I’ve been asking myself questions about work lately.
If it is the place …….then I spend a lot of time at work.
If it is responding to my call……then I’m happily engaged in living out my vocation.
If it is sustained effort to overcome obstacles or accomplish set goals……..then I spend way too much time chasing squirrels!
One of those squirrels is called, “Lunch”. Lunch isn’t really a little rodent with a bushy tale. In our church/school office, lunch is a major topic of conversation, decision-making, fetching, and time. Lunch is great fun here. But sometimes I feel like lunch was the most successful part of my day when I’m pretty sure enjoying lunch is not my true calling or the reason for my employment!
Our building is another squirrel. I check things, monitor, turn off lights, check paper towel dispensers, and watch for water leaks on a daily basis. I participate in service call decisions, maintenance choices, and recently brought Buster, our black lab, to chase an actual squirrel out of the CLC. I’m frequently hopping up to see about something with the building, whether I need to or not.
Squirrel number 3 is my own distractedness. Any little thing and my attention zooms to whatever is bright, shiny, noisy, busy, fun or dramatic. If all else fails, there is always a game of Sudoku waiting……..again, not my real work.
Squirrel number 4: Worry. Do you spin scenarios in your imagination and then get upset about them? Sometimes I wonder if I try to imagine every bad possibility as an assurance that whatever I imagine won’t happen. That is superstition – not faith. It is also my biggest, orneriest squirrel. I’m tempted to name him “Demon”!
Squirrel number 5: Trying to make people happy. This squirrel just laughs at me because all my efforts are futile. People choose their own outlook and their own response to circumstances. I can’t make anyone happy even though they may love for me to try. I can, however, choose my own outlook and response. We have responsibility for our own happiness.
These are just a few of my squirrels. What squirrels are you chasing these days?
It takes intention and energy to identify and move past obstacles. And it takes thought, intention, and discipline to set goals. So……I’m going to smile at the squirrels, discourage their interruptions, and put my head down to the work of the church. Sermon work, chapel services, newsletters, bulletins, community prayer, lectionary group, pastoral counseling, visits, frequent communication, worship planning, personal prayer and continuing education - truly work I love. The squirrels are just going to have to do without me!
Rev. Marcia Hagee
She graduated from Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology and Religion. She earned her M. Div at Phillips Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).