It’s 10:32 pm on May 25th and for some mad reason the heating has only just been turned off. This has led me to having to open my window, but only slightly, because I’m worried one of the many tarantula-sized spiders that we’ve been seeing so much of in recent weeks will crawl in to try and take up residence in the warmth of my bedroom (not without a tenancy agreement, Mr Spider!!!).
I can’t remember the exact date, but it was around this time last year that I moved back to Northern Ireland from Scotland after four amazing years of university, and boy, has it been an interesting year.
I’m not going to give you a run down of the year because I think those are pretty boring for anyone who doesn’t know me super well, what I do want to talk about is endurance and, mostly, what that has meant while working a really crappy job for nine months.
When I considered quitting after the first two days I knew God was going to use it to teach me all about endurance. He was going to teach me how to find the good in the bad, He was going to teach me the great importance of loving others, of praying every day, of reading my Bible, of trusting in Him at all times, and so many other things. By being employed in a job where I don’t really know what I’m doing half the time God has made clear to me what I am good at, and therefore helped me make my next step in life; in August I’ll find out if I’ve been accepted on to a college course to study professional cookery.
I am a creative person and my very restrictive customer service/sales job isn’t suited to me one bit. I get no joy out of it other than interacting with my work mates every day. They’re a great bunch and God has used them to humble me and to make me realise a lot of things about my relationship with Him as well as my attitude to life and the people around me.
Last week in Church our Minister said something great about the Holy Spirit: “He doesn’t make us conscious of Himself, but of Jesus and of our sin.” Which means that the Holy Spirit makes us aware of who we should be because of what Jesus did for us. The more time I have spent with my work mates who aren’t Christians, the more I have realised about my sin and why I owe it to Jesus to treat everyone around me with the great love that He showed to the world when He died for us on the cross. That doesn’t mean shoving my beliefs down their throats, it just means loving them in the same way that I am loved.
My job hasn’t taught me very much about life other than the fact that I’m likely to cry when grown men shout at me, but my place of work has been a learning experience that will stick with me for a long time.
For a lot of Christians their last year of high school and first two or so years of university are the make or break point for their faith. Some people never go off track, some totally walk away from God, and some of us go a little crazy and try living a different life for a little while; looking back I am beyond joyful that I didn’t quit. I even had some crazy moments of doubt in the past twelve months but it has done nothing other than make my faith stronger because when the pain did get too much I always realised I needed to turn back to God and, time and time again, He has healed me. He has got me through nine months in a job that I detest, nine months of wondering where on earth my life was going, and made me a stronger, more resilient person because of it.
I really struggled to step out of the boat for most of the year because work was enough of a challenge and I was so scared to add more pressure on top of a full time job that drained me every single day. However, more recently God has built me up enough to have the courage to become more committed to the Church I grew up in, to join a house group and to start getting to know more people there. To have real fellowship has been encouraging me so much in and out of work, and I can feel a change on the horizon.
I endured and, even though I think I should have done it sooner, God is starting to bring great things in to my life. Even though I have been afraid He has waited patiently for me to follow Him and to sit at His feet and just listen to His voice.
Jesus didn’t promise life would be easy, but He did promise He would help us to get through it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”