Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Almost.



It feels kind of like when you're working really hard on a project and your neck hurts, your eyes are burning, and all the typing, scrolling and clicking has left you convinced you'll be needing emergency carpal tunnel surgery. Everything is going along fine, words are going on the page, the presentation is coming together, what have you.

Then the screen freezes and your stomach leaps into your throat. Panicked, you start clicking like a lunatic, hoping and praying that it will magically recover and come back to life.

Look, I understand that those of you who are reading this on a computer with an apple on the cover might not have a clue what I'm talking about. It must be great to be so awesome all the time.

For the rest of us, that panic that sets in when all your hard work hangs in the balance is absolutely terrifying. Can anyone relate?

Now take that feeling of helpless terror and multiply it a couple dozen times and you'll get a little sense of the kind of feelings that are swirling around in my gut right now.

I've put in so much work over these years, work that has left me exhilarated, exhausted, fulfilled, and frustrated. I've had my fair share of successes (getting my teaching license) and failures (failing to get a teaching job). There have been times of incredible joy and blessing, especially the opportunity to be a stay at home mom to my young children, something only made possible by nights and weekends wearing an apron. I have endured year after year of late nights, tired feet, sore knees, knotted muscles, and burned hands. Serving put me through college, paid our rent, fed our babies, fixed our car. 

Serving has been the lifeline for our family.

No, it's not my dream job. Heck, I never would have imagined I would have done it for as long as I have. But it has taught me so much.

I've learned to sacrifice and work hard. There have been countless times when I have had to miss something I really wanted to do because I work different hours than my peers and colleagues. It's really when I can't volunteer for something important to me, attend a special event, or even plan a date night with my husband without feeling like an air traffic controller. It's a lot of late nights after I've already put in a full day at the office. It's a lot of early mornings devoted to important things that just don't fit anywhere else - blogging, showering, exercising, additional sleeping. I miss out on a lot and others have to pick up my slack in the areas of my life where I just don't have the margin. For a long time, the guilt this created was very difficult for me. I still don't like feeling like my commitments create a burden for others, but I'm getting better about accepting help and understanding that it is not my job to do ALL THE THINGS.

I've learned to manage about fifteen thousand things at once.  My friend Heather doesn't like me to whip out my planner in her presence because it gives her a headache. Frankly, it kind of gives me a headache too. It also gives me a little bit of a sore shoulder because the thing is freaking huge….awesome, but HUGE. Anyway, my chaos management skills are on point. When my section is already full but I'm asked to pick up three tables in the private room only to turn around and realize that my fifteen-top is ready to pay and they all want separate checks, my brain goes into overdrive and I have to navigate through the crazy of that moment. The same skill set applies in the mornings when one kid wants scrambled eggs, one wants cereal but without milk, one wants a bagel just barely toasted enough with peanut butter and then there are also three lunches to be made and the dishes to put away and clothes to be put on and shoes to find and backpacks to fill and homework logs to initial and permission slips to sign and oh crap, we never let the dog out. Chaos management should really be listed as a skill on my resumé.

People are my favorite business to be in. My job is different every day. No two people are alike and that keeps me on my toes. I love to tell stories, make people laugh, and create relationship. People are the only investment we can make in life that will pay eternal dividends.

Serving has shaped my character and my skills. Perseverance, time management, multi-tasking like a BOSS, customer service, patience, sales, dependability, discipline, integrity. There have also been shifts where I have learned that I am a very flawed human being who still has a LOT of work to do when it comes to handling stressful situations and stressful people with the mercy and grace of Christ. I suppose we could categorize that one as humility. Heaps and heaps of humility with a large side of repentance.


I've also learned that I can't maintain this pace a whole lot longer. I need to make a change.


Eventually the time comes where the things I am missing begin to out-value the things I am gaining.

This is the part of the post where I get all vague on details because I can't go into more specifics yet and you get all mad because I'm being a royal tease. I do apologize and ask you to just hang in there. There is still a lot of work to be done and questions to be answered before the time comes. At this point, I don't even know what "almost" looks like. A month? A year? More? All I know is that my time is waning and God is working on something new.

For a while, I will be living in the land of Almost. 

What I can tell you is that I feel like I'm staring at the frozen screen of my entire working life, holding my breath and just hoping like crazy that when it finally starts moving again, that I didn't waste all that time and work I put in. For now, all I can do is trust that God has been using the last two decades as training and pray that His will for me will be made clear. For now, I tap my toes and cross my fingers, waiting for the restart to be complete and to get to work on a whole new adventure.

Almost there.

Of course, the second I become convinced of that, God will make me wait. Cuz he's like that.

If you need me, I'll be over here working on being patient and not freaking out. 

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