Friday, August 31, 2007

September Goals

Another month has come and gone. August is out, September is in. Well, tomorrow.

I want to create goals for myself. Including about blogging, or writing. I hope that I can be intentional this month.

I guess that's all I have to say for now... I'm going to wrap up for the day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Somebody's got a case of the Mondays

My employment label is part-time. Yet I work Monday-Friday.

Mondays I am at Scheu Plumbing, which is conveniently located in the backyard of the Scheu family home in Chino. I come in in the mid-morning sometime, and I work until my work is done. My work consists of processing payroll, generating certified payroll reports, entering accounts payable invoices, paying accounts payable invoices, filing, and preparing preliminary notices. It's all pretty cut and dry, which is nice, because I know when my work is done. I have a definitive answer and checklist.

But on days like today, when I get a Flipside related call about a woman in need, the superhero in me is not as quick to respond. I'm not at Flipside right now, I'm alone, in a dirty and cluttered machine-shop-turned-office, and to be honest, my cell phone ringing is a distraction.

So me that's at Flipside is more compassionate, more quick to respond and go the extra 5,280 feet to help someone out. And the me that's at Scheu Plumbing really wants to respond and do something, but there's just not much that I can do. Maybe I come off as a bit bitter, uncaring. But really, I just don't know what to say or do. I don't have an extra $57. If I did, maybe I would have just given it. Or maybe from hearing these stories over and over and the warnings that go along with them, maybe I would just say "I'm sorry."

How is it that people let things like this happen? She had to know yesterday that she would not have the money she needed today. If she already had in mind this idea of calling a church, why didn't she go to one yesterday?

I wonder what Jesus would do in these situations. We so quickly say that he would do whatever was needed, but maybe the real need is something that we're not quite hitting upon. And maybe that's the need he would address.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Lord, make me a... dispenser?

I get many opportunities to be a dispenser. A dispenser of grace. A dispenser of comfort. There are times when I feel like that soap dispenser in the public restroom, the one that taunts you with its clear plastic window revealing to you the crumpled empty bag inside, devoid of microbial-destroying liquid so desperately needed in such a germ infested place.

We live in a world that is not unlike a public restroom. At times, it can seem hostile to life. We suffer through sickness, pain, infections and maladies of various kinds.

As a Christ-follower, I get grace to carry me through it. I have hope, and peace, and joy. And sometimes, even when I feel empty, like I don't have anything to offer, I am given the grace of the right wording to comfort someone, or the ability to talk to a young child who is hurting.

I'm starting to learn that there will always be times when I am not completely full. At best, I am a clay pot, at worst, a broken vessel. Yet I know that there is work to be done, and that even when I am at my worst, the Lord can use me. He can fill me up with the grace needed, and it is in those moments when I am most willing to give it all away. To empty myself for the sake of someone else. To be reminded that real love always involves a sacrifice, and I am called to love my neighbor as myself.

I pray that I might find myself being filled not so that I can revel in all of the marvelous grace that has been lavished on me, but so that I can be the hands and feet of the one who has given it. As much as the valleys are painful and treacherous, I would rather be in one and be used than be on the mountaintop keeping it all to myself. I guess that's part of the risk in giving yourself away. You may never be "full" again, you may be feeling hungry all the time, but you find that you get exactly what you need when you need it.

Today I am thankful for divine moments.

Strengths and Weaknesses

If I were asked today what my greatest strength and weakness were, you know, for a job interview... I think I would have to say that my strength is being an over-achieving perfectionist, and that my weakness is allowing that perfectionism to paralyze me for hours at a time.

It's frustrating.

I have a little desk decoration that has a quote by Mother Teresa on it, it says: "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." The blessing of working in ministry is that those small things actually count for something. My least favorite boss would have laughed in my face if I told him that. Of course, my job was accounting, so it's somewhat understandable. And even here, I have mundane day-to-day tasks to accomplish. But at the moment, it is very difficult for me to assess those and measure them and categorize them into a task list.

I'm hoping to begin on this blog to venture into what my strengths are... how I see them playing out in my role at Flipside, how they play out in my relationships, etc. Also, I don't underestimate the importance of my spiritual gifts, so I'll think about those too. Ultimately, I want to learn how to leverage my strengths and overcome the ways that those strengths can also become weaknesses.

If you're reading this, feel free to chime in with advice or content you would like to see.