Gifts and Risks

I find myself in a balancing act that just leave me exhausted – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. When we moved to this new area, I needed a job. I spent months applying to anything and everything I could find in online or in print – I sent in hundreds of applications. But, it turns out, I’m overqualified for 99.9% of those positions. I have too much experience. Too much eduction. Too much specialty in one area and not enough life experience in others. Factor in the fact that, because our family has moved so much in the past several years for reasons beyond my control, I’ve not been able to hold any of the jobs on my resume more than 1 year – long story short, I got turned down by dollar stores and non-profits alike, and all for the same reasons.

It was utterly rejecting and demoralizing. But I eventually found myself interviewing for a position that I currently hold part-time. And a year later I was approached about working with the local school part-time. I work both jobs, and I’m exhausted all of the time because neither of them uses my gifts and talents as completely as they could be used. Because there isn’t much (if any) wriggle room for me to move into a different position without further exhaustion. Because I’m afraid to give one – or both – up. I’m afraid to trust – to hope – that the sacrifice would pay off when so often in the recent years of my experience, such sacrifices have left me reeling.

Ephesians 4:7-16 reads (NRSV):
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

These are the words that sit in my head this morning – the challenge I find as I am frustrated with the exhaustion of two jobs and fear of change. What was I gifted with? I’ve lost sight of it. I used to say that my role was that of a pastor – a reluctant one, but that none the less. And yet, just as I acknowledged that call and stopped fighting God, I found myself reeling from more circumstances beyond my control. I’m still reeling, but the sharp pain has dulled and time has moved on – but to revisit these words – to own them and discover them within myself – scares me. Puts me in a place of having to take ownership again of God’s gifts in my life. Puts me in a place of being held accountable for how I use them – in what I do. And that terrifies me. And exhausts me.

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