Monday, January 5, 2015

On Sabbath, pt 3.

I suppose it's time to pick up where I left off.


After returning to my parents' home, I took time to pray and re-asses my life (as one does).  Praying about things like "life calling" or "God's will" or "purpose" requires a great deal of faith and trust. On one hand, God is really great about using His silence, prolonged response, or uncommon method of speaking as His way to build our trust in Him. On the other hand, God is also really great about being faithful to respond, and then, entrusting you with the grand responsibility of fulfilling His commands.  Everything He does communicates.  Everything He does solicits a response.

I am often nervous about asking God about what He'd like me to do with my life.  "Normal" life for me, is constant change, constant pushing and pulling and moving and falling and trusting.  For once, I'd like an abnormal life; I want something that's rather predictable and mellow and steady.  I was not ready for more change, I was ready for rest.  So to ask God, "What would You have me do" is asking for more shuffling, more controlled chaos. But I asked anyway.

And in the reassesment of my life at the time, I had discovered a new interest: the world of numbers. Now I've never really considered myself a business fiend, in fact, I was so against the thought of capitallism in my young, artist-hippie mind (there, I said it - I fit the bill even if I didn't like the label).  But in the time I've spent doing the work of the Business Manager in the Coffee Bar, I came to realize that I truly liked being in accounting. Looking back, I suppose I was set up for it, after all, the base of Accounting is the ability to be highly detailed, accurate, and organized.  My jobs and pastimes?  The Library. Jigsaw Puzzles. Things involving spreadsheets, organization, coordination. 

It came to the point that I began looking up online programs, or summer programs, or ways to be certified in Accounting.  My thoughts were, having some sort of certification could be really beneficial: whether I use it for the Coffee Bar, or maybe I can help STN in some ways; or if I used it for my own business, or what if I'm in transition and need some sort of transitional job, accounting would be a handy skillset to have, that I actually enjoy doing.  So I began to concoct a plan that involved re-financing my school loans and cutting my hours in the Coffee Bar and going to school.  I had applied, I had registered, I had a student number.

God in His sovereignty is so faithful to interrupt my life.  Looking back at this, I can say confidently that I know His goodness, and that He does will for us to enjoy the things He calls us to do.  You see, I was moments away from revealing this lovely plan to STN, ready to say that I was done and I am transitioning for the better.  Instead, STN beat me to the punch and revealed their plan to me:

They recognized the work I had been doing in the Coffee Bar to make it professional and proper.  And so, they wanted to take me on into the Accounting Department, as the Accountant's Assistant. I'd help the CFO with some of the accounting work, learn some tools of the trade on the side. So there you have it, my friends, I am (well, have been) in the Finance office a day or two each week, as well as focusing my time in the Coffee Bar on the business operations. And had I done it my way, it would've been more time consuming, more financially costly.  I am grateful that He interrupted me.

(Small confession: I didn't know how to tie this all in with "Sabbath," but I needed a part three to finish the story...)

You could say that this is about the work before the Sabbath. After the end of each day of Creation, God said "It is good." And after those six days of doing things He was pleased with, He rested.  I want to believe that His rest was made full because He was satisfied. Because each day, the work of His hands produced something that He was proud of.  He was pleased.  Can I say that about my work?  Can I say that I am satisfied?  I think that the jobs we detest the most, no matter how easy it is, will drain us more because we're unsatisfied.  And no amount of rest or vacation can cure us from the insatiable need to never go back to our job.  There is no joy to work, it's drudgery.  And so we feel no Sabbath, only escape. We feel no pleasure in our moments of rest, we are numb and zoned out.  We turn off our brain to save the energy for the drainage of work. We are unhappy.

Remember how I spoke so drearily in the other two posts, about how the Sabbath is a command that solicits obedience? Pair that thought with the fact that God designs us to do work that He and we delight in. I am not proposing some fantastical search for the perfect dream job.  No "job" can make you truly happy, and it's truly rare that we will always receive the exact replica of our imagination (not to mention, we don't actually know what we want or need as much as Abba).  But I also don't think God intends to place dreams, skills, and passions in our lives, only for us to drag them through mud for the purpose of "growing our character."  Our martyrical minds have led us to believe that surrender is all suffering.  The suffering is only the purification of our hearts and denial of flesh, not the dismissal of God-made characteristics.  We must find delight in the things we do.  It's this satisfaction that cultivates peace in our spirits.  And peace that has layered over the course of work is a soft bed for the moment of Sabbath. 

Things are still so incredibly hard for me, at least circumstantially.  Work is difficult.  It's stressful trying to balance all the demands spread on my plate.  I am often exhausted, often subdued. And yet, I am incredibly grateful that God has granted me with work that I can be proud of.  It is demanding work, it is not perfect, it is unprofessionally composed, but I can be proud of it.  And the realization that His delight is in me and that I can delight in my work, are plenty reasons for me to put my work down at the end of the day and say "It is good."  And then with that, I can be fully at rest.