Monday, September 5, 2011

Working on Labor Day

It's Labor Day and I'm at work. The school doesn't shut down so we can choose to take the holiday the Friday before, today, or bank it for later but today I've denied myself a day of rest. It's the 9th month of the year and I have 11.5 personal days left to use in the next 3 months. I'm so stingy with my "days off." I'm always afraid I will need them later or something will come up so I want to save them for a "rainy day". 

Today in a blog from Steven Furtick, he cites Leviticus 16:31:
It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
What am I denying myself? Well, today I'm denying myself the opportunity to be curled up on the couch with a blanket and my kindle, maybe an afternoon nap, and a lazy day to myself. Wait a second. Back up. Let's be honest - I have a 3 year boy. There's no such thing as a "lazy day to myself." And while I love the thought of a good book, the truth is I have about a dozen of partially read books all started or browsed through with good intentions but no follow through. It's not that I don't have the ability to read a book in its entirety. But when those big brown eyes are looking longingly at me with the plea of "Mommy, you wanna come outside?" I just simply can't deny him. So yes, this is me denying myself.

Furtick gives another thought about the illusion that I have to work to keep the world working. In my "world" of the Career Center, I have tricked myself into believing this to be true. The reality is if I'm not here, not working, students will still get resume assistance, career counseling, internships registered and professional development training. In all actuality, my work isn't in vain but it certainly isn't because of me. Am I appreciated? Sure. After all, my job doesn't change lives, I do (affirmed by the "You Matter" campaign adopted by the University).

So if I take that to heart, if I change lives, then it is a part from my job, a part from my ministry, a part from my talents, a part from my skills, a part from my words...simply said, a part from anything I "do" but who I "am." Or rather, Whose I am.

So once again the idea of denying myself comes into play if I am truly His. If I want to follow Him, I must deny myself and take up my cross (Luke 9:23). What am I denying? My hopes, my dreams, my plans, my will, my efforts, my thoughts, my failures, my successes. Now before you think that sounds depressing, stay with me. Denying all of these things that I hold onto will allow me to make room for His plans for my life, His purpose for those around me, His strength perfected in my weakness, His righteousness replacing my filthy rags, His will being done. Taking up my cross may be the load I bear, the thorn in my side, the burden I've received, the trial I face, the temptation seeking to entice me, the persecution I endure, or the failures I've experienced.

So I'm at work today, denying myself a day off, saving it for another "rainy day" but learning a lesson in the process. I want to be in the position to deny myself of what I want and take up what He wants and follow Him. I'm thankful for a Labor Day at work.

 

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