, but in that moment, I was content to happily be a pharmacist for the rest of my life. God had closed the door.
When God closes a door, He is the only one who can open it again. A week later, while at work, I received an email out of the blue. It was regarding my application and as I clicked on it my jaw dropped.
It said “Dear Nomsa, we noticed you ran out of time with the online tests, we would like to offer you five more days from today to finish the remaining tests”. I would have screamed for joy but hesitated for fear of startling the patients. From this moment on I was certain God was directing my footsteps.
As I went through the rest of the application process, many more testimonies occurred that we will leave for another time. Meanwhile, I made a conscious effort to continue to do my best and have good relationships at work as I went for interviews, assessment centres and after I got the offer. I wanted my colleagues to remember me positively before I left so if they ever came across another Seventh Day Adventist Christian, they would be open to them. It is important to remember that wherever we are whether it is for a short or a long time we are witnesses for God.
After the Change
This new job has come with a lot of changes and new challenges. Skills I never had before now I am starting to cultivate and grow. Instead of advising on the side effects of Gentamicin, I am now reporting on financial budgets and analysing data. It is a different world. I am also studying even more than before, and I am coming to understand that learning and growth never stop. The character-building I gained in Phase 1 and 2 is now becoming useful in phase 3 and being added to daily. This is just the beginning of a big, exciting adventure and I am learning to keep on depending on God as my source of strength.
I am determined not to waste this opportunity. I don’t know where I will be tomorrow yet alone in 10 years time but I pray that wherever I am I will be a positive influence to those around me and that I will continue to demonstrate the love of God to all those I meet. There are moments when it is difficult, and I feel overwhelmed, but in these moments, I look back to see how God had led me, and my heart is filled my gratitude.
As you face decisions in your life, remember to take God with you. Ask Him for direction and trust Him completely. He loves you and will give you what is perfect for you. When God closes a door continue to trust in Him. When He opens a door, thank Him and walk through it. In the meantime, bloom where you are planted.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
About the Author
Hi guys, my name is Nomsa. I am currently working in the financial public sector and studying with CIPFA. Outside of work I aim to live life to the fullest and I am always on the lookout for an adventure.