This has been yet another eye-opening week for me. If you follow along with the blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about my job before. The cliff notes version is that I’m currently working in an office job I don’t particularly enjoy. Making matters worse is the fact that I’ve been repeatedly denied on every internal promotion and external application submitted.
For the past several months, this has led to me becoming increasingly agitated by my lot in life. At some point, I graduated from “agitated” to angry, bitter, resentful, and frustrated. My one saving grace is that I’m skilled at compartmentalizing, so all of that negativity has been trapped in the section of my life labeled “Employment”. Like a blister that continues to grow when you fail to give it the room it needs, my emotions began filling an ever growing bubble of negativity.
The events leading up to it are unimportant, but suffice it to say that Tuesday afternoon my negativity blister burst open and leaked its toxic fluid across my entire psyche. I couldn’t take it anymore. I realized that the blister had become an infection at some point, and it was beginning to affect the other parts of my life I had fought to keep clear of it.
In Monday’s post I tried to reconcile the fact that how we define failure is usually vastly different from how God might define it. Well, as it turns out, it seems the same could be said for success. I think I was caught in a perfect storm of turning 29, working the same job I’ve had since I was 24, and being actively disappointed in both my job and myself for staying there.
I began identifying myself by what I do rather than who I am. I think a lot of us might have a tendency to do that… Our culture tends to encourage it. We assume that what a person does for a paycheck is probably a decent indicator of who they are, and that’s not necessarily the case. I think the source of my negativity is the fact that I had a very hard time reconciling my idea of who I am with the fact that I answer phones for a faceless corporation that cares about nothing but making a profit.
Here’s the trick to it, though: the what we do part is completely irrelevant. God’s main focus and priority isn’t in what I do for eight hours a day. It’s about the person I am while I do it. And while I do everything else. God is supremely invested in who we are, not what we do. Let’s take me for example.
What I do is answer phones, send emails, and generally deal in ones and zeroes for eight hours a day. Who I am is a ponderer who loves God and telling stories. I have big ambitions and I’m desperate to use them to create something. But for the past several months, for no less than eight hours a day who I’ve been is a self-concerned, angry, jaded, jackhole who didn’t realize what a blessing it truly is just to have a job that keeps the bills paid (mostly).
I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve realized that feeling a sense of fulfillment as it relates to your professional life is a luxury. It’s one that I’m still desperately hoping I get to experience sooner rather than later… But it’s not the end-all be-all of life… Or even of being an honest-to-goodness grown-up. I have to face the possibility that for right now, God wants me to have this annoying, frustrating, dead-end, office job.
Tuesday, when the blister burst, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep bottling everything up, I couldn’t keep being angry and annoyed all the time. Those closest to me have gently and quietly suggested that perhaps my attitude could use an adjustment. I wasn’t ready to hear them. I was still so sure that I was right to be angry and upset, and maybe I was, but it doesn’t matter.
Life is too good to waste it being anything but grateful. Grateful for all of the stories we get to be a part of, all of the ideas we get to see come to fruition, grateful for the people we get to spend our days with, grateful for a God that wants to know us. And listen, I know, some of you might be rolling your eyes. Life can really suck sometimes. It would be easy to be grateful if God were a genie who gave us everything the moment we decided we wanted it… But I think sometimes he holds back to force our perspective to grow bigger than how our own life is or isn’t up to our own standards. But being grateful isn’t for God’s benefit; it’s for ours. Life is genuinely and truly better when you decide that you’re just going to love it and everyone in it with abandon.
I think I’m done being mad at my job. It is what it is, and I feel confident that I have done everything in my power to change my lot in life. At this point, it’s up to me to keep my eyes open, but for God to decide when it’s time for a change. And who knows? Maybe my attitude is the last piece of the puzzle that God has been waiting for to fall into place…