Today is one of those days where the Spirit is moving in me.. or at least I am awake to it.
I woke up early because I started a networking group for professionals in my industry and today was our second meeting. I brought in a speaker who I knew would cause some rumble in the people present. At these meetings I am present with a lot of people who I have worked with in the past. I was thinking about who was going be in attendance today and my history with them.
I have had three employers in the first 10 years of career work. Sometimes I wrestle with myself about this fact. There is a lot of dialogue about millennials and our inability to commit. As I was milling about some thoughts on this, in through the side door of my head came this epiphany that knocked all of the other milling to a halt. All of the narratives I have created about my job changes are wrong. The truth is that I move on when employers ask me to settle. I love the wilderness. I don’t settle. I am a seeker. I demand growth and wrestling. I won’t limit that about myself. It’s my “muchness” as Glennon would say. I won’t unmuch myself for an employer. What’s interesting about this is that employers deploy people like myself and the speaker for today’s meeting to get their employees to be more productive. It’s kind of ironic.
According to Gallup, only 15% of employees world-wide are engaged in their work. The stats in America are more dismal. Here is the thing . . . . you can’t keep asking your employees to settle, to quiet that inner voice they have that says “there’s more” and expect they aren’t going to disengage. You can’t unmuch people and expect they won’t become dull and uninspired.
People are messy.
It’s what makes them wild, it’s what motivates them to do LIFE. Without the voice that whispers, “there’s more,” they might be neat and tidy in your workplace . . . well, actually that’s a ridiculous myth. People who have lost their muchness are messy too. Furthermore, they are messy in sometimes wickedly unhealthy ways because without a place to channel all that energy in healthy, innovative, living, breathing, work, they can place it in destructive behaviors. It’s messy either way.
There is no neat and tidy. It’s a myth. Quit expecting your employees to just be neat and tidy shells of themselves that don’t bring their muchness. You can have neat and tidy when you remove the soul from people and numb them to robot status. But we are alive. We are living, breathing, loving, beings. If you want us to engage in work, you have to engage all those parts of us.
So this is my work in the world. The meeting with my industry colleagues went so well that people who work for insurance companies were wrestling with what it means to lead compassionate, respectful relationships!! I asked the speaker if we could have a conversation about me doing some work with his company. He said yes. Before I tell you the rest of the conversation let me tell you about a few other ways the Spirit is speaking to me these days.
I have been wrestling with the idea of external discernment and why I haven’t received more open doors in the work I have done. My husband noted the same thing for himself. I said, “Well, we need to keep asking God to show us the invitation.” We pulled into the church parking lot to drop off some toys and clothes to be donated. Minutes after, a car pulled in. A man explained that he and his family were living out of their car. My husband offered to follow him to the gas station to fill his tank. On the way home, my daughters had a lot of questions about this man’s need and our response. We invited them to say a prayer. Their prayers brought tears to our eyes.
I sat there in awe of the invitation. The invitation was not to a career path, or a blog post, a board of directors, consulting, or anything we thought it might be. The invitation was to respond to this man. The invitation was to lead our daughters. The invitation was to work together. Two nights after that I was laying in bed reflecting on this and wondering what it all meant. Half asleep I heard, “Put down the mantle.” Huh? “Take your rest.” Still half asleep, I thought, well that’s interesting. I have been asking for rest. And I fell asleep.
This morning I decided to change the narrative about my work history. I keep moving because I won’t concede my muchness, instead of the belief that I am weak or too flightly to settle. I sat there in today’s presentation listening to this person speak, realizing how similar our work really is. I asked him if I could come work along side him and he invited me to leverage my work. To which I replied, “I am still building this work. You have it built. I want to put down my yoke and you have a need for help. I have strengths that can be applied to your work. Let’s have a conversation.”
I drove home. I was thinking about another individual who I suggested working alongside and wondering if it was possible to work with both. At home, while making a salad for lunch, I got a text from the president of the national wellness organization about an upcoming, exclusive leadership retreat I had been invited to. He told me he had two openings still and wanted to know if one of the people I was just thinking about might want to come. I said “yes!!” Then I told him that he should consider inviting the other. They are both being invited. That’s a thing that happened.
I drove to the library on cloud nine. I walked in, in search of my favorite work spot and I passed a chair filled with coins. I chuckled. I decided to pick up the coins and believe that God was reminding me that she is in this with me and my needs will be met. I turned the corner to find my favorite spot still open, a rare gift. On my way to my seat, I passed a man who is likely suffering from homelessness. I sat my stuff down, walked back to him and told him that I found all of this change. He said it wasn’t his. I told him I wanted to give it to him anyway.
That’s the invitation. The spirit can keep moving my life in big ways and I can wrestle in all my muchness. I am wild and holy. And those closest to me will tell you that some days my muchness comes with a lot of wrestle and lamenting and wailing. It’s my messy process. Neat and tidy are a myth. God’s things for me are bigger than I can imagine. God’s things are so big that I will get the rest I need while growing and expanding and moving to the next bigger thing. I just have to show up in the invitation.