The Day I Stopped Hating My Job

I cried and cried and cried about my job for what seems like months.

I Facebook chatted with my friend who had just started her entry level job and hated hers too.

Are all 20-somethings straight out of college this unhappy? I asked myself that question every day.

I desperately searched for purpose. I felt useless, like I was just taking up space on the planet and not making one ounce of a difference.

I had gone from excelling in high school then in college to being at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom.

I’ve never not had to work for things – I worked my tail off in high school and in college to succeed. The difference? In high school and college, when I worked for something, it generally paid off and I was rewarded with a status or reward or grade or just a “well done, you’re awesome.” It was rare to bust my tail and not get something quickly in return.

Starting that first job out of college, you can expect to work and work and work and a there might not be a soul who notices.

Chances are, you’ll feel like you might stay at the bottom forever and life will never pick up – I promise that’s not true.

You may not even be doing anything close to what you went to school for or what you thought you’d be doing. Most people right out of college don’t hop right into their dream job.

I lived at home to save money and was commuting an hour both ways every morning at 4 a.m. I was waking up at 3 a.m. I mostly slept and tried to see friends and hang out with my parents when I wasn’t exhausted.

I can’t express how unhappy I was. I was desperately searching for a new job.

I cried out to God over and over and was so confused as to why He kept me there and let me be miserable.

I was so focused on my unhappiness that I lost my focus on His joy.

Doesn’t that happen a lot though? We start dwelling on something we are unhappy with instead of looking around and taking a big wiff of all 200 roses around us.

(Source: Unsplash/Oscar Keys)

(Source: Unsplash/Oscar Keys)

Why do we have so many blessings but choose to look at the one thing we see as a negative?

I remember trying so hard to find meaning and purpose and I tried to do a good job at work so that maybe I would love it more.

I’m not sure what day it happened or what happened in me, but my attitude and my heart began to change.

We are called to work, no matter what that work is, as if we are working for God, not man. We can’t work to find pleasure and joy that only God can give us because we will never succeed.

When I started seeing each day at work as a gift instead of a burden, things started changing. I started viewing every little conversation differently. I was there for a reason, and sometimes that reason was just to put a smile on someone’s face.

I was the low man on the totem pole, but that humbled me so much. I was working hard every day, but that didn’t mean I was climbing. The working world is not a world of instant gratification, and in a world where Instagram reigns, that’s hard for us to get used to.

I talk to people every single day who are struggling at their first job or even their second job out of college. Going from a life where every day feels like a party to a life where the party has to stop to get work done is such a rude awakening, and I know how rude it is.

There are people who have been working for 30 years who still may not be exactly where they want to be or where they thought they would be, but working is not what this life is about.

I started focusing on my life outside of work – my friends and family, people in general, my community, the city I was placed in, and more importantly my relationship with God. I got plugged in at church and in the community and met people I’ll never live without.

And that’s when I started loving my job and it felt like my job loved me back. 

Life is about loving God and loving people. THAT’S IT. If we can take that and apply it at the place we have been called to work and serve, everything will fall into place so beautifully.

I didn’t move up right away at work. I kept doing my best at my low, entry level job and just started finding the beauty in it. I got better at it and prayed for God to open doors.

Boy did He open some doors.

I was given opportunities that only He could have orchestrated. There is no way I could have done it and no reason anyone should have let me do it. He was guiding me through doors and then knocking down more.

I hit my knees and cry out in thankfulness so often for what He has done for me, not just professionally, but in my life in general.

My job isn’t perfect and it has its ups and downs. I have really bad days and really good days. There are days I want to quit and days I can’t wait to be back.

I used to be envious of so many girls my age with other jobs. I just knew they were making so much more money and living fabulous, happy, cool, awesome lives. And then I would talk to them and find out how much they were struggling too.

The grass is never greener guys. We HAVE to water our own yard and plant our own seeds because God gave us the grass right in front of us, not the lot across the street. And that was for a very large purpose.

You matter. Your job matters. Your life matters.

What you’re doing is making a difference in some way, whether you think so or not.

And the good news: You will always be where you are supposed to be.

If you are listening to God and heeding to His will, He is leading you right along, I promise. He promises (which counts way more than my promise).

Chances are, you won’t be at your first job forever. But if you are, then you will have so much joy in being there forever!

Even better news: This world is not our home. Our real job here is to love and show people Jesus. That’s all.

Use where you are to be a light and be a vessel. If you want to be somewhere else and truly believe you should be, just pray. All you have to do is ask, and in His time,  you’ll find a door swinging wide open.

