It’s too easy to contemplate affecting a complete withdrawal of effort when you’ve “tried” and “did not do,” disappointing my friend Yoda given the immeasurable fruit of my labors. That’s “immeasurable” not in a good way. Immeasurable in that I can now only hope that all of what has transpired over the past 5 ½ years in effort, fleeting results, false starts, and lost compadres along the way somehow fits completely into the scope of Romans 8:28.
Because that’s the one thing I do know for sure.
I stopped working as a consultant 5 ½ years ago, anticipating with hope that I would most certainly find a role in the church that would allow me to, as my friend Lori says, use my talents and skills for good. I thought it would be a no brainer … I mean, really … what else could the Almighty have in mind for my remaining years?
Here’s a little advice. Don’t ask that question. Don’t assume anything … argh! … there’s that image again … the creepy boss glaring at me during the midnight to 3am shift of Inventory Capture Team B, (the people who count fish hooks in aisle 12B at Benos, a store like Gemco or Walmart that doesn’t exist anymore), because I said something like, “Well, I just assumed that …”
“Stop … stop right there.” He lifted his left arm, his index finger pointing behind him while keeping his eyes on me, and said, “What does the sign say?”
I looked over to see in big red letters these words:
WHEN YOU ASSUME
YOU MAKE AN ASS
OUT OF YOU AND ME
I will never forget it. It was 1978 and I was struggling to keep myself afloat, holding down two jobs while going to the community college at night in a third attempt to get the ball rolling on my education.
But … that creepy little exchange was a turning point. Weird, right? A switch had been flipped, as if God had implanted a tenacity chip deep down inside right then and there, setting me on a course of fruitful efforts for the rest of my life.
Until 5 ½ years ago.
I had plans! I was going to become a writer, a designer, a changer of the world, a ministry leader, a mover and a shaker in the church, a second chapter kind of woman who was meant to take her blank canvas and create something rich and beautiful and good.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a writer, a designer … okay, I guess that’s it. But that’s okay; I enjoy writing and designing. I just thought those things would lead to something; at least that’s what “they” told me. And I’m not complaining, although it totally sounds like I am. I’m not, really!
I’m simply making a new observation. Yes, I recognize that my state of delusion has probably been there for others to notice the entire time. But you know how it is … getting stuck in your head. I simply haven’t been able to think and see beyond my own old and crusty paradigm.
I liken this problem to an old contracting idea.
“Cutting the suit to fit the cloth.”
Maybe that’s a sewing idea. Anyway …
I have been taking the past, overlaying it on the present, and using it as a container for the future. After all, why waste all those years of learning, experience, skills development, and specialization? Isn’t that what this is all about? A building up over time into some kind of super woman who simply steps into, fully prepared, her second chapter of life?
Apparently not. I now see that it’s not going to happen the way I thought it would, should, or could. The cloth is too small and I don’t know what the suit needs to look like. I thought I did. I really did. I assumed so much for far too long.
The other day while sitting on my little patio love seat enjoying the presence of the Spirit, I wondered aloud how I would fair given the lack of purpose in my life. And I heard something.
“These are not the droids you’re looking for.”
That’s funny, but there’s really more to this. I’ve been pummeled for the last four days with readings, podcasts, devotionals, stories, etc. that have each been explicitly framed by the scripture verse Romans 8:28.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
This is the first verse I heard on the morning after He captured me back in 1983. I was a mess back then. But I was so open.
I suspect its time to return to my first love.