So I have come to the end of my rope. My soul cannot take any more bashing from the 16+ hours per week I spend as a servant, ahem, I mean server. Working at the neighbourhood Irish pub would be great if I was young and single again, and if it were my only job. But it just takes too much from me. And I can never replenish the energy, physically OR spiritually.
Going to church last week, the first Sunday of the New Year, I received a release from God, loud and clear, from the monetary and emotional obligation I carted around with me regarding my weekend employment (hm, that does sound more racy than it actually is).
Listening to the speaker, Mika Kostamo, our Youth Pastor, I realized the lack of focus I have in my life. I mean, for the love of God, I work at Focus on the Family Canada. And I can't even sit still during a church service to absorb all that the Lord has to offer me in that hour-and-a-half...let alone the rest of the week? What a slap in the spiritual face.
Among the many profound and, I'm certain, Spirit-led, things that Mika spoke about that morning, he discussed the race of life, the race toward Heaven that God spurs us on to win. I feel like I spent years training for that race: quesitoning, challenging, submitting, accepting, following, learning. But then, just as the starting gun was about to crack the still, tense air, I chickened out. Why? Fear. Fear of Failure.
Long before I even acknowledged my Saviour (I was just 18 then), I carried this fear of failure with me. It seems to be that "special" part of me, of my specific, nagging sinful nature. Being publicly embarrassed or reprimanded or ridiculed makes the walls around me close in, makes my heart pound, makes my blood boil. It is this part of me that I knowingly worked to abolish in those periods of spiritual training. But to this day, it remains. As Pastor Kevin said during yesterday's sermon, that nature, that part of us will always be there, waiting to take control of us once again. Yet, how can we expect to keep it out of the limelight if we don't continue to condition ourselves for the race we are called to run?
In Mika's message, titled Habits for the Journey, he had the entire congregation practise "centering prayer," a sort of Christian version of meditation. We stood together, closed our eyes and took note of our surroundings, the structures supporting us, the sounds of people and electricity flowing through the building; then we slowly sat and rested, and allowed ourselves to "be." Just rest. And "be." In our mind's eye, we envisioned the empty cross, began to focus on it, on Jesus. Every time our minds wandered, we were to draw it back to the cross. To Him.
What a sweet, precious time. Why can't I do this on my own? Why have I not thought of this? It feels so natural, so perfect, so right. I don't always need a "shopping list" to bring to the Lord. In fact, I'm fairly certain He prefers I don't have any lists when I approach Him. Learning to come before the Lord without an agenda, without a timer set so I don't go "overtime" in my devotions and miss out on any of "life," was one of the most beautiful, peaceful and rejuvenating things I have ever done in my journey.
Going to church has become especially difficult since I worked so late at the pub Saturday nights. I needed the sleep, and I know God understood. I needed the home time, since Saturdays were spent cleaning, grocery shopping and/or cooking/baking. And now, with freelance work starting to roll, I can't do it all.
And so it is with a leap of great faith that I hand in my letter of resignation this Friday. Le hubby sees it in my spirit, in my body language, in my now consistent tears: I cannot do it any longer. We are suffering because of it. I suffer because of it. The money sustains our house, but it is rotting my insides. And what use is that?
I was reminded of our wedding Scripture today, during all of this. Luke 12: 22-34 says:
Do Not Worry
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Where my treasure is, there my heart will be also. At the pub, my treasure is in my cashout at the end of the night. I must drop my heart down the chute and into the office safe with it, where it remains each weekend, cold and dark.
Everywhere I turn, I am being nudged in His direction. Into His comforting and restful arms. In Psalm 127, He says, "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves." So you see? I am not in His will. His will is for me to follow. To take comfort in Him. To trust in His provision. To understand that though we may not see how it will come to us, He will show us what He deems enough, until we take that step, so He can show us what's around the corner. After all, if he shows us what's coming next, we may get scared and chicken out - again.
Article: Confessions of an ex-Shopaholic