Don’t be discouraged and don’t feel worthless. You’re not the only one going through this. Life knocks you down as soon as you step into the real world, but you just have to get up and get back to it.

Meet people. Love people. Love life. And just love Jesus. He will see to it that all the rest comes together for your good.

Press on. You’re doing great.

 

Angel Mocha Latte

He sends us angels and He sends us to be angels…

I think God gives us angels here on earth. They aren’t always necessarily our family or very best friends, but they leave handprints on our hearts and give us a peace that can only be from God. 

I have a friend that I don’t really get to see a lot, but every single time I see her, I just feel great. If I’ve had a bad day, she immediately makes it better without even knowing she does. 

We go on coffee dates every couple of weeks. It began last semester as just an “every so often” kind of thing. We later found out that we had both gone through a lot of stuff that matched up that semester. We had never discussed anything we were going through; we always just talked. We talked about life. We talked about scripture. We talked about God. She encouraged me in a way I had never been encouraged. She told me all the beautiful things about me that I rarely heard. 

I cherish her more than she knows. I do a lot of listening when we meet up and I love that the most. She’s helped me grow and helped me learn how to love myself. 

I had such a bad yesterday. Nothing terribly bad happened; I was just so down because of some discouraging things said about me on a petty social media site. I knew it was so stupid, but it made me sad nonetheless. I invest a lot in words, so the words of others have a strong effect on me.

It’s easy for me to tell someone else to focus on God’s words rather than others, but I can’t seem to do it myself. 

Right after I had read the rude comment, my friend walked in the room. It’s like I wasn’t even controlling my mouth or words. I immediately asked her to go get coffee without even thinking. I was so comforted by her presence. She said yes, of course, and we met for coffee as planned.

As soon as I sat down, she said, “How are you? You look stressed.” I smiled and told her I was fine, but I knew she knew. Although I had planned to immediately tell her about the petty drama bothering me, I didn’t. She immediately went into scripture. She read me verses about being adopted into His kingdom and living in glory that we have been chosen for. She said it was so cool to be known as God’s daughter. And I think it is really cool too. It’s the coolest thing about me or anyone else I know. I love that. 

Just like my parents brag about me, God brags about His children. He thinks I’m great even when someone else might not, even when I might not.

My friend kept encouraging me to live out my position in Christ. She expressed her awe of His giving of this position and how spectacular it is that his love is never stagnant; it’s always being given. I teared up while she talked and she didn’t even notice because she was so into His word. It was beautiful. It was a rare moment that I will never forget.

I eventually told her what was bothering me. I started crying because my feelings were still so hurt. She looked so sad for me. She looked so sad that anyone would be that mean ever. I felt her compassion from across the table. 

She told me something she tells me so often. “There are so many beautiful things about you that completely overpower any of your flaws and God handcrafted you just like He handcrafted everyone else specifically. You are so loved and bring love to so many people you meet without even knowing it. You mean a lot to a lot of people and you have something about you that makes other people feel comfortable and important. So, don’t think about what some jealous person says. Think about what God says about you.” She then told me I needed people to be that audible voice that relays His thoughts of me so that I could rest in that every day.

She didn’t even realize that she was that voice. She is always that voice. He has given me her encouraging voice to keep pushing me.

I cried and thanked her for always being that person for me. I told her that although I have low self-esteem anyway, maybe the comment was just another tool to humble me.

She looked almost angry and said, “Don’t let Satan lie to you. Humility is not low confidence. You can’t listen to Him. I want you to get down on your knees and get desperate for God’s thoughts and words and stop making the thoughts of others a god.”

It was so honest and so loving and so true. We dwell so much on what everyone thinks about us– if we are good enough, pretty enough, cool enough, skinny enough, or popular enough. No matter what it is, it’s never enough. Luckily, God is enough and we don’t have to be.  Living for the majority can be an idol–a dangerous idol.

Within 15 minutes, she had encouraged me, showed me my struggles, taught me, and made me feel beautiful all at once. She was an angel in that moment and she has been in so many other moments. 

I am certain that God sends people to us to be our angels. I am certain that He sends us to be angels to others, and we may never know when we have served as one. 

Always be prepared to be someone’s angel because you never know who you’ve been assigned to.

My dear friend has been assigned to me, and I am so thankful. We might not talk every day. We might not go shopping together or stay up all night talking about boys, but we share something special. 

We share a coffee table, we share words, and we share love. 

I sure am glad my guardian angel likes lattes as much as I do. 

