A big floodlight almost blinds me preceded by thunder that leaves a piercing endless hum in my ears. Between being deaf and blind I cannot tell who he/she is. The clouds tear apart and he… oh it’s a he, he descends in all his glory to reveal thick brown hair and blue eyes, a white robe and Maasai sandals. We call them ‘akala’ in Kenya. He walks towards me to trumpets playing behind the fog. He gets to where I am and bellows, ‘Leave your job’.
I feel like that is what comes to mind when you tell people that God told you to quit your job. A couple of weeks ago I came across a post on my timeline where there was a question about people who get the conviction to leave their job from God. Depending on your head space there were only two ways to interpret it; mockery or genuine interest. At the time I felt the urge to respond in haste and let them know that God’s instructions are followed by a blueprint that may not be as clear at first but that is where the Holy Spirit comes in as a guide. I figured a spat might ensue due to the pseudo urgency that comes with a comment notification. Afterwards I prayed for guidance to answer that question so here goes.
August 2016 checks in and we are in the middle of a shoot for a client. I am a little green in directing so I request the CEO to bring someone to help me out. Ian Jege, a creative director whose desk I now sit at comes in and does the whole production with enviable ease. After the shoot I engage him in small talk and the idea of wanting to live a meaningful life comes up. Running his own agency now, he regales me with the horrific and scary tales of many nights spent drafting proposals, cold calls and pitches. All this is not told from a point of despair but from a joy that comes with age, experience and finally settling into your own.
What he does not know in this moment is that I have been questioning my position at the company and contribution to the world in general. Insomnia courts me and while on many nights she reminds me of what I wanted to do as a ten year old. It is not copy writing. As I pray each day to God and ask for a good and fruitful week, my conscience laughs at me because of the lies I tell her. Fear gawks and reminds me that I am a coward for sitting at this desk banking on the monthly cheque.
I try coming in early, literally first to switch on the dispenser and last to turn off the Wi-Fi on my way out. It gives me some sense of importance. Ha! Lies straight from the enemy. Then the cheques become scarce. Maybe I need to work harder. I pitch ideas to everyone and pursue them. All the while the team is getting tired. I can see it in their eyes. I set out to be the happiness fairy. Soon my wings are faulty and my shoulders crouch. I am exhausted.
Come November the ship is too rocky. Some of us are all holding on to its sides while the rest of us are emptying the water that might sink us with cups. Just like the Titanic, this ship will sink may be not today but it will. Even in this instance I am not shaken by the tragedy that awaits. I am busy working on what to do once I get to the other side.
I will quit in January. That way I will cover my costs till June. By then surely I will have a plan. I tell myself.
In January we attend our annual retreat and we are asked to state what we hope to achieve this year. Without batting my lashes I say, ‘pursue my purpose with excellence.’ That should be a motivational book. Last week of January, my body and mind take the beating and by mid-February I am in my mother’s house bed-rid…actually couch ridden throwing up some green stuff and sweating like a pig. My sweat stinks of antibiotics. Let me admit something about those two weeks. I was in a lot of physical pain. A lot. Spiritually though I was like butterflies, peaches and cream. I was so calm. I remembered prayers I had made as a child, how I played with other children, how I had no care in the world. Then I hear it ‘Leave your job now.’
Clear as day. I dismiss it as hallucinations from the painkillers. The doctor had mentioned that would be one of the effects. Then it comes again and again. I type the resignation letter as soon as I get well and save it in my drafts. I go back to work and continued to be a rock star to a dying audience. Come April we are barely gasping for air and by May we drown. Cue in Sia’s ‘And another one bites the dust…” I take my annual leave and move back home, spend quality time with those who matter and I even meet someone during that time. He is a gem. After the break I come back and after a heart to heart with the CEO, it’s a wrap.
I skip out of the office and tell the Universe, take me. Here is what nobody tells you. When you first leave your job, you are happy, try all the recipes, call your friends, watch all the shows, and read two books a week. You live. Then after a month, your phone stops ringing, the days become longer, dogs are not as exciting anymore, routine checks in and you wake up and figure you are now a stay at home daughter.
