Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Things I'm Learning... or Trying to Learn

As I've shared earlier this year, 2012 is a year in which I'm patiently waiting on God.  It's been a struggle to wait and pray.  I go back and forth by chastising myself for being impatient or chastising myself for being lazy.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm trying to avoid any self-induced pressure at least throughout 2012.

In the midst of the waiting, then here are three things I'm learning trying to learn.

1) To Stay Awake This is motivated by my reading of this book, quoted here.  I have a yellow post-it note stuck on my computer monitor that reminds me to "stay awake."  I'm trying, quite unsuccessfully I might add, to bring my thoughts back to the presence of God throughout my day.  While I'm not very consistent in that discipline, I am growing in another disciple; loving difficult people.  

2) Living out the Love of Jesus With my job as an adjustor for nonstandard (high risk) auto insurance, I work with some very difficult customers.  When I find myself wanting to reach through the phone line and strangle them, I've instead been picking up another post-it note and reading this quote from Mother Teresa, "Dearest Lord, may I seen you today and everyday... though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you and say, 'Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.'"

As soon as I read that quote, my heart rate slows, my voice softens and my desire to speak my mind diminishes.  I actually sense the patient love of Jesus flow through my being.  I've been praying for months for opportunities to share the love of Jesus at my workplace; a difficult thing to do in the sterile, cubicle-ed corporate environment in which serious talk is frowned upon.  While I'm still not sure how to live out a Kingdom life among my coworkers (amongst times I'm swearing under my breath), I've been growing in my patience and love toward our difficult customer base.

3) To Stop Seeking Significance through my Work  This is a very timely and a very difficult lesson.  The difficult part of this lesson is that for or a couple months, it seemed like my 2012 waiting period was going to end halfway through the year as I was a top candidate for a great job at a local university.  This position was a perfect match for my skill set and I thought I'd finally made the difficult entrance into higher education.  Toward the end of the drawn-out hiring process, however I ended up finding myself on the wrong end of some unethical nepotism.  While I'd impressed my potential dean, my potential direct boss decided to hire a friend who didn't even meet the minimum requirements of the position.  I'm still sick to my stomach about the missed opportunity.

The timely part of this lesson is that I'm struggling at my insurance job.  Our reviews, pay raises, bonuses, etc. are based upon a numerical review system.  While I'm above average in some areas, I'm slightly below average in others (though my scores in my areas of struggle appear to be about average compared to the other people hired at the same time as myself).  I'm a part of a 7 person team, however that usually scores among the top of our the group of about 50 teams.  This means my supervisor is not too keen upon my average new-hire scores bringing down the rest of the team.  As a result, I'm on a minor probation period; it's nothing serious as I think it's just to wake me up.  It is however, extremely demeaning.  Very demeaning.  It just seems that I'm gifted in such a way that I've got more to offer the world than being written up by my supervisor for failing to ask the first car of a three car pile-up whether there was any pre-existing damage on the back car of the pile-up.  But that's where I'm at.

Which leads to the fourth thing I'm learning...

4) To Turn Complaints into Thanksgiving  I'll admit it, at times I can be a serious whiner.  The other day, when venting frustration over a pointless procedure to my supervisor (who was patiently listening), I stopped and observed, "it's pointless, but I am getting paid."  Whenever a complaint slips out of my mouth, I try to immediately follow it up with a thanksgiving.  Sometimes it's a stretch but usually there is a bright side to the frustration.  Either way, I'm working to build in myself a good habit.  I've unsuccessfully tried to simply eliminate the habit of complaining.  This approach however, is at least helping to redeem a bad habit and cultivate something positive in myself.  

There it is - a blog post about one month in the making.  I'm not sure when I'll write again, though I am working on some other articles for another blog myself and some friends are about to launch.

Stay tuned.... Or at least don't unsubscribe to me.

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