Changing Seasons

I have a short fuse these days, and it seems to only be getting shorter. I feel like I’m blowing up at too many things. And too often. I’m not stopping to think about the consequences of what I might be saying to others. I’m not stopping to think how this is going to impact them. Will I insult them? Or will I encourage them to be better? Or will they see my point of view? I don’t know. And I have to step back and figure out the purpose of my words. Why am I so short tempered these days? Do I know?

Actually. Yes. Yes, I do know. One phase of my life is coming to an end.

And I’m ready to move on to the next chapter. But I’ve been asked to extend this phase for another month. And it’s annoying me. Sure. I could have said no, but I didn’t. So I guess for one thing, I’m annoyed with myself. And the second thing. I’m annoyed with the ones who’ve asked me to continue on for another month, because they’re not planning ahead. They’re not making preparations to fill my role in a timely manner. And so it’s going to clog up the system and require others take over my work when their workload is already stretched. But I can’t do anything about any of this. Because my plans are made. I have agreed to the extension of time, so I will continue working.

Just last week, I had to voice my concern about a situation that was causing bottlenecks in our business. I expressed my thoughts privately and confidentially. And now I find that others are at odds with my opposition to their selfishness. But they don’t know I was the one who complained. They don’t know I was the one who voiced my concerns about their actions. But not only that, I find I’m just annoyed with a lot of things, and I can’t keep quiet. And I don’t feel comfortable about any of this. I also know that I’m not comfortable voicing all my concerns. I need to temper my words. I need to step back. I need to make sure that my words honor God. And I need to make sure that my words honor the image bearers of God I’m speaking to and the ones I’m speaking about. And sometimes I just don’t want to. I’m convicted about that, because that is a sin. And I need to be better than that. I can be better than that. I have to want to be better than that. It’s hard and, in my imperfections, I need to seek God more than I’ve ever sought him before.

My heart is detached from my work. It’s been detaching for months now. In the near future, the ties will be severed. It’s difficult to care when your work isn’t your passion.  But a paycheck shouldn’t be the only driver for contentment. For we only long for more. A raise. A bonus. A pat on the back. A promotion. The pay is never enough. We always want just a little bit more.  And over time, the more we’ve been given seems not to be enough. We’re never satisfied.

Basically, I have senioritis. That disease that high school and college seniors get when they’re close to graduation. They’re just done with all the requirements. All the demands. All the expectations. All the deadlines. It’s time for a new phase to begin.

Our work is our calling. Or perhaps it’s better said that our calling is our work. And too many of us miss that calling and settle for far less. For far too long. And we’re miserable.


 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1


We had our first frost of the season this week, signaling the end of life for all annual flowers and plants. The flowers that just the day before had looked hopeful and promising met an untimely death. Their season was cut short. But really, it wasn’t. The annuals don’t have a long life. They’re grown to flower and spread cheer for one short summer season. And now their work is done. Their season of life is over. I knew this day would come, the day I planted them.

As I bent in the dirt this morning to remove the debris of the summer flowers, I realized I was making way for something new to take its place in the spring. Each summer evening, I would walk the marigold path and deadhead the spent flowers. Instead of removing those deadheads from the garden, I would toss them on the ground near the flowering plants. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced by removing them, so I left them discarded in the flowerbed. But, as the summer wore on, I realized those spent flowers were not dead as I tossed them aside. Although the outside was shriveled and battered, life still remained. Those ugly dried flower heads produced new plants. And those new plants bloomed. Unknowingly, I was adding new beauty to empty places in the garden that had been overlooked. It didn’t take much thought and effort. In fact, it was an unintentional act of tossing spent blooms that produced new beauty and life.

The flowers had spent their short life blooming every day. They stood tall during the hot, steamy summer days. They’ve endured rainstorms. They’ve been whipped around by the wind. And yet they never stopped blooming.

If marigolds could think and reason, they might see the futility of their short life. They’re planted only to bloom for one short season. And then their life is over. But oh. That short blooming season provides endless hours of beauty. The short season keeps the deer at bay from ruining other plants in the garden. And that short season allows for the spread of new growth, even if unintentional. Those spent flowers don’t realize they have the capability to spread new life. But they do. Their short blooming season isn’t the end of life for them. They can seed new growth if left to their natural environment.

And now that the frosted marigolds have been removed from the bed, I notice the carrots that had been planted a few weeks ago. The leaves on the carrots are very similar to the leaves on the marigolds. Those leaves were a reminder today that as some seasons end, a new season with similar interests and opportunities await. New life is ahead.

Oh. How I’ve learned a new lesson on contentment in my current workspace. One season of my life is ending, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have life within. There are new paths to climb. There is still worth in a body and mind that have spent many years doing meaningless work. This season is closing, but the new one brings hope and fulfillment. My momentary discontentment and frustration will soon end. But I must do the work now of planting new seed for the next season. And I must continue my current work with an improved attitude, knowing that new days await.

