Whew! Have things ever been crazy. Since starting this job and trying to continue meeting with the girls on the weekends I feel like I have no time. It makes me appreciate the moments I do have to myself, and long for just a little bit of solitude. But God has been teaching me a lot and I am so thankful to have income, even though I don't particularly enjoy my work. He's reminding me that His greatest desire for me is to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, and that some times you have to experience difficult or uncomfortable things in order for that to happen. This job often makes me uncomfortable, sometimes it's even made me cry (I'm a bit of a marshmallow), but I'm starting to look at it like a workout: if it's not hard you're not going to see any change.
I'm also learning a lot about my attitude. This lesson is two fold really. The first part came with the realization that joy and even happiness are entirely based on attitude. Romans 12:2 talks about how we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that if we do so we will be able to test and approve of God's will. I doubt I could do a great job of really fleshing this verse out, but what it's taught me lately is that I need to allow God to renew and change my mind that I might view the world through His eyes. When He does this, by teaching me about Who He is and what His purpose is, I will begin to understand that His plan is a) for His glory, b) for my good (read, being conformed to the likeness of His Son), and c) much bigger than my little story. When I begin to understand this, how can I possibly be anything but joyful? A hard circumstance comes along and rather than moan and complain I can thank God because I know He is good and sovereign and that there is purpose in it. Of course, I don't always remember this and find myself grumbling and complaining way more often than I should, but when I do I find my emotions set above my circumstances, I find myself joyful.
The second part of this lesson in attitude has come with the realization that I love to believe myself the victim. It's always someone else's fault, people are always against me, and I am always in the right. Sound ego-centric and insane? Of course it is, but then our thoughts, or at least mine are very subtle, they trick me into believing that they are true when they are really absurd! For example, I make a mistake at work and I'm chewed out for it. My automatic response is to make excuses and grumble about the unfairness of the reaction dumped on me. "I'm still new"... "I wasn't really trained that well"... "He/she's just a bitter jerk". See that? Rather than taking responsibility for my mistake I make myself a victim and the other person a criminal. Rather than using the situation to improve, I use it to throw a pity party. The worst part of this is that I murder the one who reacted to my mistake by turning them into the antagonist in my plot by ripping them to shreds in my mind. Even if the way they handled the situation was unfair, my response is equally so! Did they yell at me? Were they sarcastic? Were they unfair? So what!? How many excuses did I just make for myself when I screwed up? How can I not offer them the same leeway I offer myself? I am now the one being unfair and unjust.
Don't read this wrong. The idea could certainly be misunderstood and misused very easily. I'm not learning that I should excuse sin or that I should never be bothered when someone does me wrong, nor am I saying that I'm right in excusing my mistakes or sins in the first place. Rather, I'm learning that I need to show a little mercy on others by seeing my own sinfulness more clearly. I need to stop seeing myself as a victim pitted against this other person and start seeing myself as this persons fellow criminal. I know I'm not explaining this well. After reading anything by C.S. Lewis (lately I've been trying to finish The Weight of Glory) I typically feel like my prose and logic are clumsy at best. But let me try and end this post with an explanation of what I mean. Like this other person, I rebelled against the God of creation, the One by Whom and for Whom all things were made. Like this other person, whoever they are, I fall painfully short of the standard of God's perfection and deserve nothing but condemnation. And like this other person, I am in desperate need of grace. Furthermore, because I have received grace by means of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, how dare I not offer grace to those I perceive as my enemies? That is a great sin indeed.
So though I struggle with being a receptionist, though I often find it uncomfortable and difficult to be in this particular circumstance, God is teaching me a LOT and I am incredibly thankful. Pray that He will continue to conform me to the likeness of His Son and that rather than always play the victim, I will see my own sin in stark contrast to His perfection.