Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Delight and a Joy

My husband moved into a new job earlier on in the year. The old job had been handed over to another branch of the Scottish Office to do, and, although he had the opportunity to move with the old job, he opted to take on a new challenge. I think the problem was that management, to be honest, didn’t really have another job for him to move into. So they created a new job for him. His new boss, a lawyer commissioned by the Commission, needed an administration assistant, but hadn’t really sat down and worked out exactly what assistance Joe could offer. As it was, the old job connections were proving more than a little challenging to close down. The other branch of the Scottish Office was new to Joe’s old job and the old job connections preferred dealing with someone who wasn’t new to it.

Eventually, my husband sat down and wrote out his own new job description and the goals he intended to cover in the coming year. The new boss nodded his approval and Joe settled into meeting his goals.

For about six months he had felt like a rudderless boat – drifting and directionless. Once he knew what it was he was aiming towards, he relaxed in his mind.

I do have a rudder to my boat in life’s ocean, although I act as if I am rudderless. I have a direction to head towards, but sometimes it requires me to row against the tide, and so I am inclined to drift.

Thinking about New Year’s resolutions I planned to make them vague enough so as not to put myself under pressure and to make them achievable at different levels too

1 Tim 3:1 holds my first one - “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.” I aspire not to be an overseer, but simply “to aspire to be” something. All the “aspiring” was taken out of the equation a number of years ago when someone confusing the church with a rapidly expanding business venture had us fill out forms and on the basis of the results, assigned us to a task that made best use of our skills and talents. At the time I aspired to join the worship team, but because my results didn’t swing that way I was denied access. I was firmly put into the teaching team – my day job was stretched to cover Sundays too.

The form filling has since been thrown into the bin and doors opened wider to aspire to something other than what the results say you can be. So “aspiring” is back into the mix.

I don’t think I want to aspire to one single thing in particular at the moment. I think I just want to have a “will do” kind of attitude, that doesn’t look around the room to see if there are any hands up from other people first before I make my move.

Isaiah 65:18 is my second plan. God speaks of creating a new heavens and a new earth. “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” The delight and joy refer to Jerusalem and its people, but the two words struck a chord. I have known people who have been a delight and a joy to be around. I wouldn’t say that I am quite the opposite with misery and heartache – but there are times when I am not a delight or a joy. I am somewhere in between. It is God that will do the creating in me, but I need to cooperate in His work.

My final plan comes from the chapter of a book by John Orthberg “When the Game is over….”. The title is a lot longer than that. The book is a comparison between the “Christian” game of life and principles about playing games generally. He is an entertaining writer. The chapter “Be the kind of player that people want to sit next to,” talks about monopoly. It’s not a game that I enjoy playing because I am not ruthless enough to win. However, he suggests that it is not the ruthless player that really wins in the end. They may win the game, but lose in the winning. Monopoly players, apparently, don’t like to lose to “browbeaters, insulters, know-it-alls and inconsiderate players”. I am not that kind of a winner – if I win at all, I feel very guilty. To win, someone else has to lose. The book recommends being a person that others don’t mind losing to because they don't rub anyone’s nose in it. It’s about living life graciously and dealing with people in a gracious way. It also includes losing graciously too and not bearing resentment and grudges.

I want to be that kind of a person.

What exactly did I say about vagueness and not being put under pressure? What I have written looks very sharp and precise and I see "pressure" stamped all over it.

BUT I don’t do this alone! It is God that will create these things in me if I will surrender to His hands.

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