Recently, I passed up a career opportunity that might have made me a more valuable and reputable employee. The job involved being present in the Mount Pleasant community, listening to what people who lived there needed, figuring out how the library can support those needs without requiring these people to come to the library, and finding ways to demonstrate that the library is an accessible resource for ALL people (I have dubbed this process as “library evangelism”).

After a week of thinking it through, praying about it, and talking it over with some people, I decided not to pursue it, although I was highly qualified. I figured it was still a more purposeful investment of my personhood and time (i.e. my life as a whole) to stay in my current department, at least for a few more years. I still like the job (and the lifestyle it affords me) very much, and I still have a lot to learn about the craft of what I do. The major deciding factor, however, was the relationships that I had formed over the past few years. My colleagues are important to me, and I felt called to remain so that I can continue investing in my relationships with them. So that I may live my life worshipfully (i.e. to worship God authentically), I want to be a blessing to the people in my department. Given that I’m fallible and human, I’m not sure what being a blessing will always look like, or if what I do really counts for anything, but the least I can offer is to be open and present to being a conduit of His blessing.

This sort of reasoning may sound crazy, even backwards, especially because it’s not really the way “the world” thinks, but then, Christ held an upside-down view of things. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if I went down a route inspired by values of worldliness, I would burn out from trying to be more important than my limitations could handle, that I would (literally) die trying to earn significance and self-importance. And what good would I be to anyone then?

So Nick encouraged me to see my current job as “tent-making,” in the Paul-ine fashion, and I am coming to see my work as that. But it is hard. It is hard not to compare myself to the seeming success and “glory” of others and feel like a loser. What I chosen to give up is in fact a loss of some sort, and it hurts. I have shed a surprising amount of tears because working this thing out revealed a faith crisis that has been waiting to happen for a while now.

But who ever said following Christ was easy.

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