And that next season holds hope and promise for new adventures. But I must bide my time doing the daily work that I am entrusted with until that appointed hour. Oh. I am planning for the days ahead. I’m dreaming of new projects to fill my time. I’m also planning for more hours of intentional rest and relaxation.

Not all flowers and plants that bloom and thrive need full sun.

Greener Grass

I see my neighbor two doors down. He’s working in his backyard every day. Sometimes all day, but mostly in the afternoon. He’s been furloughed, so now is the perfect time for him to lay mulch, plant new bushes, clean up the flowerbeds. So he is. I get it. He has the time, and he’s taking advantage of his free hours.

I, on the other hand, am working full time. From home, of course. My employer has taken the opportunity to make sure all their workers are busy. Very busy. They don’t trust that we’re really working while we’re working from home. There’s no extension of grace to lessen the workload. Even when our clients are postponing the work we do for them, the snap of the taskmaster’s whip is always heard.

Oh. I don’t mean to whine or complain. I am truly thankful to have a job. I’m glad I’m working and and getting my full paycheck. But when I look out the kitchen window and see my neighbor, I sigh with jealousy. I, too, want to be outdoors working in my flowerbeds. I want to pull weeds and drag out my tomato cages. I want to trim the lavender plant.

All my time is spent working. All my neighbor’s time is spent wanting to get back to work. Are we either one content? Are we comfortable with our circumstances? Or does the grass look greener on the other side for each of us?


Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Psalms 119:37


As I think about this, I feel I must berate myself. I have much to be thankful for. I’ve been unemployed three times, so I know the feeling of uncertainty. I know the fears that I’ve lived my best life. I know the concern that perhaps I’ll never find another job. So, why do I fret when I still have a full time job with a decent salary? What else do I want?

But then I wonder. If I wasn’t working. If I had been furloughed from my job, would I actually go outside and work in my flowerbeds? Would I dare to shop for flowers that I long to plant? Or would I just curl up and read a good book? Do I just want what I don’t have because it isn’t mine to have right now?

Is it safe to say that most of us are never content with where we are in life? That we always want what we don’t have? That we dream of those things that are just outside our reach? And when we get there. To that moment we dreamed of. Is it enough? Are we happy then?

Is this a time to be content or to dream of the future?

When faced with slow progress and seemingly endless delays, You enfold me in your patient Heart.
 
Let me recognize your perfect timing in all things, 
the fullness of your providence.
 
May I be so strong in your Spirit 
that all I do is inspired by you.
 
For you are loving, kind, and gentle,
in you are all the blessings.
 
Let me not be deaf to your voice, 
nor suffer the pain of a rebellious soul.
 
Gentle me, O Loving Guide, 
that I may learn the wisdom of purity, patience and peace.

Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying

Invisible

Sometimes I feel invisible at work. I work hard. I do my job well. I don’t cause trouble. If I didn’t speak up about issues I feel strongly about, would I even be noticed?

Is it because I don’t make waves? I don’t cause trouble.  I don’t do personal things at work. So I’m not noticed. That should be a good thing. Right?

Why am I not included in certain group emails or chats that relate to questions I can answer? Why am I not offered preferential treatment like others are?

Why does special treatment pass over me to others who’ve come after me? Because where I work seniority is everything. Except when it comes to me. Or so it seems.

I ask myself these questions but I don’t voice them. But it doesn’t make sense to me.

These are things I ponder. But I don’t want to dwell on them too long, or they could begin to fester. My wondering could become a bad attitude and take me down a path of sin. Sin as in grudges, treating others in a way that puts me and them in a bad light. Gossip. Saying things, true or not, about others just to puff up myself and put them down.  I don’t need that, nor do I want it.


Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. Isaiah 43:1


I received a great performance review. No negative feedback. No suggestions for improvement. A decent raise. But it makes me wonder. What was the feedback they should have given? After all, I’m far from perfect. Or does my reviewer just not know how to give feedback,¬†regardless of it being positive or negative.¬†

I ponder. I have to leave it all in God’s hands, because his ways are higher than my ways. His plan is perfect. I need to trust him even when I can’t see the road ahead.  Perhaps God is protecting me. Shielding me from petty differences. Guiding me down a narrow path, because the wide path may lead to disgrace or discouragement. Perhaps he has me right where he wants me. And I just need to let go of any feelings of concern that could begin to grow if I dwell long and hard enough on them.

Why can’t I be content where I am? Why do I continue to want what I don’t have, even though I don’t know what I want? And I know that what I have is right for me right now. Do I just want to be noticed and rewarded for doing my job? Is this just an issue of pride trying to replace my humble lot in life?

I know the One who knows my name. I am not invisible to Him. He knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. He holds my future in his hands. And my future in His hands far outshines the future I can try to manipulate or instigate. I need to be silent and wait for His lead. May His name be praised.