"You Know What to Do"

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"You Know What to Do"

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In July 1994, I moved out on my own for the first time. I'd gotten a job through a temporary agency working at American Express, and I relocated to a different city approximately an hour and a half from my parents' home. My first apartment was a studio apartment of approximately 500 square feet. The congregation I attended was wonderful, and I had lots of friends. Six to eight of them would often come to my apartment after church on the Sabbath. We all sat on my tiny couch or sprawled across the floor. Some of my new male friends saw that I was poor, and they regularly brought bags of groceries with them when they came over. It was the most wonderful experience! I had not had friends or good experiences in the Church in quite a while. So far, everything was going great! “Your job or your church” When I told the lady at the temporary agency that I needed time off to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, she initially didn't have a problem with it. But as the time approached, she said that I was not going to have that time off. When I pursued it further, explaining my need to go, she said, "You have to decide what is more important to you—your job or your church. " At age 21, I'd never come across this problem before. All I could think of was my rent, my utility bills and my car payment. I wasn't earning that much, and money was tight. I decided to wait until the day before my mother and I were to leave for the Feast and then let the lady at the temporary agency know my decision. In the meantime I counseled with one of my ministers, who suggested I speak with a friend of his who happened to be in management at American Express. I called this gentleman, and he said, "You do what you're supposed to do and go to the Feast, and when you come back, go to [a different] temporary agency. Don't worry about it! You'll have a job when you get back." But I did worry about it! I was worried that this was going to be the end of my life on my own. I spoke with another minister in my congregation, and I was very upset and crying. Having been recently baptized, I was afraid that I was failing God as well as failing in my career. He simply said, "Larissa, you know what to do." Those words were amazingly simple, yet applying them was difficult. The day before I left for the Feast, the lady from the temporary agency and her supervisor happened to be visiting my department. I asked if I could speak with them. We went into a conference room, and I reminded the lady of what she had told me about choosing my church or my job. When I did this, her supervisor looked horrified! I continued, "This is why I've waited until today to let you know I'm leaving for my church convention tomorrow, and I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to have worked here." Her supervisor started stumbling all over his words. She looked like she was going to faint. I got up and went back to my desk, collected my things and left. Although it was a very liberating experience because I knew I was doing what was right in God's eyes, I still had lots of worries about what was going to come of my independence. I knew my parents would help me out, but after all, I was supposed to be on my own, and now it seemed that I was failing. The Feast of Tabernacles that year was wonderful, yet I was still under a lot of stress worrying about my future. It really hit me on the Last Great Day. I had a headache and a huge lump in my throat much of the day. I hurt all over. All I could think of was losing my apartment and having to move back home after a few short months. As my mother and I drove home to my apartment after services that afternoon, all I could think of was that I was a failure. After the Feast The next morning I got up and went to the temporary agency I'd been told to contact. By mid-morning I had a better position in a different building at American Express for $2 more an hour than I had previously been earning. All I could think of was that if I'd known everything was going to work out so nicely, I would have had a better Feast! My blessings with American Express continued. Three months later, I was hired permanently. The following year my supervisor told me that she discovered that I was hired at a much lower rate than I should have been, so I was given a $5,000 annual raise. And during each successive year the company gave me 40 hours of job-related training. Similar problem, different solution Since then, I've not had problems with the Feast—ever! This last year, however, I had problems getting off for the Sabbath in a totally different career. The problems were still stressful, and I worried a little. However, I knew God was going to take care of me—even if it meant losing my job. The resolution to this most recent job problem was a most wonderful event—God blessed me with a husband, and I had to move to a different state! This time it was a delight to give my two weeks' notice. Although working through job problems can be extremely stressful, and we may not always retain our jobs, I have learned that God will make things work out if we do what He commands us to do. VT