Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In Everything You Do: Genesis 21: 22-32

I haven't been writing because I didn't even know where my Bible was for about two weeks (it was under a bunch of library books, not far from where I sat obsessing and reading said books).

I haven't cared where the Bible was because I've been agitated and depressed, simultaneously.

I've been agitated and depressed because I haven't bothered to do any of the things that make me feel like life is worth living, really. Or, because I have been trying so doggedly to do the right thing, the good thing, the thing that will make me feel that my particular life is justified. Is earned, maybe, rather than a gift over which I have no real control?

The crux of my current malaise comes down to: I've been offered an interesting job, a job at which I think I would learn and grow a lot, and job that would allow me to continue with my nursing program, get some more administrative experience, get to know more about urban education, get to make some more money and pay off some of our loans and maybe afford to foster a child, to have a child. Maybe explore social work school, maybe have more volunteer opportunities. But -- definitely -- have to come to terms with working a Real Grown Up, not world-saving job.

Granted, I'd be ensuring that a new crop of teachers gets trained to teach. I'd be managing a program I believe in.

But I wouldn't be anyone's personal Jesus Christ.

The thing is, you know, I'm not that anyway.

Not to sound like the chick from Jesus Camp, but I prayed about this. Broken from bingeing and purging for the past week, I'm just, like, Hagar-ing it up, here. Just saying: God. Please. Please, God. Show me the right thing to do. Help me to pull it together. Cause fuck if I can do it on my own, you know?

And here's this little Abraham anecdote, which, when I first read it, seems to be totally pointless. He's just chilling with the Philistines: giving them lambs, digging wells, and what? What does this have to do with God's Work (can I get a tm?) What does this have to do with my current obsessions of Helping People and Being a Good Person?

And it's like, not much. Because Abraham, by this point, is at least moderately over himself. A stance one might heartily recommend to me.

This guy Phicol -- presumably not a scholar or priest of the Jewish God -- sees Abraham, who is a businessman, who is not running a free after school program or starting community service projects, and he says: God is with you in everything you do. I don't really know much about your God, but I can see that.

God is not waiting until what you do counts as service or seems selfless or anything else. God is with you in what you are doing, right now. God loves you -- not because you are engaged in a Noble Profession, not because you are concretely saving the world. God. loves. you. God has you here, running a household, trading and traveling and doing this not-overtly-service-oriented thing, for a reason. God wants you here, doing this, because He's got a plan in mind. A plan that doesn't so much involve you sounding impressive at a reunion or going to sleep self-satisfied or looking back on all you have accomplished.

God wants you here, doing this: being honest, showing kindness, handling disagreements with grace. Calling in My Name.

Doing good things, things that need to be done, is important. But doing things because they make you sound like a better person, is dumb. What if I need to be at this job because I'm going to meet someone who needs something I can give them, or because it will let me volunteer, or become a nurse, or afford a child? What if I need to shut up and stop this calculus of What is the Most Noble Work I can do and think, honestly, about what seems like the next best move? And trust it is happening this way for a reason? And remember that my relationship with God is infinitely more my business than is proving that I'm a Good Person?

If I can just fucking listen, and obey, for like, fifteen minutes -- rather than obsessing -- I may actually find that God is with me in everything I do. I just have to get over myself a little bit in order to see Him.