No, I was physically “smote by God.” But He did remind me that His ways are not necessarily mine.
You know I’m on the Search Committee to find a new rector for our parish. Right now we have two candidates that have expressed interest and yesterday we interviewed the first one. We have part two of her interview next Saturday, with lunch and a church tour. The other will be interviewed after the holidays if she is still interested.
When we first got the names, the deployment officer for the diocese really tried to sell us on the person we interviewed yesterday. She seemed to have an “agenda” and really pushed to have us interview this person. You can imagine my response to that. Yes, the brakes were jumped on and I worried that they would try to push us into something we didn’t want. Sure, interview her. The pool of priests looking for jobs is small in comparison to the number of openings. We can’t take a chance that we’d miss something good by refusing. But that yellow caution flag was waving in my face.
It kept waving in my face for weeks while we planned the interview questions and made arrangements. But I also kept praying for the ability to discern the right candidate for our parish. We do so need someone with the energy to grow our parish back to the lively place it was before our prior rector wore it down.
I went into yesterday’s interview with the plan to try to be open minded. The room we had finally secured was perfect. We had beverages and cheese, crackers and fruit for breaks.
As soon as I was introduced to the candidate, I liked her. Difficult to be “open-minded” when you like someone that quickly! But I was determined to really listen to the answers, not just pay attention to the personality or the “vibes.”
We interviewed this woman from 1 PM to 4 PM. We have many thought-provoking questions. In fact, I think she was impressed that we had done so much preparation for the process. Our questions were not generic and basic. They stemmed from our experiences over the past ten years in the parish.
Her answers were thoughtful and impressive. Mature. Intelligent. Funny.
What more do we need? I’m ready to hire her tomorrow. I felt the hand of God in this – slapping me in one of those “duh” kind of friendly swats. I should have had more faith that God wouldn’t send us anyone who would be detrimental to our parish again. Our bishop is a good bishop and he would never recommend someone for us if he didn’t believe he/she would be a good match for us. I should have known; I should have remembered.
But I confess that I let my self get in the way on this one. I based my reactions on my feelings instead of prayer and reflection. Gratefully, God has a “wicked” sense of humor and lots of patience. Gratefully, I took the time to let Him in.
Will we hire this woman? I can’t say at this time. We need to finish the interview and give the other candidate an opportunity to impress us as well. But I can say that I’ll try to remember this lesson in the future. I will say I’m getting a little faster at remembering to trust God and listen to him.
Sad, how sometimes it takes us so long to learn what really is in our best interests.