Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Prayer for College Students

My friends still in college go back to school today, and it feels a little strange not to be preparing for syllabus day myself. After all, this is the first time in 17 years that August hasn't ushered in a new school year for me.

Inspired by Emily Freeman's sending prayer for college freshmen, my prayer is for all those going back to college right now.

Dear Lord,

May campus be enveloped by your love. May evidence of You be in dorm rooms, in classrooms, and student centers. May the evidence lead to worship that Your glory may be revealed even in the darkest of places.

May there be constant power in faith. Strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ. May their anxieties of fitting in, of difficult classes and professors, of learning about themselves be eclipsed by the recognition that You alone can supply their every need.

May they find in You a fountain of joy. May their friendships be renewed and strengthened this year, may they learn the value of growing in community and grasp the significance of how You have given an abundance time to do this in college.

May You provide servant hearts. May students learn to look for the least of these and care for them just as Jesus did - with compassion and grace. May they see needs and have the passion to serve in however You call them.

May You bring revival. May conversation to turn You, and may students no longer be conformed to the patterns of this world. May they be transformed by the renewal of their minds, that by testing they may discern what Your infinite, perfect will.

May they lean in to the Holy Spirit when things get difficult. At 3AM when they aren't sure a paper will be finished in time, in heartaches, and fears of the future - I pray that they would be led by a peace that surpasses understanding.

May they learn to praise Your name: in those moments that they cannot imagine being any better, knowing that every good and perfect gift is from above. In the moments that there seems to be no room for praise, I ask that You would remind them of Your love and grace.

In the Holy and Worthy name of Jesus I ask all these things, Amen.

Monday, August 19, 2013

5 Things I Learned In My First 5 Days At Work

Alright, I have exciting news to share, I have a job!

Yep, you read that right - I work a  9-to-5 where I wear pencil skirts, button ups, and heels on a daily basis, somehow I have overnight fallen into "big girl" category for real. I really could gush for a long time about how God provided everything I wanted from a first job, besides being in vocational ministry. It's truly a prayer answered  an answer that leads me to nothing but worship of a God who delights in His children.

I'm excited, yet most definitely a little freaked out by my quick shift into the fully adult world.

Yet I just wanted to share the top five things I learned in my first week of work.

You're On A Learning Curve

That's right, the people already in the office (for the most part) know what they're doing. It can be super intimidating if you have a compulsion to know the right answer to the question before its ever asked. Of course, its a really good practice in humility too. I've spent a lot of time learning to listen first, and ask relevant questions second. Rarely are thoughtful questions answered in frustration.

Don't Jump Into Office Politics

Not only are you learning the mechanics of a new job, but there are always social implications to consider when walking into any office. Typically, the desire to be liked and accepted by your co-workers might have you considering picking sides in issues that were in place long before you got there. Wait, give yourself time to truly process all sides of your environment and form your own opinions on everything. It's fine to listen to what everyone is saying, but always know there are multiple sides to every story.

Be Yourself Outside of Work

I definitely wasn't prepared for the work exhaustion. Goodbye afternoon nap time, hello answering phones while you're in the middle of focusing on a detailed task. After the amounts of new information I was processing each day all I wanted to do was go crawl into bed and not come out until morning. however, the highlights of my week came from going for an afternoon run (Nashville had beautiful weather last week) and grabbing dinner with friends to just chat about life.

You Are Not Your Job

If I could stress anything I learned this past week it would be just this one statement. Yes, our job is a part of what we do - after all we spend about a third of our day at the office - but it is not all of who you are. Explore those things, remembering that first and foremost your identity is found in Christ. He defines who you are - not your boss, not your co-workers, not your job performance, not even you. Rest in His truth, especially when you feel confused, inadequate, or overwhelmed.

My prayer is that no matter where you are in life: college student, job seeker, first job, or seasoned veteran that you would allow yourself the time to rest and recognize the beauty in the situation God has called you right now. May we not miss the opportunities to experience, learn, and grow in the season we're in by prematurely rushing in the next stepping stone.