One Year Down

I’ve officially been at my job an entire year.

This is a blessing. Work is a blessing. And yet, it is truly not without difficulty. This has been an incredibly difficult and trying year. I’ve prayed more and cried more than I have at any other time in my life. There have been many days when I didn’t know if I could keep going or if I should.

And yet, in spite of the brokenness of sinful people working in offices marred by sin, God has been so near. He has brought people around me to encourage me and pray for me and love me on even the worst of days. He has encouraged me to work in honorable ways and love even the hardest to love. I don’t pretend like I’ve done this perfectly or even very well this year, but by God’s grace I’ve tried.

Many days, I’ve thought about the verses of this song

Oh God, you never leave my side – Your love will stand firm for all my life.

Thankful for this truth. Thankful for this year. Thankful that my God has not left my side and will not leave me in the year to come.

“I repent of living like I deserve anything”

Every single day I hear the same words from the same person at work.

Deserve. Owed. Entitled. 

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

So much of American culture is wrapped into the idea that we are owed the things we want. The American dream is what we were promised and we should get every bit of it. When we see injustice we want it corrected instantly.

Some of this is of great good. It creates people passionate about the rights of others. People fighting for the end of abuse, slavery, poverty. We see that others basic need are not meant and we want that injustice to end.

Some of this is of no good. These ideas can also lead to thinking we’re owed every pleasure. We’re owed more vacation time,  more money,  more freedom. You get the idea.

As an American I live one of the most privileged lives and yet I can be tempted to think I deserve more. I deserve better. How false. How easy these lies are to believe. I work hard to reject this notion both in my thought and my actions.

I know I am owed very little. Yet, I have been blessed with riches beyond compare. Yes, the work is hard and the days are long, but great mercy has been bestowed to me.

The Green Coffee Giant

Friday, my husband put in his notice of resignation from his job at the big, green coffee giant. He’s worked there just shy of 7 years. It was a big day. It was an even bigger day since right after he quit, he got a new job at a local school.

But, the coffee giant has been so good to our family. We might make fun of it for being super corporate or for not having the kind of coffee we prefer these days (although it certainly does have some coffee we’d drink happily) but we have loved this company so much. It is truly a great company.

In the span of time my husband has worked for this company I have worked for 5 other companies. (I know!) Only one of these companies were nearly comparable to the behemoth size of the coffee giant, but none of these companies compared in their treatment of employees. The coffee giant is so good to their  employees. I can’t say that highly enough. That job has been the biggest blessing to our little family over the last 4 years and I don’t know what we would have done without them.

Sure, I’m looking forward to having a husband that doesn’t fall asleep at 8:45, but all I can express is gratitude to a great company who is beholden to stockholders but is still doing the right thing for its employees.

I will miss the perks but I am so excited to have a well rested husband who now gets the weekends mostly off. Here’s to new beginnings in 2014!

Dealing with difficulty

I’ve been struggling this week with dealing with difficult people.  They type of person that takes out their personal problems and/or bad mood on everyone around them. They type of person that you have to walk on eggshells around them when you assess that they’re having a bad day – you sink down, stay low and silent.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with this type of anger. It’s frustrating for me. It reminds me a lot of my childhood, which is even more unfortunate. Now, as an adult I’m trying to look at this type of frustrating person differently than I would have as a kid or teen.

How do you love someone in that position? I don’t have the answers yet. My gut reaction is to pray that they’ll change their behavior because that would be easier for me, but is that the right way to respond? I’m not sure. It seems selfish. This type of person isn’t looking for someone to listen to – just a punching bag.  Being that seems wrong on other levels, but how do you love them – acknowledging their frustration is real.

This is a bit of a ramble. I don’t have the answers yet, but I know that I want to be thoughtful in my actions and response.

Work, work, work

I loved reading this article recently. I’d highly recommend it.  It really met me in the state of my life right now – struggling with work.

I often forget to see how God is at work in my work. I need to be reminded of it constantly or else I start to get weighed down by the futility of it all.

I often forget that I am a missionary at my job. The conversations I have with my co-workers shouldn’t be taken lightly, but I don’t really think I’m there for the sole purpose of ministering to these people because God created me for work.

Tim Keller talks about how God created us for work and I fail to see how God created me for this job in this season fairly regularly.

One of the most pressing thing this article reminded me of was this:

“Remember this is only for a season”

I forget this all the time. It feels like this in-between season will never end, but I know it will and like the guy in this article, I might even look back on this time fondly.

Happy Friday!

Working it Out

I’m reading Timothy Keller’s newish book on work, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. I’d highly recommend you read it ASAP.

It’s probably the hardest book to read when you’re struggling with work like I am. I am so thankful I have a job at all. I know that this is something to praise God for. So many people my age are without and living at home. I’m absolutely blessed to have a job at all – even if it is extremely discouraging, often pointless and thankless. Even when my soul cries out for justice in an unjust environment, I need to remember that justice is not the answer. Timothy Keller talks about these things as the product of the fall in work. This is not how work was meant to be, but it is how work is because of sin. I need to remember this and fight against it. (Side note: I’m still reading the redemption part of this book so I’m hoping to learn much more.)

This is where God has placed me. I think so I’ll start to learn that I am not my job. In a culture, that values work above all else it’s hard to see that. It’s easy to succumb to the idea that you are your job, that if you don’t really know what kind of job you’re perfect for you have somehow missed out on something huge. It’s so easy to get bogged down at parties or while meeting new people really anywhere with that one question, “Oh, and what do you do?” And by that we all mean “what’s your occupation?” If we actually answered that question at face value, we might actually get into more interesting conversations, but I digress.

I was created to work by a Creator who loves work and creation. Maybe one day I’ll know what kind of work that I was created for. I’ve always thought I needed a job that really helped individuals and the more I’ve been thinking about graduate school vs. not vs. the world of endless possibilities I’ve come to realize that my unsatisfied feeling at many of my jobs stems from the lack of help I’ve been able to provide to individuals. Sure, I’ve helped companies and different organizations and sometimes people within those organizations, but never really tangibly helped or encouraged or motivated individuals. I think I need to start moving in that direction.  Any ideas? I’m wide open for suggestions.

I think in all of it: good days and bad, I’m really just constantly learning to trust God more. To really believe He’s at work in my life and to trust that His word is true.