the foxes in the vineyard

This Monday morning is a fox in the vineyard.

Things “begin” on Monday morning – the week, the work, the schedule – but we all know nothing ended on Friday. We just pushed pause so we could smile and forget for two days. At least that seems to be what everyone hopes our weekly system is set up to do: work for five days, forget about work for two days, and then start work again.

I have never had a job where that cycle is successful. Because working with people means working inside relationships and I would do very poor work if I severed relationships on a weekly basis.

So, this morning I woke out of a dream thinking about the court hearing at 8 am and about the meetings in the afternoon because they had been on my mind all weekend. These aren’t appointments, they are people and that feels heavy.

The antidote for anxiety is not reason, though many well-meaning people have lectured me on boundaries and work/life balance.

The antidote for anxiety is the promises of God. It is a medicine that doesn’t take away the illness, but overcomes it. The promises of God are trustworthy and they follow us. I cannot go to a place where God’s promises cannot reach. He is here, inside this Monday and He knows about the foxes. He knows about all the evil plans to steal my joy.

He knows about my anxiety and He knows His promises can overcome it. He is good to me. In His sovereign will, He is good and can only be good to me.

Today is about believing God is good when the foxes are in the vineyard.

This song by Audrey Assad sings the overflow of goodness and it will be my reminder all day long.

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night–raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my lifeI will trust in Your promise
© 2013 Audrey Assad Inc (BMI)

dream sessions

No, I’m not in Nashville trying to outdo Taylor Swift by recording “Blue” (the teen/country/bubble-gum/southern anthem album for adolescents whose emotions are speeding like the 1990 Caravan you just retired from the road). No, it’s nothing like that.

The dream sessions are accountability – a window of time where Emma and I sit in the coffee shop and lay our dreams bare on the table space in between. We get ridiculous about what’s possible and then we keep going, keep dreaming.

I knew early on that these little encounters would need some structure, mostly because I know myself and I cannot finish a good idea without structure. So, we decided these dream sessions would be about sharing, inspiring, and then working.

Well, it’s natural, isn’t it? Once you’ve laid your dreams out like undergarments on a clothesline you feel… a bit exposed. It takes everything in you to refrain from gathering up all the unmentionables in a large, haphazard bundle and running inside to hide them in the farthest corner of the house. That’s why we needed structure. So, we get together every week to remind one another what it is we are working toward and to nudge each other toward baby steps to get there.

We share about steps we’ve made toward our dream.
We inspire each other with conversation and prayer.
and then…
We go to work like our dream is our real job, because it is (kind of).

We bend our heads over the coffee table to work on something that uses our gifts, stretches our abilities, and reflects the creativity of the One who made creative desires in us. We take turns breaking into the silence with questions and challenges before honoring our gifts with the grindstone again. We really do believe that we are called to steward well our resources – that working for the Lord might mean digging deeper than what appears on a job description to find what is written on our hearts.

Sundays are for dream sessions.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

grace for the grumps

I like my second job because of the people.

I like to ask questions about their lives and find out what makes them laugh. I like to listen to stories from their growing up years and I especially like when the stories keep going after the time clock packs it’s punch.

I don’t like drinking a fountain soda without any fizz.

What I mean is… I don’t like it when things that are supposed to be awesome, aren’t.

The main reason I’ve held onto job #2 is because of the relationships I never would have had otherwise. And I love it. I love biking through campus to get there, throwing out my hellos when I walk in the door, catching up with Jeremiah and learning about Derek’s newest future plans. I love meeting new co-workers and seeing them smile. I didn’t really know why the print shop was the only part-time work I could find in the city of Ames back in December, but now I’m convinced it’s because I needed to meet Jeremiah and Ann and Derek and Mike and Paul and Katherine.

They are the fizz in the fountain soda called job #2 and yesterday was missing the carbonation. I came in with my usual bounce, but fell promptly into a rut of work orders and frustrating design dilemmas and a case of the workplace grumps. All my answers were short and the space between customers was silent.

I fumed because I love my fizz (have you had ever fountain soda without it?) and then the dissonance got too great.

I punched the clock, walked outside with Ann and thought, “maybe the fizz is here after all.” I invited her for dinner and then to a prayer class at my church.

Later on last night, when my new friends Ann, Alyssa, and Nicole (all new or new again to Ames) sat around a table playing Taboo, I thought about all the flat soda I’d been drinking… all those days that seemed ruined because they didn’t go as planned. And then I thought, maybe it’s a mental thing. Maybe when I expect a day to go flat, it does. Maybe there’s a lot more fizz in my days and I just have to train my taste buds to recognize the flavor.

Maybe God grants grace for my grumps so that flat days still have fizz.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy