Soul Food

Ever have one of those weeks when you question everything? When it seems like you work hard and accomplish absolutely nothing? Like nothing you do matters? Last week, I felt that way.

I’ve been working at my job for just over six months now. Most days I like it; I get paid to shoot and edit videos at a university. Pretty cool! But when there’s a slow period and I don’t have a lot of work to do, I just feel like I’m taking up space. It feels like I’m letting everyone down and not meeting expectations.

But then Monday came, and projects got rolling again. We had our weekly staff meeting, and I was so encouraged by it. Turns out the only expectations I’m not meeting … are my own. I expect too much of myself and when I don’t meet my (unrealistic) expectations I beat myself up and feel like a failure. Turns out I work with a team of people who feel otherwise – which really improved my outlook and productivity this week.

Last week was also the final week to prepare for the VBS dramas I was asked to lead for church. Since this was our first year being involved in VBS, I had no point of reference to compare to. I didn’t know of our rehearsals were right on track, or if we were way behind. The scripts were entirely too complicated and confusing for children, so that was making it hard for people to memorize their lines. But Sunday’s dress rehearsal was hard for me. I felt like everything should have easily clicked into place, but last minute an actor dropped out – which totally altered everything we’d been working toward.

Even though Sunday’s rehearsal felt like a failure, the team brought their best each night. And midway through the week, I was encouraged by a cast member who told me I had done an excellent job leading this year. I’m relieved to have this experience behind me … and I know that if I’m involved next year, there are some things we can learn from this year.

To top it all off, I got an encouraging e-mail from a former supervisor thanking me for excellent work I had done for them last year. It was very out of the blue, but reminded me that I have and CAN be successful … even on weeks when I feel like a failure.

Thanks to all who encouraged me last week … whether you knew it or not. And hey … if you haven’t encouraged someone lately, why don’t you? It could never hurt … and you just might make someone’s week a little better.

Advertisements

Waiting … Wishing … Hoping … Praying

Sometimes waiting is great. Time gives you a chance to anticipate what is to come. Waiting for a wedding date, a baby’s due date, an exciting celebration.

But then you experience “indefinitely.”

We recently moved to a new area. Jonathan was offered a new job opportunity, and the proximity to a major metropolis gave me hope that I could find a job in my field. I found a job I’m qualified for. We decided to buy a house because surprisingly the rental market was far out of our budget. We found a house and our offer was accepted.

And now we wait.

We wait for the bank to make decisions about our loan, for the seller to make decisions about how they are going to proceed with issues, to hear any details from our realtor. And they need nothing from us, we have no say in the decisions being made, and no idea when we might be able to move in. At this point I’ll be happy if it’s before Thanksgiving.

And I continue to send my resume to an employer looking for a candidate with my experience. An open position that’s been available for 5+ months. But I keep waiting. And trying to fill my days while my skills get rusty.

I’m tired. I’m anxious. I’m trying to be patient. I keep hoping if I tell God that I understand what He’s trying to teach me through this time that He’ll bring it to an end. But each new Sunday starts another week of waiting, and it all starts over.

Quitting

There are some days I just want to quit being an adult. I see pictures of a time when life was simpler. When I didn’t have to work 40 hours a week, or make sure bills get paid on time. When I didn’t have to think of another person’s well being all the time, or do dishes before going to work.

There was a time when even when things were challenging I wanted to keep going. I had a drive to push myself and accomplish something great because I could see an end in sight. College and even high school were marked with milestones built in to reset the excitement clock. Christmas break, final exams, summer break, school starting back up … and even more major, graduation. All that time I was working toward something — whether it was finishing a big project, completing a major week of TV productions, or writing a research paper — each task came with a crescendo and conclusion.

The truth is, it’s harder to find those milestones in adult life. Daily responsibilities become routine, a desk job becomes a way to spend time, evenings mush together with nothing to do in a small town but stay at home, and the next “big milestone” is having kids. The questions I keep asking myself are, “what am I looking forward to?” “what’s next?” and “what can I do so my life doesn’t become stagnant?”

Not an easy question to answer. It’s even harder when there are obstacles in the way of the things I actually want to achieve. Time, commitment, my conscience, unfounded guilt and fear. Opportunity presents itself and I’m anxiously waiting for God to give me a clear yes or no. I found comfort in the lyrics of this song:

Dry your eyes
I see you
Come inside the doorway
Don’t you hide, My child
Place your hand in Mine

I know, I know you
I know you know I love you
I know, I know you
My grace invites you
Home

Life nor death will keep you
You don’t have to fear
Nothing comes between us
In the end you’re Mine
You’ll be just fine
You’re Mine
In the end you’re Mine

I know, I know you
I know you know I love you
I know, I know you
(You know me, yes, You know me)
My grace invites you
(Your grace, it invites me)

— I Know You, Bellarive

Timing

our home

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” — James 4:13-15

I still haven’t figured out God’s timing. Sometimes it seems like He gives a clue into what He’s trying to do, but usually it isn’t until after I’m looking back on how something came to be that I can see where all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

Our marriage has opened with some unusual timing of events. We’ve had opportunities presented for no reason other than God’s timing. There are so many other variables He still needs to line up, but we’re taking each step a day at a time and praying for the best.