On Job Offers, Family Emergencies, and Burnt Coffee Pots…

Friday nights are brutal. Where they used to be an excuse to go out, celebrate the end of the week and have some fun, they’ve now done a free fall into the opposite and become a tug-of-war between tired eyes and a touch more of that unfinished work. By the end of the week, I don’t want to go out for dinner, watch a movie with a friend, or even sit with a cup of tea and a good conversation … I want to curl up and sleep.

Life is so busy right now, and it seems every time I turn around I am finding a new reason to want to go back to bed and stay there for the week. The pastor and his wife are both out of town this week, one at a conference. The other is attending to a family emergency. This makes for an interesting week of wondering how far behind I am, if I’m forgetting anything, how they are doing, should I bother them with this, do I get the other secretary who’s away on family emergency to step into the office this week to sign and check certain things….Its difficult to navigate this when the leadership in your church family is getting pulled away from you. There is a part of me that feels the need to simply pray into their situations, the leadership is being attacked from all sides this year is seems. But there is a part of me that knows that this is a time not only for fervent, drop to your knees prayer and also practical, down and dirty service. Thankfully most of what is happening this week at Living Joy is self-contained and self-managed, but most of what happens in my office depends on an opinion, instruction or signature from at least one of our amazing leaders.

I went to bed last night, in an emotional stupor, overwhelmed with certain situations in my life. Relationships I can’t make sense of, people I’m losing touch with, wonderings about how this week is going to go sans pastors, an offer (more like a desperate request) to return to my previous job, thoughts of work that wasn’t completed, the mission trip I feel the need to forget about, and the repeating question…”Did the burners on the coffee pot get turned off after service today?”

By 2 am I was ready to jump in my car and drive to the church to turn off the coffee pot.

I didn’t, but I was ready to, and in hindsight probably should have.

It would have given me the opportunity to clear my head, to listen for a still small voice that is still ever wiser than my own inner monologue, and perhaps I would have slept a little better upon my return.

All this tossing and turning and weighing options and feeling bad for healthy decisions and wondering and waiting did give me some insight though. A reminder of how easily I over extend myself, how easily I run on empty, always one single misstep away from stumbling and sliding down the bank into burnout. I am tired and even the question of returning to work for the Notary office this summer gives rise to that familiar anxiety. The same anxiety I feel when I think of this upcoming missions trip, and facing the next month leading up to a youth conference we’re not quite prepared for, the one I feel when I think of being behind in marking, or the one I feel when I realize I’m too busy to check the coffee pot before I leave the church.

Among all the other decisions I wasn’t equipped to be making yesterday, all the things I couldn’t even handle thinking about and yet somehow also couldn’t stop thinking about, I actually considered going back to work for a month or so this summer while on my holidays.

I finally managed to shake all of this off at around 2:30, when I decided I had no other choice but to go to sleep and hope Monday came with a fresh sense of wisdom and an extra three hours on the clock, or at the very least some sort of peace.

I woke up with my alarm at 7 this morning, and laid there pressing the snooze button until the last possible moment, lost in dreams of the last Pretty Little Liars episode I had watched intermingled with hopeful resolutions to yesterdays troubles. When I finally shook the sleep from my eyes, I was a little disappointed to realize I had not worked anything out in my dreams but I did feel a touch more equipped to make it through the day. Little did I know…

I came in this morning to find a locked door, my desk covered in papers from yesterday, both Andy and Adele already on the road for their commitments and two coffee pots with the charred remains of Sunday morning coffee burnt into the bottom.

If there had’ve been a cave to crawl into (under my desk perhaps) or a blanket to hide under it would have been a serious consideration. Instead, I turned off the coffee pots, checked the messages and my email, and started sort the papers on my desk.

As I look back on the morning, and consider tackling the rest of my day, I can’t help but think there is a learning moment in here somewhere. I’m not seeing it yet, but I am reminded of a verse that I have written on an index card that hangs above my desk.

1 Corinthians 15:10-11 from The Message Bible
“But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it…”

When I think back on how I ended up in this current position, how I transformed from the part time media director and full time volunteer to their administrative secretary who knows very little and makes it happen anyways…I can’t help but think of that verse and believe that I am here for a reason. The timing (which truthfully is a part of a different story), the events since then, the talents I hadn’t shared with anyone until now, the people who counted on me… it was God giving me the work to do.

I have to believe that He is giving me the energy to do it too.

Happy Monday, I do hope yours has been a little more manageable!


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