“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” Galatians 6:4 (Message)
That’s what I’m doing this week…making a careful exploration. Today I thought about some of the jobs I’ve had over the years. Jobs that actually paid me real money. I wondered if I could find some common theme. Some insight into the passions God has given me. I asked myself what I loved about the job and what I hated…this won’t take long 🙂
I was a first grade teachers assistant for seven years at the private school my children attended. During that time I took over the responsibility of the art and decorations in the classroom. I wrote and taught extra curriculum units on space and geography. I also had forty-five minutes a week when I took the class to the library and read to them. We went through all the E.B. White books, Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little and lots of others.
I loved making the classroom pretty and festive. I was energized by trying to give the kids a love of learning and a love of books. What I didn’t love however, was the math. Even first grade math made my stomach turn! I also tutored kids who had trouble reading. Break a bottle and I’ll walk barefoot on the shards but please don’t make me teach a struggling child to read!
Later, I worked for Clinique cosmetics. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My favorite thing to do there was to clean and organize the showcases. I also loved giving women makeovers and pointing out their strengths. So many women feel bad about themselves. I loved connecting with them, sometimes our makeover sessions would last an hour as the conversations got deep and personal. (Not generally smiled upon in retail!)
What I hated were the sales numbers. I felt like the ‘powers that be’ wanted me to sell people products they didn’t need. And I just couldn’t do it. Also, I hated being away from home at night and on weekends. When the fam was home I wanted to be there to make sure everybody’s fun meter was in the red!
My last (paying) job was bookkeeping at Chick Fil A. I love Chic Fil A. It’s an amazing company. But me, bookkeeping? Seriously. (Remember, I have an aversion to first grade math, who was I kidding?) I was drained after entering a million numbers into the computer. But I quickly found a way to bring some life to my days. I would come in with books on tape. I listened to the beautiful language of E.M. Forster and Somerset Maugham as I entered the boring data.
As I made this list, I felt joy bubbling up, when I touched on something I loved to do! It was fun to look back and see the common threads.
I know, by the way, the above job list isn’t impressive. I had my first baby at twenty years old. I never wanted a career. Just wanted to be a mom. What I forgot was that one day my little chicks would fling themselves out of the nest!
How about you? Have you made a careful exploration of who you are and the work you’ve been given? I’m pretty sure yours would look a lot better than mine!