Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lent Day 14: Life on pause, temporarily

The same questions: "So what are you doing? You looking for work?" I've heard it dozens of times this sabbatical year. I'm always at a loss for an answer.

The last waiting season, I was in England while W finished his PhD. I took art lessons, toured Cambridge weekly with a fabulous (and free) blue guide, wrote, and rested. I'm similarly engaged this time around, compounded by work with/for other people. Last week I edited 4 articles for others. This week I helped 2 speakers pull together public talks. I've met with 6 people (but it's only Thursday morning.) This pause is productive: I'm helping others though it feels like my career and interests are paused. I bought an art notebook. I've written blogs, my Lenten discipline.

Real Simple Daily Thought here.
Friends remind me, "Don't worry. Remember the great fit that found you after the last sabbatical?" I do remember! Work that was pure pleasure, morning by morning. I couldn't wait to get there every day.

I'm not worried. I've begun to feel energy rising for the next thing. I'm not quite ready to apply for the jobs I've seen posted. The right thing hasn't come along.

Meanwhile, I'm happy. Very busy. Occasionally I feel a bit impatient, anticipating the new things ahead. (So I'm almost open, should you hear of work that's a good fit for a writer, speaker, editor, and connector. Smiles.)

Most of us will experience "seasons between." Jesus never seemed hurried or anxious about the future. He didn't rush toward the culmination of his life, that ugly cross and beautiful resurrection. He spent each day as it came, intentional about pleasing his Heavenly Father from morning to night. Why do we feel harried, rather than living one day at a time?

How can we value these pauses, when the next thing is not yet apparent?
  1. Be grateful. How many people have time to reflect and choose their hours in Western society? Are most of your friends running on fumes? Thank God for the respite. He hasn't forgotten you. Maybe He's healing something inside you. Is He building something new, something not yet apparent?
  2. Be prayerful. Seek God's face on these quiet days. On days when you're hunting for work. On days when you catch up on chores. On days when you have no to-do list.
  3. Be intentional. Examine yourself to plan your trajectory, going forward. WHAT ARE: Your strengths. Your loves. What fills you with joy. How you best work (with others? alone?) The things in the past that made you laugh out loud. The skills you have developed over years of work and play.
  4. Be mindful. How can you help those who are exhausted? My husband has the opposite schedule: every minute full, teaching, speaking, researching. I try not to load him with my ideas. How can you lighten the load for those around you? (Husbands, hint hint - how about picking up some cooking and cleaning stints for that exhausted wife? Dads, how about getting up at night to soothe the baby? Mom's actually WORKING during the day, too! Employers, relieve the burden of underlings. Coworkers, pick up a task for peers when you have a slow day?)
  5. Be willing. Do what you need to do to bring in survival income. Volunteer. Help out in church and the community. Maybe the person volunteering beside you will be the link to your next opportunity.
  6. Be alert. Look for opportunities coming your way. We are designed to work and enjoy it. What is on the horizon that will use your gifts, education, and experience?
Read more:
*The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2 NIV

*And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD of Heaven's Armies was with him. 1 Chronicles 11:9 NLT

*The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds. Isaiah 30:26 NLT

*We want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end. Hebrews 6:11 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Giver of light and hope, keep your children safe as we wait for the promised day of healing. May we faithfully do your will, eagerly anticipating that day when all earth will rejoice in your presence. Amen.

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