This morning, things were not off to such a great start. I cried all the way to church. Halfway there, I actually considered pulling over and crying on the side of the road instead of going to New City. I knew that the voice saying to hide from my loving church family couldn't be God's, so I just kept driving downtown and tried to pull myself together.
Keith preached about slaves & masters as described in Ephesians 5 (continuing our series in this excellent letter by Paul). It made me think of my job downtown at Michael's on Mulberry.. how I have tried to do my best work to glorify God and honor my friend and pastor who recommended me for the position almost immediately after I lost my job at ALD. I've tried to keep God at the center of my focus every minute I'm there--major difference in my usual approach to work, which is to do what I can to seem like the perfect worker. Not this year. Even in the little things like making our little vat of sweet tea every day are a chance for me to ask for God's help and strength. As I pour the tea from the maker into the vat, I say, "God, please help me lift this up and not to make a mess." As I go through my section, I ask Him to help me to notice each of my customers' needs immediately. And every day I have asked him to help me honor my pastor's reputation since he recommended me to the owners.
While thinking of all this, toward the end of the sermon, I was suprised to hear Keith say my name as one of two examples (though imperfect) of how to live distinctly as a Christian employee. My boss called him this past week to see if New City had any more people in need of work, because the last person he hired from there (me) was such a pleasant and hard worker. It was incredibly uplifting. He had no idea that I was having a difficult morning (I was feeling sad about my decision to leave my volunteer position at YoungLife and that Dan had not "felt like" coming to church with me today). That affirmation and knowledge that my prayers at work had been answered.
Josh (the first person he held up as an example) led us in worship after that, and while we sang "I Surrender All", I repented of my discouragement and lack of trust in God. I turned the pain over to Him, all the big and small parts of it, and remembered that I am here first to worship and glorify Him. Everything else is out of my control. How easy it is to focus on worship when I remember that my focus on worshipping God is just about the only thing in this life I can control.