Journeys & Writings of Paul

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give [thanks]

What are you thankful for?

I think about this question often, but on this particular holiday of Thanksgiving Day we are especially encouraged to reflect on those things that we are thankful for. I am not going to write out a detailed list, as I have much to be thankful for and it would be a long list. I will however reflect on what I have learned in the past several years about giving, gratitude and the like.

One of the most profound things that I have learned in the past five or so years is that you should give from what you have. This may not seem profound, but it totally changed my perspective on giving. On a particular day I felt bad that I could only make a certain contribution and thought to myself, "If only I had more money, then I could really give something that would make a difference. I'll aspire to make a lot of money in the future so that I have a lot to give away." Upon having this thought I was immediately convicted about my motive of giving and why it had to be a larger sum to really matter.

From that point on I told God that I would always give from what I have, no matter if it is big or small. It's a silly notion to wait to give a "meaningful" contribution until you can give a certain (and might I add arbitrary) monetary amount. Remember the story of the widow's offering in the gospels of Mark and Luke? Jesus tells his disciples that she has put more into the treasury in the kingdom of heaven with her two coins than the many rich people present who threw in large sums of money.

On the subject of giving, I ran for my second consecutive year in the Run for the Turkeys 5K race this morning! I really like this race because it raises money and canned food donations for a good cause, stocking the West Ohio Food Bank to feed hungry families right here in our own neighborhoods.

Here is the food I gathered for my contribution to the food bank.

Pre-race photos with Rachel and Chris. We were the barefoot running gang! It was quite a chilly morning for VibramFiveFingers!
And we're off and running!
 Eric was my photographer today and captured this amazing shot of me right as I was crossing the finish line! (Thank you The Little One!)
I was pleased with my time of 27:22 minutes! That's a three minutes faster than last year's 30:11, and only about 30 seconds over my average 5K time. I have been running technology free since coming back from my knee injury this summer because I knew I would either: 
a) become discouraged at how slow I have become due to my time off
b) push myself too hard, too fast
c) both of the above
So I really had no idea how fast or slow I would run today. Not my fastest, but I'll take it! I'm excited to continue training through the winter to get ready for some races coming this Spring as my knee slowly but surely continues to get better.
Traditional post-race picture with Anna
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I encourage you to give. Give thanks. Give of yourselves. Give in times of plenty. Give in times of need. Simply give! And always give thanks. I leave you now with these words from the book of Colossians:
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:15-17

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The best job ever

Some of you may already know that I am a Resident Assistant (RA) this fall at Goshen College. It has proved to be one of the best decisions of my life! To say that I love my job is an understatement. This is the most enjoyable paid position that I have held thus far in my short career.
I mused over whether or not I should be an RA for quite some time. Those of you who know me well will know that I don't enter into commitments willy nilly, and this was no exception. I spent many weeks in prayer over this decision last year. In all honesty, I didn't want the position, but felt that God was putting it on my heart to prayerfully consider. I interviewed for the job and told the Lord that if I was accepted that I would carry it out to the fullest of my capabilities, and if not, then someone else was better suited for the job and that was OK too.
Even after I had been interviewed and informed that I had been accepted for the position, I had second guesses. All throughout the summer I was praying for the girls that I didn't even know yet who would be living on my hall, for my boss and co-workers, for wisdom, grace and guidance for myself, and for our GC community.
I did a bit of fretting over the idea of this job, especially toward the end of the summer as the school year approached. Among my thoughts were (some are maybe too honest for a blog): Am I really cut out for this job? Do I have what it takes to fulfill this role? I am an introvert and am worried that I will get burnt out. I am almost 24, do I really want to live with freshmen? Will I be able still stay connected to my friends from last year? Will I be able to devote the proper amount of time toward my studies and my girls? Will the girls on my hall like me and will we be able to relate to one another?

I am pleased to say that at the 1/3 mark in the year I am so glad that I made this decision! I have a genuine love for all the girls on my hall. I am privileged to share this space with them and contribute to their lives in one capacity or another. I feel so in my element. God really knows what he is doing, and has calmed all of those fears and insecurities I had coming into this job.
There are many other great things that I could share, but perhaps in another post. I leave you with the admonition to trust the leanings that you get from the Lord and believe in the strengths you have been given. God loves to use his willing servants to make himself known.

Yoder Hall Staff 2011-12