Archives For Job

Returning to the fold

November 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It’s been a while since I last blogged.

There’s a combination of reasons as to why this is. I went on holiday. I recently started a new job. And I felt like a break. I by no means want to suggest this humble blog is something people are desperate to read, but I had set myself the task of writing regularly and I was beginning to find it hard.

The quality of what I wrote deteriorated as I rushed to post. So the break, while not completely a conscious decision, was right.

I think it’s time to start writing again, but I’m going to put less pressure on myself to do so. I want what I write to be genuine and well-formed, rather than time-bound and rushed.

Above all, I want to enjoy the writing process. I want to enter into the battle of words, delve into the midst of whatever it is within me that wants to be written.

As Maya Angelou once wrote, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”.

It’s time to write that song.

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“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” Mercedes Lackey

I’ve started to notice myself use a dangerous expression lately. In fact, it’s quite a common phrase, and one most of us will utter many times a day without realising.

If only.

“If only I hadn’t been made redundant from my last job.”
“If only I was more like that guy.”
“If only I could do this/that/the other better.”

If only.

***

The reason I think it’s so dangerous to say if only all the time is because it means we forget or intentionally want to reject who we are in God’s eyes.

If I mutter, “If only I could be more like Mr X”, then I’m dismissing the person God made me to be, the child he created for his purposes. Mr X may be incredibly strong and have an excellent ability to lift weights, but he isn’t me. He isn’t who God made me to be. He’s Mr X.

It applies to our communities as well. “If only we had these people involved”, we say. “If only more people came to this.” To say these things is to ignore the people who God has brought to us, the people who God has drawn into our communities to surround us and grow with us.

If only makes us always want more, rather than recognising the blessings already around us.

***

I get that sometimes, things don’t work out how we expect them to. And I don’t for a minute want to suggest that it’s wrong to be upset when things go pear-shaped, or that we shouldn’t long and pray for greater things.

I didn’t expect to be unemployed this summer. There have definitely been times when I’ve thought, “if only that job had worked out”.

But then I wouldn’t have seen all the things I have this summer. I wouldn’t have been able to spend the time with friends and family that I have, wouldn’t have been able to figure out what my long-term dreams are.

If only doesn’t help me realise my dreams, it only forces me to feel like I’m constantly under-achieving.

***

So my challenge is to stop myself from saying if only. I’m not quite sure how best to do it yet (I might treat myself to one of these each time I stop myself), but my intention is not so much to lose a phrase as to gain a better and richer recognition of all God has done and is doing in my life.

I’m under no illusions – I’ll probably fail often. But I think it’s worth trying.

Choosing hope

July 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yesterday, I lost my job. I’ve tried to think of a different way to phrase it (‘let go’ sounds odd to me), but that seems the most succinct and gets right to the point.

It wasn’t really anyone’s fault; there were a number of circumstances, some I knew about, some I didn’t.

I guess it’s the kind of thing you never expect to happen to you, but it has happened to me. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what the plan is, what the next step is.

There’s no point pretending that’s not a little scary. But I also think it’ll be ok, because rather than choose to worry, I choose to hope in Jesus. He said not to worry, not to be anxious, that it would be ok. And whilst I don’t always find that the easiest thing to believe, I’m determined to choose hope.

Here in the UK, we’re currently enduring our annual ‘oh my word it’s snowed and now everything has ground to a halt’ moment. They happen a couple of times a year, and generally people complain that the government hasn’t done enough to keep the country moving, that we’re all losing out on millions of pounds worth of potential economy benefits and that it’s all in all a rather large kerfuffle.

But you know, honestly, I quite like it. I know that for some people, it is not very nice, and it does obviously pose issues for the elderly and people who are vulnerable.

But part of me loves the fact that, no matter how technologically advanced we think we are, no matter how much we plan in advance or how much we think we can control things, we simply can’t. The snowfall over the UK proves that we still can’t control everything, that we are still at the mercy of events beyond our control.

Job 37.6 says “He (God) says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.'” Now, I don’t know if this means that every time it snows, God has ordained it. In some cosmic, divine way that I’ll never understand, I think it might. But I do know that all creation is His, and that He is in control of all things. When things such as the grinding to a halt of the UK happen, they make me realise that actually, this isn’t something we can necessarily control. I know science says that we can have an effect of weather, but ultimately, I still believe that creation is ordained and held together by God.

And so when the snow falls, and the news is full of people lamenting the fact that we can’t run our trains and that people have to stay at home, I have to say, it makes me feel a little better about life.