Joy in the Grind

>> Sunday, September 21, 2008

What does it mean to work "as unto the Lord"? That's what I have been struggling with the past week. It's a good struggle, and one that will no doubt remain with me until I see Him face to face. I'm not sure what brought this call to the forefront of my life..maybe it has something to do with:

  • being bit by one of the kids on my caseload
  • finding myself the last one to leave school most weekdays
  • getting ready to enter the 3rd month of full-time work without benefits
  • hearing my principal tell me that he told my rude, disrespectful middleschooler (who refused to participate and was thus escorted to the principal's office), "If I had such an attractive woman teaching me, I'd listen up and do my work"
To get to the point, work has been challenging as of late. I'm finding very little of me actually enjoying the daily tasks, embracing each new day, engaging in my work with confidence. I'd rather turn and run. This isn't what I thought it'd be, I say to myself. It shouldn't be this hard. If things could just go this way, or if they would just do this, or if I could just get this. If only...

But I don't think I have the right heart about this at all. This can't be how it's supposed to play out. I'm supposed to be working for HIM. Sharing His love with others. Spreading joy to the joyless. Reflecting the amazing grace that saved even me. It's not about how I think things should go, nor is it about my happiness. Don't get me wrong, I think that God cares deeply about the minute details of my life, and wants to see me using the gifts He has given me & living out the desires He has placed in my heart. But I also think that He cares far more about HOW I am doing my job than my happiness while I am doing it.

It's the practicality of working unto Him where I get stuck. What does this look like in our fallen world? How do I stay centered on Him?

You can pray (and offer suggestions) as I continue to wrestle with this throughout the school year. Here's a John Piper quote that I'll be pondering this next week....

"Work with a view to benefiting people with what you make or do. Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God's promise to supply our needs, and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness, and the food that perishes will be added to you. So don't labor for the food that perishes. Labor to love people and honor God. Think of new ways that your work can bless people. Stop thinking mainly of profitability, and think mainly of how helpful your product or service can become." (From Don't Waste Your Life)

3 people also said...:

Carrie September 22, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

Thanks for posting this... a daily struggle for me, too, to wrestle with what it looks like for God's kingdom to come in academia even in "small" ways. And my students have never bitten me.

The Piper quote is great. Thanks for the encouragement.

Mindy September 22, 2008 at 12:01 PM  

Yea for a return to blogging! I cringed when I read a few of your circumstances...You are pretty hot, though. ;) (That might not make you feel better.) I'll pray for you...

Anonymous September 22, 2008 at 12:43 PM  

that is a fantastic quote!!! i will be praying that you can find a sense of purpose and peace as you are in the midst of turmoil and chaos...

that the Lord would protect you from the lions in the den and bring folks to himself in the process like he did with david...

i love you friend!

Soli Deo Gloria