Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then, I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
Ever struggle with purpose?
I do. I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into a rut that is eight years in the making. Each weekday morning, I wake up at 6:00 a.m., press the snooze button on my phone approximately five times before getting up to make coffee, shower, and proceed with my daily routine of getting the kids up and out the door for school. All this while getting myself ready for work. After work, I come home too drained to be functional in any capacity worthy to be deemed "motherhood."
While I know it was a God-send at the time they hired me, and I know I should be thankful for having a job when so many people don't (and I am, I really am), my job is so completely unfulfilling to me that I find it a daily struggle to focus on the actual work that I do. I leave work most days feeling emotionally drained from the struggle to focus on why I'm there. I leave knowing my employer deserves more from me.
It isn't a "dirty job" as Mike Rowe would define it. And it isn't physically demanding. It's actually a relatively cushy job. I work with great people who have been good to me over the years. I earn a good salary and have great benefits.
But I ask myself every. single. day. Is this what it's all about? Is this all there is? If I'm consistent in anything, it's in grumbling and complaining about my job on a daily basis.
So, what is it about my job that causes me to complain? I've discovered that it isn't my job at all. Not really.
As I sit behind my desk at work each day, my mind wanders to my family - my husband and my kids. I think about what they might be doing or how much longer until the kids will be home from school. Wishing I was there to greet them at the door with homemade cookies and a big hug. Wishing I could hear all about their day while making their dinner. I think about the troubles they have and wish I could be there with them more to really listen to them. Wishing I wasn't so impatient with them when I am with them.
Or, I wish I were able to sit down with my Bible and study at a time each day when I'm most likely to retain what I read. Instead, I either try to cram it in while eating during my lunch hour or I do battle with my eyelids at night. Sadly, more often than not, I simply opt out.
Or, I think about the many projects on my list that I could be working on, if only I were home. Projects that I begin with enthusiasm, but never seem to finish because I run out of steam and motivation while waiting for a good time to work on them in between mothering and working.
I also think about this blog. Thinking it would be nice to have the time to devote to it. I think of it often. I love to write. And I have a lot that I could write about. I'm sure someone out there deals with the same issues I do. And I know there are hundreds of folks with the same interests because I read the blogs. What, I wonder, am I supposed to do with this blog? Should I just consider it a nice thought, in theory, but just not realistic?
I think about a lot of things while I'm at my job. Just not my job. While these things are not bad things, thinking about them at work causes me to be a less than diligent employee. Something that leaves me feeling guilty, which tells me this isn't something God is doing.
I know that God gave me all these things in my life that I love and enjoy. He also gave me a job that I wasn't qualified for at a time in my life when I needed to have an income. And I needed to be surrounded by caring, Christian people. He provided what I needed, when I needed it.
Why do I struggle so much with focusing on my job? Why do I complain? Because I've let my own desires overshadow God's blessings and distort the Truth. I believe all the things my mind drifts to while I'm at work are good, God-given desires. But, I think there are things He needs to teach me before I'm able to receive them. I believe He's teaching me self-discipline and at the same time, He's revealing the gifts He's equipped me with. In exercising the one, I believe I will receive the other.
I've learned a little something about life in the last decade. The things that bring joy in life are gifts from a loving God. Our gifts fulfill a yearning in our spirits and our individual gifts and talents come easy to us. I don't believe that God gifted us with interests and abilities to merely use them whenever we can squeeze them in. I believe the secret to finding purpose lies in realizing our gifts and utilizing them in a way that edifies - not only ourselves, but others, as well - and in a way that brings glory to God. Once we realize His purpose in our lives, we need to receive it and continually seek His grace in fulfilling it.
I have so much more to offer my family than what I'm giving them. They deserve the best I have to offer. And the best I have to offer is not merely the weekends and a paycheck. I don't believe this is the way God intended it to be. But this is where I am right now. I've been very slow at learning the lessons He's been trying to teach me for so many years. Lessons about family, money, gifts, and faith.
Needless to say, I'm listening a little closer for that still small voice these days. The One I know would never steer me wrong.
Heavenly Father, I pray that You will grant me the grace to fulfill the purpose which you intended for me. Help me to balance the responsibilities of family and work that You have set before me and to do so with diligence and integrity. Help me to always work as if unto You without grumbling or complaining. In Jesus' name. Amen.