Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I Like Job Interviews

I've recently come to realize how very much I like the process of a job interview. I like getting a chance to tell someone my story in brief, to make sense out of the on-paper senselessness of the string of events. Taking a step back from the one-pager and telling the timeline of my life in a half hour or so—it's good for me to hear.

It'd be untruth to say that there have been times during which I haven't fully trusted that the gaps in my "career" have been full of purpose. I'd be lying to say that I've always loved the somewhat-random turn of events that my life has taken.

But, after telling someone recently how I hopped, skipped, jumped, (limped, and ran) through some of the experiences on my resume, I feel just overwhelmed with gratitude. The tapestry is starting to take shape. I've collected some tales along the way, and a long list of good friends.

If parts of the journey were less-than-fun, with some distance, I can (and will) see the merit of enduring them. Who knows how many more road-forks will lead me down untravelled roads.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our Farmer, Who Art in Heaven

Horticultural references are buried deep in Scripture. Paul talks about about seeds being planted, watered, and grown by the Lord and men. Jesus lays down the parable of environments conducive for growing in grace those who believe.

Turning back a few pages, I’ve longed loved the hope in Habakkuk’s poetry: Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food…yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation (3:17-18).  What rich reminder of God’s goodness through the seasons.

And likewise from the word communicated to Jeremiah in the book’s first chapter about the Lord watching over the almond trees, over the fulfillment of His words.

I like to think that sometimes, our God wears overalls. His hands are dirty from being knuckle deep in our messes. He’s on His knees, fingers immersed in the soil of our lives, and he’s always regenerating newness out of dead earth.

There’s something about the fall season that just stirs me like nothing else. I love the picture of foliage shouting in splendor before it descends to its timely death: nature’s final exhale. New life always requires a preceding death.

This marinating thought was recently matched in another verse from Jeremiah, this time in the fourth chapter. The prophet here is faced with communicating an unsavory message to the people of Judah. Intentional sin has lead to impending doom—attack from the North and exile to a foreign land. Jeremiah pleads with the people to own up to their sinful ways, to remember the Lord, and turn back to Him, saving themselves and their home.

With this message he cries out in verse three:

Break up your unplowed ground, and do not sow among thorns.

He implores them to dust off the rake and hoe, to put some muscle into preparing their lives for rebirth. Green can’t grow on fallow ground. Work must be done. Ends must be met.

I’m just grateful for this truth revealed: in God’s word to us (implanted in us), in what’s happening out our very windows. Good news, fellow laborers. God, the farmer has His boots on the ground, roughing  up our complacency, preparing our fields.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oh, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Just a few months ago, I was coming out of a fog of sin and sadness when a thought-over, prayed-for move to Nashville didn't pan out. Admittedly, it had been an attempt to flee from a job that was leaving me longing and relational futility that I felt I couldn't find hope in.

So, I tried real hard to quit it all, and leave this place for greener pastures. When the timing proved not quite right, I told myself I'd practice contentment...until October. For three months, I put a ban on scheming my way out of discomfort. I tried just to accept my lot, exercise patience, and play the glad game as often as possible.

In July, a three month rest from constant plan A, B, C-making was just what the doctor ordered. I was able to really enjoy a summer for the first time in years. Fresh peaches, night swimming, and late-night cook-outs. Creek-wading, deep air-breathing, Kinfolk-esque attention to beauty in small details. Birmingham became full of possibility again, as I looked at it through new eyes. Here, I thought. Yes, I can do here for a while longer.

And then, an unexpected grace came out from left field, and made the staying even sweeter. Late night walks and excited-nervous talks, hand-holding, and meal-sharing. This gift—a sheer grace—was a soft landing spot for my wearied heart to rest. Grateful.

The Lord is rebuilding what was broken. He is fortifying what was impeached. He has been at work in me from first breath to gracefully unfold not just my story, but His, one page at a time.

And he's been readying me for something, ensuring my well-being all the while. And yesterday, all praise to Him, I was able to quit my job. In two weeks, I'll walk forward in faith into a future that doesn't promise me success, security, or comfort. But, in trusting the Lord—sovereign over all my days—my heart is light. I look down at my next illuminated step, hang my hat on this chapter, and walk on.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Refinement pokes, prods, and pulls. Facing truth can disturb. But, oh, how necessary I realize it is for me to be dumped into a bucket, shaken until all of my impurities butt up against the instruments of their destruction—to endure through Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani moments. Past insecurities are coming to a head with present realities. I am prepared because I have been—am being—purified. Dross removed, imperfections smoothed over. I needed the fire to produce this shine. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

It’s raining outside. As the drops hit my windshield on my way to work this morning, I couldn’t help but see them through the lens of a literary device. This is rebirth. This is the awakening. This is hope springing up out of old dry ground.  God digs splendor out of messes. He is growing life out of death. It’s in His nature to make beautiful things. He, is, after all, a Creator. Let’s remember.