The question is not how far…

“The question is not how far. The question is, do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far is as needed?”

The irony of starting this post with that quote is that it comes from an extremely entertaining but honestly controversial film in regards to faith and actions – The Boondock Saints (also, the quote is referencing killing people, which isn’t exactly where I’m going with this, either). There are MANY people I wouldn’t choose to watch this film with because of certain qualities of the film (like significant volume of foul language and fairly gruesomely depicted violence), but overall I really like it.

Despite its less than virtuous characteristics, this quote is amazingly insightful and relevant to every person’s walk of faith.  Sometimes, I find myself asking the questions “How far do I have to go” or “How much longer do I need to stay here before I can do something I REALLY want for work” or even better, “What can I do to speed up the process of getting into my dream job?”

Over the last two years or so, I have been in jobs that aren’t terrible, but aren’t quite what I want to do. I want to do more, to be more – to work somewhere that matters, to have the freedom to share that true healing of the brain and body can only happen with the supernatural power of God. I haven’t been able to, and honestly, still can’t have those conversations with the people I am trying to help. I am relegated to talking about science and evidence-based practices and research that proves this or that – none of which can honestly be about faith in Christ. I can talk about ‘spirituality’ or ‘religious activities’ or ‘faith’ as long as it encompasses every possible form of spiritual seeking.

I find that I am less and less content with this situation.

I know that Christ-followers are ALL ministers and in ministry regardless of occupation and position and title. I am no less a minister or in ministry than the senior pastor of my church. I also know that I am in my current job (and was in my previous job) for a reason – to learn, grow, and develop for whatever the future holds. I just wish sometimes that I knew what the lessons are that I am supposed to learn while here so that I can learn them and move along.

This mindset is dangerous in itself, though, because it involved wishing away time and life – which contradicts my last post. The LAST thing I want to do is wish away the time I have here and the time I have with my coworkers. I know I don’t want to look back in January as I prepare for maternity leave and say “With what did I waste the time I had when I was there? How did I blow the opportunities I was given? Why did I spend SO much time looking for LoTR memes to put on facebook about my pregnancy?” or whatever other questions that would inevitably come up.

It’s easy to take work cues from those around (or more precisely NOT around) me. It’s easy to copy the work patterns of others even though I know I can and should do more and work more and harder and be faithful to the job I’ve been given. It’s easy to point the finger at someone else and say “He or she never got back to me so it didn’t get done” or any number of other excuses as to why I’ve been less effective than I could have been. It’s easy and tempting to abdicate personal responsibility in the face of so much unsupervised time.

HOWEVER

I have to remember that how I work here (and how I worked at my last job) are building blocks for how I will work in the future. If I build a habit of laziness and abdicating my responsibility in favor of blaming those around me, I won’t be ready for the dream job when the opportunity finally presents itself. If I truly want to work in ministry full-time, I have to develop the work ethic I need while in jobs that are less than completely fulfilling.

I can choose to be content where I am or I can choose to be discontent.

I can choose to be ethical and moral at work where NOBODY (but God) sees it or I can choose not to be.

I can choose to grow into the kind of harvest worker God desires me to be or I can choose not to.

Throughout this time and these jobs, I know that I need to choose to develop into the kind of worker that is needed or I will be ineffective at whatever I do. I have to choose the narrow and difficult path of self-management and to walk it with integrity not knowing what the future holds. The greatest thing about faith, though, is that it’s not necessary for me to see the future. It is necessary for me to remain faithful to the life I have chosen to live under the banner I have chosen and to develop the constitution, the depth of faith, to take things as far as are needed.

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