Bigger & Better
There is a chapter in Love Does titled "Bigger and Better." It centers on Bob Goff's son going door-to-door, playing a game called "Bigger and Better." The goal of the game is to trade up each time you visit a new door. His son starts with a dime, trades at several doors, and ends up with a truck! (Yes, a real-life, motored, TRUCK).
This got me thinking: when in my life has the Lord said, "Selena, I have something bigger and better in mind."?
Well I came up with dozens of times, but I think this is one of the most powerful areas of evidence in my personal life of His bigger and better plan.
This year, the Lord took my heart obsessed with becoming a news reporter and turned it into a heart preparing for life in ministry work.
In high school, I was an anchor for our daily, live video newscast (TBT to Eagle Eye). For "Future Occupation Day" during Homecoming week, I dressed up as an E! News reporter because I aspired to work with Giuliana Rancic someday. My senior year, I interned for Richardson City Hall's television department and toured the WFAA - Channel 8 news studio.
High school me laying out future career paths for myself:
I came into college ready to jump into any opportunity that would set me on the path to a successful career in broadcast journalism. I used to be obsessed with the idea of working in New York City. Obsessed. I originally planned to graduate a year early to go intern in NYC for what would have been my senior year.
My logic: "Obviously I won't land my first post-grad job for the Today Show or a major news network in New York, but they MIGHT give me an internship."
However, as my final year at UT approached, I started fully taking into consideration what that life in broadcast would entail. Every time I sat down to make my pros/cons list, the cons far outweighed the pros.
The biggest pro stemmed from getting to live out my passion for storytelling.
Storytelling: something I have been doing since I was a wee gal. One time, when I was about six years old, my parents and I were driving back from San Antonio to Dallas. My mom let me ride shotgun next to my dad, who looked at me and said, "tell me a story."
So I did.
For the next FIVE hours.
I made up a story about a mother and her three children and took the story from the birth of the kids through adulthood and into their own separate story wings.
I grew up with a love of meeting new people, hearing their stories and sharing them with others. But for some reason, I thought I could only do that as a news reporter.
Last semester, I finally saw God had other intentions with my passion for storytelling.
The possibility of working with the For the City Network began as curiosity in my mind. One Saturday night last semester, I sat at my computer writing out a devotional to present for my “Presidential Address” at Phi Lamb meeting. I spoke about Peter walking out onto the water with Jesus and what it meant for me and how I desired for it to apply to Phi Lamb as a whole this year. I realized how passionately I wanted the girls in Phi Lamb to be transformed by scripture and how passionate I was about leading them. The more I wrote, the more I realized it was exactly the type of writing I did in my journal every day- I was just preparing to say it to 170 girls. The more I worked as an officer for Phi Lamb, the more I saw the joy I found in knowing that even in the business-y work like emails and event planning, we were doing ministry work for God’s kingdom. I began to wonder, “what would it look like for me to do this as my career?” I began thinking back on every experience the Lord has placed me in.
Check out this snowball effect:
If I hadn’t interned for NBC, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my internship with Make-A-Wish because my writing and social media experience was the main reason they hired me. If my mom was never diagnosed with breast cancer, I wouldn’t have been as passionate about looking into Make-A-Wish to begin with. If I never interned for Make-A-Wish, I wouldn’t have directly seen how powerful it is to hear and tell people’s life stories. If I had run away from running for president of Phi Lamb (which I definitely considered), I would have never sat at my computer writing out the devotional and seeing ministry as a potential career. I am still passionate about journalism, but all of these experiences have been a snowball effect, leading me to realize the Lord is calling me to use these storytelling skills to directly serve in ministry and non-profit work.
I started to pray about it, and I started asking people questions about ministry work. I remembered my Ignite co-chair partner currently interns for The Stone, so I googled “residency at The Austin Stone,” and from clicking around I came across LAUNCH and the residency program with the For the City Network.
What is the For the City Network's mission?
“The For the City Network maximizes and catalyzes individual community, and city restoration efforts. We do this by developing communities and connecting people, churches, and organizations – all for God’s glory.”
The For the City Network is the relationship builder between non-profits and churches.
"Our heart is to develop our volunteers’ and donors’ love for Jesus, and in turn, their love and discipleship of their neighbors, especially the marginalized. Our hope is that, in doing this, our volunteers and donors would invest their time and treasure in the vision of seeing our cities restored."
I thought to myself: "this is WONDERFUL! How can I be a part of this?"
Lo and behold, they had a position under "Storytelling/ Communications," and I immediately applied.
Every time I thought about jobs in the broadcast newsroom, or in newsprint writing, I had a sense of uneasiness, even though I thought that was my dream for so many years. When I thought about the possibility of working with the For the City Network or just working in ministry in general, for the first time ever, I wasn’t afraid.
There was an overwhelming sense of peace in moving in this direction.
A few days after my second interview with For the City, I received an offer letter.
Check out the job description:
Once I accepted the offer, I smiled to myself and thought: "it is now SO evident why God allowed me to have the very specific work experiences I had in the past few years."
It makes absolute sense. God was preparing me for this all along, and I was not even aware of it.
I called my dad shortly after receiving the offer and said, "Dad, how cool is it that I would get to be called a 'Storyteller' for my first full-time job?!"
He laughed and said, "I could've told you that would be your job when you were six years old!"
So, it is with absolute joy that I prepare to take on my first full-time job as a storytelling/ communications resident with the For the City Network in August.
In regards to my future in ministry, am I saying that I want to make podcasts, be a blogger, author Christian books…be a speaker at retreats? In all honesty, I’m not sure yet, but I do know that the Lord is calling me to use my passion for storytelling and my passion for the spiritual growth of individuals directly in ministry, and I think that this is a wonderful step in equipping me for a life in ministry.
This past summer I came across this verse in Exodus in 9:16
“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
The Lord has brought me through different circumstances and various seasons of life, always showing me His power in the midst. He’s shown me how He uses my life experiences to proclaim His name, and I’ve seen how God’s love is shown so powerfully in the personal stories of countless people I have come across.
The Lord is sovereign and has always and will always know the plans He has for me. I now see how He allowed me to pick up journalism skills along the way and pointed me in this direction. I see how He gave me a heart for people’s stories and now a heart to use that passion in ministry.
SUPER COOL GOD THING: I started writing this blog post before I was even offered the position with the For the City Network, and now I can say the Lord has shown me His bigger and better idea, and I can't imagine anything better :)
The salary for this role is entirely support-raised, which is such a cool reminder that I am not doing this alone- it really is a team effort. If you want to be a part of this ministry with me, and would like to provide financial support in any way, here is the link to give: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=a8b334
Thank you to all who have lifted me up in prayer in these past few months!!