“Our work is essential to our being as humans.” - probably someone
Work comparisons are easy to make. Everyone has eyes so it is easy to see what is on the outside of other people's lives. I am also at the age where professional/college athletes are younger than me which is a wild phase of life. A good chunk of the people I follow on social media moved away and got big fancy jobs after they graduated. And I am happy for them, but it is easy to fall into the trap of looking at their life and saying, “they are doing it better than me.” I know that this is not true and that the Lord has a different plan for everyone, but it is still easy to think. The truth is comparisons of our work are always easy to make and do real damage to the soul, stealing joy and replacing it with regret.
The cool thing about these past five months is that I have been able put life on hold and learn about what the Lord says is true about us. I have been able to dive deep with others my age about what God, says about work, dreams, goals, and using them for his purpose. The fellows and I got to go on a retreat at the beginning of January where we spent a week learning about what gifts God has blessed us with and how they can be used in the marketplace.
The retreat in Deltaville, VA, was full of down time and reflection. I think this was the point but I am someone who has a hard time sitting still and staying in one place for too long. Nevertheless this week long experience ended up being one of my favorite experiences in life to this point, not just in Fellows. I mean the setting could not have been more beautiful. We were in a remodeled cabin located right on the river. Coffee was consumed like oxygen, and laughter was found around every meal. The sun was always rising, setting, or doing something else remarkable that the Lord designed. And here we were ready to find out what it was we were made to do in this life.
The man of the week was Bill Fullilove (yes that is his real name) and he was one of the most kind, patient, human beings I have encountered to this date. He is currently a pastor and career coach but had also experience working in finance. He sat with us in group seminars and one-on-one meetings that could last hours. He gave his time and wisdom to each of us that week. Some people cried and some people laughed when they looked over the results of the 3 different assessments we completed upon arrival. The assessments were in depth; some were spiritual, and some were secular. But Bill used them to tell us what great gifts God has blessed us with. Bill also told us about work and how it is part of God’s plan, and if we are blessed enough, can be fulfilling. Never once, did he tell us what we should do. He simply told us what we are motivated by and what could potentially bring us fulfillment. I am thankful that the Lord made me as I am and I am thankful for this retreat. I walked away with ideas of what I could do for work, but the good news is that our jobs do not define who we are. They are just how we serve God through work, and that is a true blessing from him.
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
“Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
the blueprint of your life
would begin to glow on earth,
illuminating all the faces and voices
that would arrive to invite
your soul to growth.
Praised be your father and mother,
who loved you before you were,
and trusted to call you here
with no idea who you would be.
Blessed be those who have loved you
into becoming who you were meant to be,
blessed be those who have crossed your life
with dark gifts of hurt and loss
that have helped to school your mind
in the art of disappointment.
When desolation surrounded you,
blessed be those who looked for you
and found you, their kind hands
urgent to open a blue window
in the gray wall formed around you.
Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
your health, eyes to behold the world,
thoughts to countenance the unknown,
memory to harvest vanished days,
your heart to feel the world’s waves,
your breath to breathe the nourishment
of distance made intimate by earth.
On this echoing-day of your birth,
may you open the gift of solitude
in order to receive your soul;
enter the generosity of silence
to hear your hidden heart;
know the serenity of stillness
to be enfolded anew
by the miracle of your being.”