The story goes like this. Jonah has a job to do for God, but he doesn’t like it. The people of Nineveh were a raucous group, not following God, not caring about His precepts. To Jonah’s mind, they weren’t worthy of his valuable prophet time, and certainly not of God’s message of saving power.
Jonah hops a ship headed to Tashish, which is located on the exact other side of the known world from Nineveh. He figures if he got far away, God would forget the order. But the ship is beset by a horrible storm, and all on board were in danger of dying. When questioned, Jonah admits that he is likely the reason for the tempest, as God is not amused with his flight. He jumps overboard, and the storm calms, the other sailors going happily on their way.
You know the part about the whale. Jonah spend some quiet time digesting (sorry, couldn’t resist) what God had told him; and when he finally submits to God’s will, he is spit up on a beach, and heads for Nineveh to preach. But he still goes reluctantly, and when they accept his message and repent, he is even more ticked off. After all, they were sinners, and not worthy of God, or God’s prophet.
I knew for some time that I was supposed to be leaving my real estate company. It was more than just unhappiness at the job, it was a deep seated knowledge that being there was keeping me from God’s plan. But I was scared to leave, so I stayed on a ship heading in the wrong direction. Friends praying for me were all saying the same thing – “Why are you staying? You are being called out!”
The last three months at the company were emotionally and professionally draining. While the Sarasota market roared back to life around us, we were dead. Although we are #3 on Google for “Sarasota Real Estate”, we got no calls. Everyone was dumbfounded, but me. In my heart, I knew I was the cause of the tempest. I quit my position, and said (prophetically, I might add) “As soon as I jump ship, your business will boom. God is holding it back to make me leave”. My boss, an atheist, thought I was having one of my crazy episodes. But I knew it was true. Over the next week I saw that company schedule 10 new clients coming to town. They were out of the storm.
Me? I was headed for my whale.
Sitting in the belly of the whale, I know one thing more clearly with every passing second. That marketing job I coveted so much, that eluded me for 8 years, continues to elude me. Nothing feels right. Nothing “fits”. For lack of a better explanation, all of my hard work seems to be divinely sabotaged. The job I desired for so long is quickly losing its luster. It hasn’t been fun. Not at all. I have been crying out to God to show me the perfect marketing gig…
But today it finally hit me – marketing is my Tashish. It is where I prefer to go. Real estate is my Nineveh.
I don’t like real estate agents, nor am I a huge fan of selling real estate. Admitting you are a real estate agent in public is akin to admitting to being a used car salesman or malpractice lawyer. Although there are a few great people in the business, most are self-centered, dog-eat-dog people – necessity for survival in a tough business, they will tell you. Sorry to offend, but over 8 years, I simply struggled with the attitudes of many in the field.
I wanted to go back to MY favorite place, marketing. It was a world away from this undesirable place filled with people I couldn’t identify with. Surely God had better people for me to spend my time with…
But you cannot avoid Nineveh when you are called to Nineveh. Jump a ship, become a jalapeno popper for a whale, lie on a beach – God will still bring you to Nineveh if that’s where the message needs to be.
A few years ago, at His leading I wrote a business plan for my own brokerage, one that will break the mold of traditional real estate and bring the values of Christ front and center. It’s what He is asking me to do. What had been a nagging suspicion exploded into reality today with one perfectly timed phone call.
It was like being spit from the whale.
Nineveh was transformed by God’s message, even when the words came out of the mouth of a reluctant messenger. I have to go to my Nineveh so He can do the same again. My only prayer now is that He soften my heart, so that I do not go reluctantly. Although its not where I expected to end up, for the first time in months I feel like my spirit is back on course.
Oddly enough, it fits.