Our time is valuable. Every one of us on the earth has the same number of hours in the day, but how we choose to spend it is up to us. I still kick myself when I think of how much time I wasted watching Gone With the Wind. Seriously? Four hours of watching Scarlett O'Hara and her 18 inch waist whining and complaining only to hear her shout into the sky about a new diet plan? I can never get that time back.
But I digress.
I've been thinking a lot about my time. I constantly feel tired and stressed and I have known for a while now that I needed to do something about it. Identifying the source of the frustration and stress became of paramount importance. As I mentioned back in August, I realized that I was starting to use alcohol as a way of decompressing or dealing with the difficult situations in my life. More and more often, I was deciding to stay late after work to have a cocktail or a beer....or two....and I found myself complaining more, whining more, blaming more, and just behaving in a way I wasn't proud of. My marriage suffered and I realized I had to do something about it. So, I went totally sober for 30 days.
I could go on and on about the things I learned over that time, but for the sake of this post I'm only going to focus on one: I needed to find a new job.
I love what I do and I'm really pretty good at it. Believe it or not, it takes more than a pulse to be a good server. My customers are awesome and I love the opportunity I get to engage in witty banter with people and to make their otherwise normal dinner out into something unique and memorable. Unfortunately, it takes more than great regular clientele to keep a great server around. I grew increasingly frustrated with the other aspects of my job and found myself indulging in my "shift drink" to wash away my exasperation or to give me an excuse to commiserate with my co-workers. I didn't like what I saw myself doing.
We recently started a new sermon series at my church entitled "Called" that is all about listening for God's voice and responding to the summons he gives us for our lives. When I really got honest about why I was sticking around at my current job, I realized it was because it would be difficult to leave. I didn't want to start over as the new girl at another job and I was well-liked by most of my co-workers and my customers! Why would I leave? The short answer....because God was telling me to.
It wasn't right for me anymore. I usually worked my shift feeling more like I was walking on eggshells than walking with my head held high. I finally realized the only thing that had kept me around was my fear of what others would think of me if I left.
I was being summoned somewhere else....so I quit. My boss wasn't happy. My co-workers were blind-sided and upset. So I started to worry. Did I make the right decision? Would I regret leaving a loyal clientele of customer for a crop of new faces? What if the co-workers at my new job didn't like me? What if I wasn't able to make the same kind of money somewhere else?
Then I listened to this sermon by Mel Lawrenz and I realized that my time and my schedule are as much Holy Ground as the dust where Moses stood when the Lord spoke to him from the burning bush. At the end of the sermon notes in the bulletin was written this sentence:
How might God be asking you to separate yourself from something, and then devote yourself to something else?
Am I saying that I had to quit my job because I thought my current place of employment was "unholy?" Certainly not. What I am saying is that I felt convicted to be more intentional about my time and what I was choosing to spend it on. I work five nights a week, folks. Add up the hours and that is a LOT of time that I am spending away from my family, on my feet, working hard. If I wasn't comfortable or happy, why should I continue to stay? I wasn't doing myself any favors and I certainly wasn't honoring the God who had gifted me with the time to work, a desire to work hard, and blessed me with a skill set that can easily find me employment elsewhere. My reasons to stay put were selfish and I needed to think more about viewing my time as Holy Ground.
I'm not sure that made any sense at all and I know that any of my co-workers who read this hoping for an explanation for why I'm leaving are are likely going to be left feeling disappointed. But it's done and I'm praying that God will bless this transition and give me the patience I need!
P.S. I highly recommend this series entitled "Called" from Elmbrook Church. Check it out and join us!
P.P.S. I apologize to any of you who are die-hard fans of "Gone With the Wind." I'm sure I just lost you as a subscriber, so thank you for reading to the end of this post. I just have this weird thing with endings and I feel like a disappointing ending can ruin the entire movie for me, especially if that movie is four hours long. Forgive me?