Today I’m returning to a topic I wrestle with often: drudgery. You’ve probably been there. Never-ending days, each one identical to the one before, with nothing in them to engage your mind or heart. Maybe you feel invisible, unappreciated, under-utilized.
How can we keep going during those seasons? According to Oswald Chambers, the key is in our perspective. If we believe God is the one engineering our circumstances, then we can continue on. We play our part, keeping our eyes on the orchestra leader and believing that he will weave all the disconnected sounds into a splendid tapestry of music.
When I married Steve, I willingly gave up my life on staff with Campus Crusade (Cru). Even though it was my idea, it was a huge sacrifice. I lost everything familiar to me as my tsunami of reverse-cultural adjustments pounded me. In the years since then, I’ve worked as an administrative assistant and a sales clerk. With Cru, I regularly saw lives transformed as I helped give leadership to hundreds of staff overseas. To say I’ve felt over-qualified and bored in my private sector jobs is an understatement.
Yet each place has been part of God’s orchestration for my little life. There’s a bigger story going on. A grander story. Sometimes we get to hear whispers of His words and glimpse edges of His ways, And we remember during the desert seasons and continue plodding in faith, blind to tangbile results.
Unexpectedly, with this new job, everything I gave up has been returned to me.
At this small “religious” college where I work – where I assumed para-church organizations would be seen as competition and not allowed – I stumbled upon a vibrant Cru group, hands-down the largest student organization here. These wonderful students are making a difference on this campus; lives are being changed and it’s exciting. Already, I’ve become the official faculty/staff adviser. When students are here (I can’t wait for them to come back!), my lunch breaks are filled with discipleship appointments.
The back story that God engineered is even more amazing. Just five short years ago, eight students prayed and trusted God to use them to make a difference on this campus. As a result, they started the now-huge Cru group, demonstrating the power of what God can do when we ask and put our faith into action.
I’ve come full circle – this, my last job, mirroring my first job. I feel like I’m on Cru staff again (without developing a team of ministry partners). I’m confident God placed me in this particular enivronment for a reason. He has big plans for these students, for this place. And I’m thankful to be part of it.
But here’s the thing. Even when our purpose isn’t clear to us, we’re never invisible. God’s eye is always on us. And countless others notice how we live out what we believe. We touch lives unknowingly.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. . . . It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col. 3:23-24) Paul wrote that to people who endured drudgery that I can’t even fathom. He wrote it to slaves. People forced to work in hard labor and deplorable conditions, without pay or benefits or retirement plans, were instructed to work with all their heart and remember who they really serve: Christ, the orchestrator of circumstances who fills our lives with meaning.
How can I ever complain?
This post is Part Two in a three-part series.