That Girl

We’ll always be searching for that if we don’t stop and learn to love this…

We spend our lives trying to be something. Everyone wants to be a different something but we all work day in and day out to be that something– to be that teacher that everyone loves, to be the preacher that brings everyone to God, to be the most popular person in school, to be the CEO of the best firm, to be the hot mom that everyone wants to be, to be the best football player in the state, to be the best server at the best restaurant…the list goes on. 

Unless you’re Beyonce, someone will always be better. How discouraging is that? You will NEVER be good enough. That’s what I’ve always lived by, and I think the majority of the world is right there with me. No matter how great I am, I could always be better. I could always act better, look better, weigh less, have prettier skin, have better clothes, make a better grade, and just be a better person.

I’ve just always wanted to be “that girl” — that girl that everyone loves, that girl that every guys wants to date and every girl wants to be, that girl that is always kind even when it’s hard, that girl that has the prettiest figure and hair and eyes and skin etc., that girl that has it so easy all the time, that girl that no one every says a bad word about, that girl that’s friends with everyone, that girl that wakes up looking like a model, that girl that’s so mysterious that everyone wants to find out more about her, that girl that shows her love for God and others at all times, that girl that shows confidence and humility at the same time, that girl that doesn’t care what anyone thinks because she loves every detail of her life in its entirety. 

That is a long list of requirements to be “that girl.” I’ve realized that every single person has a different list. Every single person has a different “that” that they wish they were. Everyone wants something they don’t have simply because it’s different. Everyone has flaws they dwell on and inner turmoil they deal with. That makes us all the same. And isn’t that beautiful?

We think we’ll never be good enough, but the good news is we never have to be because there is no such thing as “good enough.” 

There will always be someone that is “that” to us  no matter where we are in life. It has been a constant since pre-school and it will always remain so. The best we can do is embrace “that” and find “that” in everyone we meet. To find a “that” characteristic in everyone that crosses your path helps you grow and improve and helps you find beauty in everyone and everything. 

There are people you will meet that break you down and make you wish you were anyone but you. Those people are running the hardest from who they are. They most likely think of you as “that” and want to pick you apart to find that you really aren’t all that great. Those are the people that need the most love from you, and that will grow you more than anything in the world ever could. 

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as “that girl” or “that guy.” The girl that seems to have it all most likely does not and even the perfect couple has their fights. Even the people that really have it together wish they were a little better. If you’re quiet, you wish you were louder, and if you’re loud, you wish you were quiet, but God dispersed the outgoing and the introverted evenly throughout the world on purpose. Embrace your personality and the way you look because there is no one else in the world that can compare. So, it’s really a waste to wish to be someone else because it can absolutely never happen. 

I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for anyone that reads it. It’s exhausting to try to fight the person God intended you to be. He intended you to be exactly how you are and THAT is all that. 

We have to stop searching for that and learn to love this because this is always the best it will ever be and that’s something to celebrate daily. 

Sarcastic Love

I love him but I don’t have to like him…

You have to love your neighbors, but you don’t have to like them, right? Well is that really love at all?

Okay so I’ll paint this picture for you. A small studio room downtown. No lights on. Only the sound of the guitar and voices singing praise to God are audible. People sitting in chairs, on a couch, and in the floor. Every once in a while, between songs, someone would speak.

A boy I had never seen started talking. “We’ve always heard that we have to love people, but we don’t have to like them. God loves us AND likes us. So how can we say that we don’t like people, but we love them. I guess you could call that…well…sarcastic love.”

A light bulb went off in my head. I had done that my whole life without meaning to. People that were mean to me or made me feel bad about myself–I loved them because I had to, because I was commanded to, not because I really loved them. And that is sarcastic love. Loving them almost as a joke. Loving them to make yourself look like a good person. Love is only real when you truly find something about that person that you admire and adore. Everyone has SOMETHING to love, so find it and like it.

Sarcastic love boy talked about the construction workers he worked with. He said some of them were “rough guys that would curse you out when you messed up.” He said, “I said I loved them but I didn’t like being around them. So, I learned to really love them and love to be around them because what comes out of them won’t rub off one me, what comes out of me will rub off on them. My light will shine on them when I truly do love them.”

What he said changed my life forever. Now, when the girl that gives me dirty looks walks by, instead of pretending to love her, I will make an effort to find something to love and show her my love. Sarcastic love is not God and God IS love. He loves us AND likes us and that is very cool. We have to do the same in order to love like He does.

Sarcastic love boy at the impromptu worship service, thank you. Thank you for changing my life and my heart. Sarcastic love will be no more. After all, isn’t there truth in sarcasm sometimes? I’ll find the truth in any of the sarcastic love I’ve ever poured out so I can turn it into compassionate, genuine love.