I thought you said God told you to do this? Stay with me.
I go back to everything I have wanted to do. First step this blog. Two weeks of research, another fortnight in finalizing the concept, another month spent in designing and tweaking the site. Two months later we have a blog. Done. Next auditions. I am picked on the first one. In my mind I can’t believe how good God is. I mean all the pieces are coming together. ‘That’s my kinda God!’ Then I get on set and the role is not mine anymore (story for another day). I call my mum and break the news. She is sadder than I am. Props to my tiger mom. She bears the crazy roller coaster that comes with auditions, confirmations, rejections, delayed shoots, ghosting producers and happy projects. All of it. Then came the elections and suddenly everything stagnates and people begin to NASA and others go ndaaaaaaniiiiii.
Four months down the line I start to doubt God. This was supposed to be an out of the frying pan into the cruise ship situation. The one thing that remains constant, God continuously asks me to prepare, keep my head down and work on my character. I spend a good time in his word and prayer. In each quiet session he affirms everything he has spoken and he is quick to remind me what my role is. Of course procrastination continues to seduce me. Deep down however I know I must work. I do. I still am.
As I write this I just came from an audition that required me to cry. I promise you I left my heart there. Maybe it was me leaving my fears, anxieties and uncertainties for the casting director to do with them as he wishes. It is the third audition this week. I easily do two to three a week. With each my mum wishes me the best and says a prayer.
Something else happens, my Vlog is up. I enjoy myself probably more than I should. Everyone I ask for a favour does it without thinking about it. There is no, ‘Let me check my schedule, I’ll let you know, I am not too sure, Let me call you back,’ nothing. Everybody happily helps me. Things fall into place. At the end of a shoot day I want to stay in bed and not leave. The next day I wake up and create. It is work. Did God ask me to quit my job to script, Vlog and blog?
I wish he was that clear.
I am a storyteller who seeks to make the world better with each creation. Right now it’s my Vlog, blog and social media. My platforms bring me so much joy. I am constantly creating sometimes during conversations. I am working towards a greater goal and though I do not have all the pieces, I know I am on my way there. Of course, I would like to brunch every Sunday, attend every Koroga concert, take my mum on a bountiful safari, and shop at Backyard without looking at the tags and save more with my Sacco. However, I know that is not possible and being as frugal as I am I will get the early bird ticket, book a Christmas holiday during Easter, wait for a shoe sale and save before the 15th of the month to avoid a penalty.
God can and does ask people to leave jobs (and many other things). It is not so that He can whisk you for a holiday and present you with a kingdom to rule. No. He will isolate you, mould you, convict you, encourage you, give you tasks, grow you and then elevate you. My friend it is a lot of work that looks like madness from the outside. If someone quits and then binge watches Netflix while making a bum dent on the couch waiting on God, that is questionable. For the first month, yes. We all need to lick our wounds. Soon however God will get you to work and lead you through it all. I have never doubted the greatness instilled in me by God. Depression and fear kick my ass and I often fail then I remember;
“Though he fall, he shall not be cast down For the Lord upholds Him with His hands.” Psalms 37:24
That verse gets me up. I know it will take a minute, probably a decade, maybe two to get to a place where I will look back and say ‘hey God we did good.’
Something else, you will know them by their fruits. What is the process of a seed turning into a fruit? Seed, roots, seedling, birds pick at the leaves, you pitch up a hideous scarecrow, water it, care for it, soon not even the heavy Nairobi rains can shake it, the leaves broaden, the flower appear as colourful spots, pollination, seasons later the flower flourishes so and so forth. It takes time. While I am eager to see the fruit, I am thoroughly enjoying the process.
To the person who God has spoken to but you are still worried about status and bills, feel the fear but do it anyway.
“People say three years is a long time to build a business but they will stay at a job they hate for two decades” – Anonymous