Seize the Opportunity

Two days ago I wrote about the idea that we all must learn to love what we do until we can do what we love.  The idea behind it was that God calls us to do the work we find ourselves in with excellence and contentment until such time that we find ourselves doing work that energizes us and that we love.  Today, we are going to hear from a friend of mine who has had a chance to experience this transition.  Her own spiritual journey with God shaped her understanding of who she is and who God is and the unique relationship they share with one another.  Her perspective of work allowed her to work with excellence and diligence.  As a result, when the time came, she was able to seize the opportunity created by her circumstances to do what she loved doing after learning how to love what she did.  This is her story.


GOD AND I

My name is Kim McDonald.  I’m 29 years old and grew up in a little beach town in So Cal called Hermosa Beach.  I moved up to the San Jose area for college all on my own without knowing anyone, it was awesomely scary!!   I have been married to a wonderful man of God for a little over a year now and we are enjoying the adventure that is marriage!!  Even though right now I can confidently say that I love Jesus and love my life with Him in it, I haven’t always been able to say that. I grew up Catholic following my mom around to church every Sunday and attending a Monday evening bible study with my best friend at the time (we totally goofed off and didn’t pay attention).  My mom and I were super close (I told her everything, including all my friends secrets, which they weren’t too pleased about lol) but unfortunately after fighting against ovarian cancer for 7-8 years, she lost the battle when I was almost 15 years old.  My view of God immediately changed from someone I thought was all knowing, great and powerful to a hateful, selfish and in-compassionate jerk with whom I had no problem telling all of those things to.  I stopped going to church and almost took an attitude of “I refuse to go.”  These feelings towards God continued throughout high school and college without ever really trying to seek out answers.

“I just assumed God hated me and so I hated him right back.”

It wasn’t until I met my current husband that God worked magic on my heart.  My husband (who I was friends with at the time) began challenging me and asking me questions no one had ever asked me since I was 15.  It began to confuse and frustrate me but I was curious nonetheless.  It took about 4 months of asking questions and not hearing what I wanted to hear to finally tell my sweetheart that I was ready to go to church again.  I WAS FREAKING OUT the first day I went to Westgate!  But, a crazy thing happened…..the ONE day I decided to go, that very first day back to church since my mom passed away do you know what the message was about and what video they played???  The story of the prodigal son!!!  I mean, REALLY!?!  Does it get ANY more obvious than that!?!  Of course, I was immediately overcome with emotions and I cried right there on the spot, like open the floodgates there’s no holding this back.  It was absolutely crazy!!  I then knew that I had been missing this, a relationship with Christ, this entire time!!!  From that moment on my walk with God has changed my heart and I know my journey is never ending and I love that I continue to learn something new every single day!!

WORK AND I

So, my current job, if I can even call it that because I’m doing what I love, is a personal trainer, or as my boss calls us “exercise specialist” (I like that name because it sounds fancy :))  However, I haven’t always been a personal trainer.  My college degree is a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Kinesiology.  I worked at a Medical Device company called, Intuitive Surgical for 3 years before God intervened and made it VERY VERY clear I was no longer to be an engineer.  And by very clear I mean, I was put in a tough spot at my job and didn’t know what to do, so I prayed about it.  It was decided that I was going to try my absolute hardest at work and if I still lost my job then God intended for it to be that way.  Well, I lost my job and when I was applying for new jobs they ALWAYS took the internal candidate over me AND I had absolutely no desire to even try to find a job.  I was almost dreading an interview that went well!!  So, after running into a college friend who is currently a trainer at Google, I started thinking….whoa, what if I completely uprooted my whole life and went in a totally different direction???  Is this what God wants?  Is this what He’s been trying to tell me to do!?!? Let’s just say doors were opened WAY wide and next thing I know I have a rockin’ job at an incredible health club and I’m a certified personal trainer through NASM!!

FROM LEARNING TO LOVE WHAT I DO TO DOING WHAT I LOVE

fitness.paigeNow, you’re probably thinking “why the heck would you leave engineering to become a trainer?  You were probably making bank before and trainers make no money!!”  Well, I’m not going to lie, I did think about that, BUT I knew that money isn’t everything and my heart has always been with the field of fitness/nutrition/health.  So, here I am and let me tell you, not a day goes by where I do not LOVE my job and I have never regretted making the switch.  I absolutely love teaching others about fitness and health and how to improve their lives by making smart and healthy choices on a daily basis.  It makes me giddy watching my clients become more confident and happy with who they are and feel more comfortable in their own skin!!  I am overjoyed when I get to help someone who had a serious pain or injury work through it until they are living with no pain at all!!!  The fact that I get to wake up every day and call this a job is an incredible blessing that I never saw coming!!

Eat the Frog

Today was the day I needed this helpful reminder.

mark-twain-frog

 

We all have aspects of our work that we do not enjoy.  Let’s embrace that and move forward.  I love this quote because it reminds me to stop avoiding the work I don’t enjoy so I can move on to something I enjoy even a little more.  Today, I had two frogs to eat and the biggest one went down first.  How fun.  Tomorrow, though, I have a guest writer who is going to share about what it looks like to learn to love what you do until you can do what you love and how to seize that moment when it comes to you.  I’m excited about what she has to share with us!

