Over the summer, I had a really meaningful exchange with a new friend that I made on a trip. Isaiah was one of three adult leaders with a youth group. At home, he is a graphic designer who runs his own business. He shared with me his experience working for a large design firm. While he enjoyed the nature of his work, he sometimes felt frustrated with the way business was done. After downsizing resulted in him being laid off, he started his own business. He commented that it was challenging at times, but he loved his job and what he did on his own. Running a business and doing what he loved was a true gift to him. He even managed to work his faith into the design of some products. As I listened, I was really happy for Isaiah, but my happiness quickly gave way to jealousy. Why does it always seem like somebody has a better deal? Why is it so hard for me to find my niche? I started to respond with, "Wow, it must be nice . . ." but then I caught myself.
A Conditioned Response
The truth is, the sentence I began but had the good sense not to finish was a programmed response. Since the beginning of my professional career, I don't think I was ever really happy with it. My experience was quite the opposite of Isaiah's. I really enjoyed my employers and appreciated the kind of people I worked around, but I just didn't care for the work. I became an accountant through a series of indecisions and although I was often assured I was good at my job, I never really enjoyed doing it. I struggled to keep my attention on the work and often questioned whether it challenged me in the ways I desired to be challenged. Over time, I always tried to give my best, but I just had a hard time finding joy in what I was doing. Although I had the skill set, it felt as if my personality and desires did not work with what I was doing, leaving me feeling as if I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I made a great living and worked for wonderful people, but always found myself jealous of those around me. Whether someone I knew had a higher salary, a more fun working environment, or a more interesting job, I often found myself saying, "Wow, it must be nice to be doing what you want to do."
It Is Nice
As it turns out, it is nice. I have come to realize that I am doing exactly what I want to do right now. And more importantly, I am doing what I believe God wants me to do. It is really awesome to feel like your talents and passions are being utilized in your job. The interesting thing is that it's still not perfect. I consistently find difficulties and challenges that I sometimes do not want to deal with. Such events are different now than they were before. Rather than becoming a big source of discouragement or something that I lose sleep over, they are just part of my day. It's amazing how things change when you can find deep value and contentment with how you spend your time. The highs of my days are obviously great because they are the highs, but even the lows can be enjoyable. Sometimes it feels great to sacrifice for a cause to which I prescribe.
Several days ago, I was hanging around our apartment with Drew and he asked me how I was doing. It first crossed my mind to respond with the typical, "fine." After that, I gave it a little more thought. I told Drew that no matter what happened before or what happened in the future, I was happy with where my life was. No matter where I am led and how I feel about anything that happens in the future, I can be proud of what's happening now. Despite all of the crazy experiences and strange decisions in my life, right now I am surrounded by a tremendous group of people. With them, I am doing all I can to build homes for people that don't have them, educate Americans on poverty and share my testimony. I know that life doesn't revolve around what you do and not everyone gets a situation as amazing as mine. This time may be fleeting. Regardless, I am here now. Thanks for bringing these thoughts to the forefront of my mind, Isaiah. This is a profound gift and I will do my best to serve, grow and cherish every moment of it.