Cleaning Out Dead Branches

Cleaning Out Dead Branches

Grapes on the Vine.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

— Psalm 23:1–3 KJV

Its been awhile since my last post. Since the blog is still trying to finding an audience, I figured no one would notice while I cleared out some dead branches wrapped in the vines. Still, I made a commitment to both God and myself about this site, so please accept my apologizes.

When this site went live last year, I had just been laid off from my SharePoint Administrator position. A position lasting over fifteen years. It was also the longest tenure of a long string of jobs, starting as a paper boy. I really enjoyed what I did every day. I will miss it and the people I worked with, especially the people.

Turns out I also like having a title after my name. It gives me security. For nine long months I did not realize I have been fighting myself and God to get it back.

The fight to get it back has been painful, not an actual job per say, but my identity. Employers were not stumbling over each other trying to hire me; what was wrong with them? Don’t they know how perfect I would be for their organization? Salt was added to the sores with the realization I was not even getting interviews from which to be turned down; what was wrong with me? There had to be! I was getting turned down based on a piece of paper. A piece of paper that felt like I had spent fifteen years developing, over and over again. Again, what was wrong with them?

Being your typical male, I did not stop there. Each month I reinvented myself through a new resume and approach that the previous month was missing—must have been missing since I still was not getting invited to even jobs where I was a perfect fit. Each month I became a new me, but the new me still had no interviews. So, the pain of my identity loss over those months grew and festered under my skin, never to see the light of day, but none the less powerfully impacting my life with each passing day. Let me be clear, I do mean identity loss. The pain of the job loss was also painful, but I mourned and got over it in about a month… really.

The loss of identity impacted these posts as well. I developed a form of writer’s block, not from a lack of things to write about, but that I would have to be honest with each of you and admit I was hurting. Keep in mind I did not know I was hurting, but my spirit knew and was safeguarding my soul.

While working to find that new identity, God too was working. He was there every day, whether it was the old or a possible new me that showed, at least He never changes. One way or another God met my family’s every need, bill, household expenses, and even most of my wants. I am blessed to say nine months later my family is still basically at zero debt. God has been faithful, maybe too faithful. His faithfulness is one of the reasons why my being able to deal and work through my identity loss has taken this long. After all, even with no job in sight, I was better off than most who were working hard to keep their existing jobs—by what right should I complain, much less feel mistreated in anyway?

Fast forward to the past few weeks. God has gracelessly given me this amount of time to help me realize how tired I was and continue to be. Tiredness I built up over years of working and tiredness working hard each day to find that new identity, just to be “me” again and start work life all over again. It took those months for God to minister to me that a job, any job, is not my identity. When you exhale carbon dioxide and suck fresh oxygen back into your lungs, it may give you life or even sustain life, but please do not think that is life, much less your life. It is what we do that breathe that defines who we are as individuals. For me, it turns out I had been sucking work in and out for so long I had forgotten who I was, or at least wanted to be. You might say I was burnt out. Well, you might. I never would admit that to you or even myself.

Have you ever looked at a dead branch, really looked? What you see was pretty much how I felt once I allowed myself to feel.

A few weeks back, God, who once again continues to take care of me, reminded me of Jesus’s words about how a branch dies once it becomes disconnected from the vine [John 15:5–8]. Which was kind of strange since I was spending more time than ever with Him since I had some open time on my calendar. However, while I may have been spending more time with God, I realize now that while my head was engaged, my heart was not.

In my quiet moments, I knew God’s desire for my future. I could hear it in my head and spirit, but my heart was not connecting. Somehow along the way it had twisted or snapped off from the vine and was left to beat on its own, without the life-giving nourishment that only the vine can offer. In my heart I was still working on finding a full-time job. I wanted to do my thing for a few more years before I started His thing. I wanted to do the things I have been doing for the past fifteen years, where I might add was safe. I want to earn a good salary, a good one like I had in the past. I want… . I WANT. Dang. That’s the problem with God, He’s always giving you the option to choose, and my choices are rarely the best. Reminds me of my good friend Jonah [Jonah 1:9-15 HCSB]. We often go out swimming with each other.

Like Jonah, I have always known what I had to do. I have simply been running away. If you will excuse me for a bit. I need to go clear out some dead branches that have been piling up. They’re becoming a fire hazard.

Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ,

Rob Nimchuk

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Rob Nimchuk


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