To say that I am one who is quick to wonder and doubt and question and wonder and fret and wonder some more would be an understatement. The second I am thrown a curveball or a question is raised in regard to a plan I thought was set in motion, I kind of tailspin.
I found out last week that I officially have just three classes left to complete my masters degree at Southern - THREE! The number was originally four, but because I switched degree tracks last semester, I was able to get one waived. One might think I immediately partied with streamers and cake, and I definitely wanted to the day I found out! But, instead, my mind fastforwarded to the next two school semesters, and I started going through a long list of questions: is December graduation possible? should I wait and complete my counseling internship by itself next spring even though that means taking an entire year to finish just three classes? should I I see if the counseling internship can be taken as independent study? would I even want to take the internship class as independent study? Once I felt as though I successfully went through the full laundry list of school-related questions, I then dove headfirst into questions pertaining to work and career: am I doing the right thing in sticking with my current job? do I want to start getting my resume out to other places more related to my field? should I wait until I am closer to actually graduating and then start sending out my resume? is my resume even good enough? do I really have the experience, though I am almost done with the masters degree, to pursue employment related to counseling? --Oh wait! I am not professionally licensed to qualify for any of the positions that would peak my interest. Then began the run-down of questions pertaining to whether or not I should pursue further education in order to receive licensure in either professional counseling or marriage and family therapy - I'll spare you that list of questions....
With all of that said, I am at a very strange place in life. I am employed with a company that has been more than flexible, and has been extremely gracious in providing both good pay and unmatched benefits. This has given me the opportunity to gain experience in a field I would have never imagined working in (and one in which I am still learning all of the many ins and outs of the energy industry). Not only has this been a stable position while completing my masters degree, but I have also been fortunate to work with other seminary students. However, due to the daily list of endless questions, I struggled everyday at work last week. All the wondering and feelings of being antsy about whatever lies ahead affected the enjoyment I had in sitting at my desk (well, I actually work at a glorified card table, but that's a non-issue). I went home every evening frustrated, venting to my husband the one new thing I discovered about my individual work or the company overall that I claimed was the cause of my utter dissatisfaction.
My husband sat down with me this weekend and we went to 1 Corinthians 15:3, 58 : "For I [Paul] delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures...Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." Think for a moment of all the innumerable things that are true in lives of believers because of Christ's death and resurrection. Think of all the many aspects of life (career, education, family, friends, trials), and then meditate on what is true in our many unique contexts. The truth is that because Christ died and was raised, we have steadfast hope; because He died, we have life that we did not claim for ourselves, but was given when He paid our ransom. We persevere in even the most mundane of daily activities, and we have purpose when those around us are striving after wind. Because He died for His beloved, His beloved do not labor in vain. Whatever work has been afforded to us has been given by the Lord.
If anything was going to pierce my heart, getting to the very core of the real issue, that was it. Not only was I shown and reminded of the Lord's sovereignty, but I was also reminded of the overwhelming (and it really is overwhelming if you stop for a second to ponder the magnitude!) hope and truth we have because of Christ. Because of Christ I am called to certain tasks for this season, and I am told to engage in those tasks with joy. Because of Christ I can interact with managers and co-workers with a purpose much greater than merely getting a work-related task accomplished. Because of Christ I can complete an Excel spreadsheet to the glory and praise of the One who has redeemed me! Though we are called to walk wisely, we also have no clue ultimately as to what's in store for our future. Therefore, with both confidence and utter dependence, we cling to Him who does know. And for now, in the moment, in the middle of the day, we rest in knowing that our labor is not in vain.