Archive for the ‘Work’ Category
I come from a Hispanic family. Where shouting over everyone else is the ONLY way to get heard at a family party. But does anyone really listen? Its doubtful. Most likely all are waiting for the speaker to pause long enough for them to offer their own solution to the current economic crisis or the problems with the Venezuelan government. But I dont just see it in my rather loud Hispanic family. I see it everywhere. At coffeeshops, between friends, parents and children, church meetings. Everyone wants to talk, but no one wants to listen.
I think about Job and his friends with all their bad advice to him. I think they deserve credit for the one thing they did do right and we overlook.
They sat in silence with Job for seven days. They did not say a word! They were present with him in a way that I believe must have comforted him. Where did they go wrong? When they opened their mouths. Oh if they would have done more listening and less talking they could have prevented the added pain their words brought to an already suffering Job.
Listening and being silent can be more difficult than it seems.
When I was completing my internship in a community counseling center, us interns were taught the skill of listening by sitting in silence with each other for five minutes. We giggled, shifted in our chairs, diverted our attention, anything to break the silence. It was hard! Even for me, a naturally quiet person.
I learned from that exercise that silence makes people very uncomfortable. Our natural response to silence in a conversation is to fill it with words, even if they are empty ones.
As I have counseld many people in my work, I have learned something about the power of silence. When I sit there quietly, the person in front of me is given the time and space to gather their thoughts and the courage to speak them. The result is often powerful. True feelings are shared, tears allowed to flow, revelations made.
Words have their value and are most surely needed. But sometimes to just be present and let someone work through their “stuff” with you is a greater gift than any advice or words of comfort.
Silence and listening go hand in hand. We cannot listen if we are not silent.
Silence is a fence around wisdom. ~German Proverb
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. ~Proverbs 10:19
It’s a Monday not unlike others. A girl with downcast eyes and tells me what happened that weekend. She didn’t want to, he didn’t stop. After I’ve gotten home from helping her begin to sort through the aftermath of this violence, I fight to not allow the thoughts that are trying to surface. “Why did God…” I know there will be no answers, at least none easy to understand.
Soon after a friend shares with me her own suffering, and though I try to keep the word from being spoken, I ask them out loud to this person whose no stranger to them.
I ask it for me and for all the Monday-girls who’ve sat in my office.
The answer my friend gives surprises because it clicks and I have to sit for a while processing: “We are all collectively suffering the consequences of each other’s sins”. This makes sense to me. Illness, murder, war, poverty, abuse. This suffering we experience in life is in its core humanity suffering the consequences of choosing our way since the days of Eden.
My mom tells me not to ask why but accept. I think though that God can handle my questions.
I realize that when days of trouble come, as they do for everyone, I need a solid faith built on God’s truths.
But what are those truths? What does God’s Word say about the suffering we experience?
This is where my questions have led me, to His Word. I have begun to delve into the Bible to hear from God.
In the end, questions or doubts that lead us to God are a good thing, don’t you think?
So I am here, quietly reading and asking. Hoping to share in this space what I learn.
150. aunt showing off her post-chemo hair
151. laughing hard at the movies
152. family gathered
153. red shoes on sale!
154. Saturday shopping
155. my name written on the Book of Life
156. early appt canceled
157. slow Monday
158. Youth gathered to serve
159. Up on time!
160. watching “Dora” with S
161. Im worth more than many sparrows
162. group gathered sharing God’s faithfulness amidst trials
164. 8 kids in my Sunday School class
165. and their inquisitive minds
166. home early on Friday
167. her growing baby bump
168. and baby shower planning
169. that I was blind but now I see
170. aunt’s macaroni salad
171. chocolate molten lava cake
During my morning drive I find myself dreading going to work. What I do is not the part I dislike but sometimes the office politics-bureaucratic nonsense parts get to me. So Im rushing to get to work on time not wanting to get there at all this particular morning.
I tell myself God is with me as I pull into the parking lot.
God is with me.
If He is with me then He is here? At the office? (Bare with me, sometimes the simplest realities elude me)
And doesn’t that make this a holy place?
This place where years of prayers were answered when overwhelmed in a previous job. This place where God opened doors for me only He could. This is the place I get to carry out what I’ve always wanted to do; what I feel called to do.
I ask God to forgive my poor attitude and ingratitude. Because we get used to the good real quick and forget the bad God brought us out of.
Yes, this is holy ground I walk in. Because everywhere I am, God comes.
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5
Many people are walking a ground they’d rather not. Yet what if daily we became aware that God inhabits all the places of our lives?
Im like Jacob, waking up a realization.
Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it. Gen 28:16
Every step I take in life will be in holy ground because God is in every place.
The blessings of this past week
115. flowers waiting in my room
116. sermon on drive to work on just the topic I was struggling with
117. beating heart
119. this truth: So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.Hebrews 4:16
120. family’s joy over good news
121. sticky cinnamon roll
122. strawberry field
Dear Lost One,
Today you sat before me in tears and asked what the point of all this living was. The hate, selfishness, destruction is all you perceive and so see no hope. You tell me there is no God. You ask me to show you the good in people but I can tell my answers do not satisfy you.
Can I tell you?
You are right, there is so much ugly. But oh can you look closer and see there is beauty too? And that the beauty is proof of a very real God?
There is One who loves you and understands your disillusion; He’s disappointed with humanity too!
And so he sent Hope for you. He calls this Hope Jesus. In Him we can see beyond the death and destruction. We can see the good that shines among us through Him because we are his workmanship, created to be like Him.
If he is good (he is), if he is love (he is), then can we not expect to see some of that in his own creation?
I cannot give you any hope beyond what He gives. But it is more than enough:
—–That one day the ugly will stop and so will your tears and finally those who have believed will get to live in what we were created for: Perfect communion with our Creator in a land of full of life and everything beautiful. Until then we hold on to the hope of this one day and look out for glimpses of His beauty here on earth.
If you would open your heart, then you too can find Hope.
When did you know what career path you wanted to take? For me it was elementary school and seeing the nice school counselor help the children. That’s what I want to do I thought, help. And so from that moment on I didn’t think twice about the age-old question “what will you be when you grow up?”
I became a social worker.
But today I sit in doubt. What am I doing? I can’t help these people! I am in need of help myself. If they knew! If they knew me what would they say?
I pick up my Bible and read about when God speaks to Jeremiah. He speaks to me.
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. -Jeremiah 1:4-8
As I read I insert my own excuses, my doubts for Jeremiah’s. I listen to what God responds. “You must go… I command you… Do not be afraid” And then I begin to understand that it is not about me at all but about the God who has called me to do this thing of reaching out to the hurting even as I hurt.
I am no perfect vessel yet he never has demanded me to be. Instead he asks for obedience. Go. Be. Do.
What do you believe God has called you to? What doubts keep you from stepping out?