Until then, remember: eat that frog.  Just do it and move on.  If you have two, eat the biggest one first.

Learn to Love What you Do Until You Can Do what You love

dream jobAll of us have a dream job.

All of us have an idea of that work that we believe we would not only be good at but would love to do for the rest of our lives.  If you are like me, you’ve thought about your ideal job description, your ideal hours, and your ideal pay.  The only thing that is left is to find this ideal job!  And as a lot of us are looking for that ideal work what inevitably happens is that we compare our current job to our ideal job.  Of course, our current job falls short and won’t compare to what we want to do.  If we’re not careful, that comparison gives us less motivation to do our current job well because “this is a job until I find my ideal work.”

One of the beautiful results of the work that God has begun to do in our hearts and in our world through Jesus is that we, as people of faith, are given the opportunity by God to set the example in our workplaces, to set the bar.  In other words, because we embrace the theological truths that God is making all things new, that the kingdom of heaven has already begun its work on earth but is not yet complete, that we are empowered by the Spirit to do the work of the ministry, what we are called to do is to excel at the work that we find ourselves doing. We are called to dream a better world and called to create a better future.  We have the privilege of being those catalysts.

In a letter to a church in Colossae, the author of the letter makes this point to slaves who are a part of the church:

Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

We are not slaves in the classical sense but at the very least we are slaves to Christ (1 Cor.7:22).   What this means is that when we think about the work that we are doing, when we think about who we are working for and living for and dreaming for and creating for, we must not think in simple earthly terms.  We must open our perspective and consider that the one whom we are actually serving in our work is Jesus.  What does that mean practically?

We must learn to love what we do until we can do what we love.

Again, I think a lot of us can sometimes get idle or passive at a job or in work that we don’t want to do, that is not our dream job.  Maybe it’s because of supervisors who are not that good at what they do.  Maybe it’s because you feel unappreciated, undervalued, and overworked.  Whatever situation you are in, I think the first call that we have from God is to learn to love what we do.  We must see the work we do as God sees it, knowing that our work matters to God.  We must believe that the way we work can make a difference in how the world views our faith.  We must come to work prepared to do our best, to work with excellence, to be humble, to be collaborative, to ask for help when needed, and to offer help when we see that it’s needed.  Our approach to how we work must change.

However, that doesn’t mean that we forego our dream of pursuing a preferred job or career or vocation.  It simply means that you can not sacrifice one for the other.  We can not sacrifice excellence at a job we don’t want so we can potentially work with excellence at a job we don’t have.  We are called to glorify God in whatever we’re doing and that includes that stuff we don’t like doing.  On that note, I’ve realized in having conversations with people who are doing what they love to do that no matter what you’re doing there’s a portion of your work that you will not enjoy doing.  No matter where you work, you’ll always have to do things you don’t love.

So here’s my encouragement to you today.  Learn to love what you’re doing right now.  Learn to see the kingdom impact you can make wherever you are working, being, living.  Learn to see how God is using you to create a better future in the places that no one else can go except for you.  Learn to love what you are doing.  As you are doing that, find ways to begin doing what you love.  In your spare time, instead of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even this blog, begin dreaming of ways that you can begin to do more of what you love.

My dream for you is that you will be so enamored with Jesus, that you will be living a life that seeks to glorify Him in all that you do, that one day you will wake up and find that you have learned how to love what you are doing and have begun doing what you love.

do with all your heart

 

Week in Review: Theology of Work, part 1

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Anyone can work when every stroke bring fruit, but to labor in season and out, under every discouragement takes a heroism that is transcendent.”  Work is hard and work is tough.  It would be easy if what we did was always encouraging and life-giving but that’s not always the case.  So this past week, I started to explore the them of work in order to rediscover what Scriptures say or do not say about work.  In developing this theology of work, my hope was to both encourage us and call us to live and work in a way that honors God and what He is doing in human history.   While this past week the posts were more abstract and conceptual, next week we will begin to answer more practical questions about work.  However, if you missed the posts this week or want to reread a specific post, I’ve collected them here for your convenience.

Anyone Can Work

  1. Make Room for Meaning: East of Eden and Into Eternity reminds us that we spend over a third of our life working.  With so much time spent working, we should reconsider what Scripture teaches about the nature and significance of work.
  2. Butt Naked and Harnessing Potential in Paradise demonstrates that work was created good and as a blessing.  God has not given us work in order to pay the bills; He has given us work in order to harness the potential where we work for the benefit of others.
  3. Your Work is Sacred not Secular examines the fallacy that there is work that is more valuable and important to God.  No matter what we are doing, our work matters to God.
  4. Common Purpose; Uncommonly Unique Identity helps us to see how our common purpose can still be expressed through our unique identity.   Our work can be an expression of our identity instead of being something that defines us.
  5. Working with a Working God helps us see that God is not passive.  He is a working God who is not afraid to get His hands dirty and not afraid to invite you to work alongside of Him.

I love would love to hear your feedback, questions, or thoughts about this series.  May you be encouraged by the work that God is doing in you personally and the work that He is doing in this world presently.  May you begin to see the value of your work and live passionately in response to the grace of God in Jesus.