Saturday, August 13, 2005

Matters of trust, matters of hope

It has been an interesting week in the Windy City, to be sure. For some reason, I have been struggling with sinus problems that have really affected my ability to sleep soundly - which has affected just about every other part of my life (I just don't do well when sleep deprived). And I'm still in a kind of transition - the apartment upstairs has been vacated, but it's in desperate need of cleaning and paint (which should be addressed early next week when my host and landlord returns).

The main deal has been in my employment. For more than three months, I've been in limbo as far as a permanent position with my current temporary employer - and at each month-end, the story has been, "Well, I don't think we're going to be able to make this position full time until next month..." Needless to say, this hasn't helped my serenity very much at all, and it surely has not done much for my attitude or productivity. It hasn't helped that a couple times, there have been subtle digs - like being told that there's no need for me to attend staff meetings (because, of coure, I'm not staff).

Finally, I was speaking with one of my AA sponsees on "a matter of the heart," and he asked me what I should do. "I know you're not a relationship counselor," he said, "but just tell me what to do, OK?"

Well, I try hard to never tell people what to do - that would assume that I know what's best for them, when I have very little indication that I know what's best for me on any given day. But I told him that if something would bring more truth, more love, more joy, and more peace in the world, it would probably be good - and if it brought more resentment, fear, anger, doubt, or jealousy in the world, it was probably bad. And way back in my head, this tiny little voice said, Oh, really? And what side of this divide does your work situation come down on?

Isn't it funny that what we would share with other people is so often what we need to hear ourselves?

A little spot-check inventory on this particular deal showed me that I'd been holding on, waiting for them to do what I needed them to do, and alternating between "I'll just be a star, so they'll be amazed with me" and "what the hell, why bother - they're not going to hire me, anyway." And I came to see that I had been allowing them to become my higher power, at least as far as financial security had been concerned. It just wasn't real pretty...and I was going to work resentful, and coming home the same way.

So I "hit bottom" Thursday night, and the words I'd given to my sponsee echoed in my head all the way home, and all the way to work the next day. So I asked to meet with my boss, and told her (a) I'm not finding any enjoyment in what I do, (b) I'm not doing a good job of it, as a result, and (c) I'd like her to plan to have me replaced by September 15th.

She took it well - and was grateful both for the notice and, I think, secretly grateful for my bringing resolution to the situation. It's strange - because even though the idea of cutting off my own employment in 30 days is somewhat terrifying, it also felt freeing in an amazing way. The sense of at least knowing there's a working deadline, rather than endless delay and uncertainty, seems more tolerable somehow. My friend Neil L. in Kansas called shortly afterwards, and said, "So - is the sky a little bluer? The birdsong a little brighter? That's how it was for me..."

So that's going to be interesting. I'm back to trusting that I can't fall outside of God's grace, and that if I just do the footwork that I'll find some peace and serenity (and permanent employment, hopefully!).

Sunday morning (tomorrow) at 8:30 AM, I will have the blessing of leading worship and preaching at St. John's Lutheran Church in Danforth, IL. I'm driving down tonight to stay (as opposed to getting up at 4:30 AM and driving down at the crack of dawn). So it should be a good time. There is a little irony in that I had to move off the seminary campus before I got another lay-preaching gig...but I'm no stranger to irony in God's plans for me...

God of enduring power, help me remember that you are always present to strengthen me in my weakness. Grant me the words to speak, and the willingness to seek your will for my speaking, for my working, and every part of my life. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Steve that's wierd. Did God tell you to quit or did you decide to based on how the situation made you feel? I'm certainly in no position to critisize or even instruct. I just know that sometimes he doesn't want me to change my circumstances so much as my attitude regarding it. :)

Erin said...

WOW! I am totally impressed. I wish I could count the number of people I know, living lives that are killing them inside, but too afraid to make a change.

I pray that it is even more transformative than the cleaned up apartment! :)