I put in my two weeks’ notice with my previous employer in March of this year…with the intention to exit a season of stress, anxiety, and an ill disposition. As with all of us the view I have of the world has been stretched and enlightened by my experiences. For me, that places me in the midst of religion and rebellion, abject poverty and generational wealth, leader and follower, sojourner and resident. All in search for what boils down to, the answers we are all looking for to life’s questions. You know, the ones that rattle deep within our souls, the questions that arise in moments of crisis, moments of change…when the phone call you receive is the one you know carries difficult news, when you return from a trip out of the country and God’s timeline for your grandfather has run out, when your wedding day ripped by at the speed of light and your left asking, “What just happened?”. How about the known seasons of change that produce character results, forcing adaptation outside of will…applying for college, graduating high school, and moving into a dorm room with hundreds of peers in search of the same answers. Or being lost in an office building with a badge that grants you access to all the opportunities you learned about on the college campus, finding success in a cubicle, because you’ve been granted your very own title, email address, and if you’re lucky, a color code to print in color.
I rode the wave of entry level career life, and was awestruck by its social, economical, and soul shifting control. Our world and who we are, are driven by culture, superiors, and an influx of available information. Positive and negative results of an organization, are based off of the ability of others to generate an attitude, an atmosphere; a machine.
Based off of what most would consider a blessing, I have never had difficulty in finding success, measured by the American litmus test. Throughout college I had the privilege to serve in three internship roles for three stout companies, each claiming their fame from some business journal, my resume titles this, related experience. I focused just enough to maintain scholarship grade point averages, and complete a four year degree in five years to obtain twenty five thousand in debt and another title, my resume titles this qualification. (Non-relatable experience: every job I held to support life expenses through college.) Three months prior to completion of my degree, I had been lead to begin work in my field of study, and I was well on my way to a resume that spoke for itself. You see, I had all the answers to the test, do as others have done, build your career, promote your community, and make connections, in a search for the world’s promise of satisfaction.
The question that plagues my mind is…does everybody have these thoughts? Do I think differently? Why am I giving my life to the pursuit of happiness? How do I massage the needs of the world, while I am still feeding its machines?
Moving through these stages of life, we each receive seasonal gifts, glimpses of the Story. The piece of my resume that means the most to me today, is the section I had chosen to label ‘Activities’, as advised by the hundreds of examples I reviewed at the career services desk. Once I had moved into full time roles of my life’s career calling, my activities section dwindled. I no longer made time for the ministries and community that had once engaged my spirit during college; I had been told, “Your career is your ministry”. The problem was I didn’t know how to sustain the spiritual pulse, clotted by the same desires we all share.
The more I saw of the world, the more removed I became from the joy of implementing all the tools of a vibrant life. Building community, serving, love, generosity, overflow, joy, communion, and mission; all now have to be motivated and coaxed on my own time, within the confines of business politics and ethics.
Facilitating these attitudes for a time was provided through God’s love for me and the presence of Jesus’ Spirit in my life, but I didn’t have the experience to see it through. Outside of a community focused solely on these purposes, my abilities to sustain the effort left me tired, frustrated, and isolated from my colleagues. Each role that I served to date has always had motivational distress all at different lengths of time, but each guaranteed to leave me scratching my head in search of a deeper meaning.
I once shared my testimony in front of several hundred members of the church, at the ripe age of thirteen, and in doing so shared the simple phrase, with childlike endearment, “I LOVE GOD!”. Over the years as my character has been developed, I have challenged the status quo, broken the rules, offended people, and been on the side of evil more often than most. What I see looking back is another testimony of tried identity, the transforming power of God’s love for us, and the awesomeness of his unique and intricate design. The Story being told never ends, the Story of our lives is eternal, if we should allow it. Whether practically or spiritually each of us has the opportunity to impact the next generation of lives on Earth.
The wave has run its course, and has left me on the beach looking back at the resume God has built in me over the past few years. It is unshakable, and full of every individual competitive advantage. It’s unfortunate that I am just know beginning to consider my vocation as a battle ground for Jesus’ mission.
It’s unfortunate that the resume I crafted will not be displayed on God’s fridge. Or will it? Is our uniquely designed, God-given passion to work, compete, design, craft, and develop our world being used to strengthen ourselves or…..are we working to continue the work, which was from the beginning, the work of the Kingdom?
We can, and we don't have to quit our "day jobs"....