Working on the Road to Grace March 23, 2014Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity.
I read once (I believe in Jon Acuff’s Quitter) that suicides happen more frequently on Sunday nights than any other night of the week because people literally would rather die than go back into work on Monday morning. This goes beyond not enjoying your job. Millions of people don’t like their jobs and don’t have to consider whether they want to live or continue to work at the same place. These dark actions and thoughts only come when the job has become damaging to your soul. It’s what happens when the place of work becomes a prison that you could walk out of at any time, but the only lock keeping you inside is your need to survive.
And this is where the problem lives. Some of our jobs do not help us live as much as they help us survive, and when all you are doing is surviving…existing…, life starts to lose it’s appeal. One of my favorite television shows, The Walking Dead, is fundamentally about survival and the moral ramifications of surviving when all life is about is surviving. People are not the same when the whole purpose of each day is to try and get to the next one. They kill others without remorse, join forces with disreputable people, and do whatever they have to do to ensure that they will see one more sunrise. Those that do not do these things, it is understood, have no other option but death. To survive, one must forsake their own humanity, because humanity is a death sentence. The underlying question on The Walking Dead is this: Is it better to lose your humanity to survive, or keep it and die? To the people in the real world, to those who have dark thoughts on Sunday nights because they have a job that steals their humanity, this is the same question they wrestle with.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey is fond of saying something on the lines of “Do something you love for a living and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I believe this to be true (even though there will be bad days even if you are working your dream job), but it is not so easy to attain. What some people are really passionate about is not easily monetized. Others have passions that are but they lack the business acumen or people skills to transition it into a sustainable form of income. Then there are people like me. People who are called to vocational ministry have enough questions to answer to begin with (just read the blogs of people who scoff at what they call “professional Christians”). Should being a pastor even be a paid position? If it is, how much money is too much to pay them? What’s too little? How should they be held accountable financially? How are they supposed to tithe? All are valid questions that should be discussed in the Church. But, when one feels called to vocational ministry, these questions are secondary when one cannot find a job in vocational ministry. Since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion five years ago, I have had exactly two interviews with churches. Last year, I decided to start pursuing my Master’s Degree in Theology & Ministry from a prominent seminary because I felt like life had become stagnant and maybe furthering my education would appeal to more churches. As much as this may be true, it does not stall the daily soul-sucking grind of my 9 to 5 (7:30 to 5:30 to be accurate). I go to work miserable and come home miserable and tired. Perhaps, it would be beneficial to just get a different 9 to 5, but the problems I would leave would eventually follow me there. I would still be working to survive and not living.
I don’t know the answer to this plight, other than stepping into my calling and doing the work that I believe I was made to do. I don’t know when this will happen. But, I do think waiting for the right job is akin to waiting for the right mate. We must work on being the right person before we can worry about finding the right one. This becomes even more difficult when the job we are working shortens our patience, frustrates our emotions, and tires our bodies. When it comes to this, I have found solace in the fact that nobody looks superhuman on the road to grace. We are all stumbling, bumbling fools that eventually collapse into the grace that has been pursuing us all along. As I falter along the path towards this grace, my hope is I will stagger into the place of employment that God has specifically appointed for me, where I can find the most fulfillment, bring help to the most people, and more than anything bring Him the most glory. So tonight, I will go to sleep, with tears in my eyes and a prayer on lips, and get up in the morning and go to work at the job I hate, believing in my heart that this job is just a speed bump on the road to grace.