The day after I return from a conference on integrating work and faith…I call off.
It’s true, I have an early morning appointment; and it’s true, one of my boys has to see the orthodontist that afternoon. Squeezing in a few hours of work around those engagements would take some major gymnastics. But the truth is—I just don’t want to. I just can’t face it.
After three days of listening to how this thing should be done—hearing example after example of people who are doing big things for the Kingdom through their work—I am feeling claustrophobic of my little office, uncertain about where I am.
One of the speakers at this conference—addressing a standing-room-only crowd of mostly college students…and me…and, well, Sam was there too—urged her listeners to not just settle for any old job. Seek jobs that offer the best opportunities for directing your creative talents toward the end of advancing foretastes of the Kingdom of God, she said. Any accountant can do taxes, she said. As Christians we should be joining in Kingdom work through our chosen professions.
I felt the truth in her words and as I looked around at all those fresh faces, I believed that they could change the world. They could go out there and fight for justice and mercy and create beauty for the world and invest endless amounts of energy into making the world a better place. I felt excitement for these young people.
But it felt too late for me.
So I call and say that I can’t come in and those hours that I could squeeze in a bit of work? I spend them curled up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket with Lucy Mae. I am home for the day but I don’t even do one load of laundry.
But what I do do is a lot of talking to God.
I pick up an old conversation-prayer that’s been beat to death about my family of origin and how I’ve gotten such a late start on this Christianity thing and when will I ever catch up and why in the world didn’t someone show up to tell me all these things when I was younger and making important life decisions and now I’m stuck and the decisions I make affect more than just me and I can’t just go off to Uganda or something…
We’ve been through all this before and the Maker of the Heavens must get tired of having this same old talk with a pip-squeak like me, but do you want to know what was impressed upon me in those sweet hours with the fuzzy blanket? Here are a few things that were whispered to my heart:
- You are exactly where I want you to be. But don’t stop asking. You never know when that might change. And when you ask, you are opening your heart to the Spirit…and I am always making things new.
- Your work matters. You carry my image into the lives of the people you touch and when you do that with all your heart, you bring me glory.
- Sometimes, it’s about planting seeds. Have you planted any lately? I—only I—will make them grow.
- Don’t get too comfortable. Keep stretching. Keep growing. Be the best person you can be.
- Stick close to me. You are never alone. And pray for those world-changers.
The next day that I work I do my job with all my heart. Some people notice. Some don’t.
But there is One-who-looks-upon-the-heart who always sees.
With my sweet friend Jennifer today:
And with kd: