Finding Contentment On Returning Home From Vacation (And NO, I’m NOT Lying!)

9 09 2010

I was on vacation for the last week.

I know. Shocker, right?

To be clear, I don’t sleep under my desk–as some of my co-workers and more than a few of my youth have asked me. Sometimes I actually go home and get away…and on the rare occasion, I sneak away to have fun.

Like last week, when I traveled to Florida to celebrate the wedding of two of my closest friends.

It was a blissful trip, a beautiful wedding, and I had a great time catching up with old friends at my husband’s home church, St. Luke’s in Oviedo–a place that has become my “second-home” church. I worked on staff there as a Director of Christian Education intern for a summer a few years ago, and have been blessed to have incredible friends and mentors there ever since. It’s an amazing place.

In a way, it was strange to be back there–almost like a parallel universe. Stepping into the church and seeing old youth and co-leaders was like dropping right back into the middle of a whole different realm of my ministry–one that’s still active, but that I’m not as close to, now that I live in St. Louis and work at a different church.

Hm.

What am I trying to say, anyway? I have no idea. Just noting my observations about ministry, I guess.

I think I just never realized that moving away from a place doesn’t kill the impact you’ve made there, or force those connections you’ve made with youth and families to die completely. The Holy Spirit is alive and active, and working even in your absence.

And, really, the impact has little to do with me, anyway. It’s simply God working through me.

As Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

Working with people is never easy, no matter what career you have. Ol’ Stevenson really hits the nail on the head for me with that phrase, because it’s what I have to remind myself every day: I’m just planting God’s seeds. That’s it. I can’t expect to see the results all the time.

(Confession time: I have that quote taped to my computer right now. It’s staring me down with beady little eyes of truth, 24/7.)

Trust me, working with young youth means I rarely see the harvest.

However, on vacation this last week, I realized how truly happy I am as a youth worker. It’s a long story for a whole different blog post as to how I ended up working as a middle school ministry coordinator–and working in the church at all, for that matter–but it’s something I wrestled with for a long time.

But, being on vacation and receiving a steady stream of texts from kids and parents–getting the long phone calls as soon as I got back, with my kids squealing about their latest crushes and complaints about tryouts–that’s my calling.

I’m called to work with people, to care for them despite their zany quirks and frustrations, and to let them know that God loves them. And that no matter what, nothing can separate them from that unalterable, unending love.

Oh, I love my job.

I’m not saying that in the hopes that my bosses will read this someday and give me a raise, or that someone will pat me on the back. I’m saying it simply because it’s true, and my eyes were opened on this trip to how much I have loved my job for the last several years–even before I arrived at Faith and started my ministry here.

I guess that’s how I know it’s truly a calling, in a way.

God is sure good to me. The fact that He guided me through some hurricane seasons of my life into a career that I’m passionate about and love so dearly is proof of His incredible love for me, I believe.

That being said, I guess I can’t really complain about those early morning, pre-school texts I’ve been receiving from my little squirts lately–because, after all, I’m doing what I truly love.

And I’m perfectly content with that.

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