Time to Quit

When I finished my undergrad I headed into a Youth Worker position that I was looking forward to. However, I soon came to realise that it was time to quit.

The job I accepted was working a 24/7 roster with children in residential care. For those of you who don’t know what residential care is, it is a care arrangement for children who have been removed from their families by the state welfare services. These kids often have aggressive behaviours and significant emotional regulation issues.

As I said, I was keen for this work. It paid, and it was challenging enough that I wouldn’t get bored. For the first four months of my job I enjoyed it. There were a few downs with clients who were just perpetually angry (and violent).

The start of my job was easy. I was able to turn down working when I had Bible study on, and to take two weeks off for mission. During university holidays, I dealt reasonably well with long shifts where I’d sleepover at work and with some of the more violent shifts. Yet when uni rolled around, the flexibility I needed slowly ebbed away.

Eventually, I began being asked to work when I already had made myself “unavailable.” I also began working with a client that was becoming increasingly violent. I was managing a full-time course load at university and was working no less that 21 rostered hours (but upward of 50 with sleepover shifts). It wasn’t until I had three weeks away from work, that I realised it was time to go.

I’m not one to shirk responsibilities I’ve taken on, irrespective of how much I like them. So why did I choose to leave?

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that we are workers for Christ. Our life is a sacrifice for God, and we must be prepared to live a life that pleases God. Our work AND lives must glorify Him.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him ~ Colossians 3:17

This means acknowledging God’s sovereignty in our jobs. We have jobs to live, and are not to live for our jobs. Jobs support us for worldly responsibilities like paying rent and feeding ourselves, but are not our purpose in life. God is.

Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. ~ 2 Chronicles 20:6

If God is sovereign, it also means that what we do not only at work but our spare time matters to Him.

The major issue of my job was that it was pushing me towards living for work. I was being encouraged to use my time outside of work for more work, and the emotional toil of working with troubled children alongside uni was pushing my spare time further away from God.

I became less inclined to meet regularly for bible reading. I struggled to maintain relationships, not just with my Christian friends but also other (just as important) non-Christian friends. I was tired and didn’t feel like reading my Bible and felt constantly pressed for time.

Meeting regularly, loving our brothers and sisters, loving our friends and growing in God’s word are all important. It wasn’t until I stopped to breathe, that I realised I was overwhelmed by my work. My job consumed my life, and left little space for God.

What did I do?

Well, I checked my contract and gave my minimum notice for resignation. I left without a job lined up, but knowing that it was a good choice.

…there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:6

 

Advertisements

A Forgotten Blog. A Choice and A Degree

What can I say? After August I hit the mid-Internship chaos and traded blogging for sleep. Let’s just say that internship had it’s great moments, and some downs. The six drafts from that time, may be posted … one day.

Over a year has passed, and I’ve taught in China, been to New Zealand and Singapore, scored a new job, resigned and got another, chosen to stay in Newcastle and enrolled in a new (nearly finished) degree. Given my intended purpose for this blog, I think it’s worth ignoring my trips overseas and sharing why I chose to stay in Newcastle, find another job and do a Masters degree online.

At the start of 2015, I asked someone at my church if I should stay in Newcastle another year. The answer I was given wasn’t a simple yes or no; but a question which asked me to reflect on my ability at that time to go out, not as a new teaching graduate, but as a worker for Christ.

Was I prepared and equipped to leave the Newcastle community, and live with teaching not as my number one priority? 

At the time, it was easy to convince myself to stay. On the surface, because I wanted to “grow”; in reality, if I chose to stay in Newcastle, I’d just enroll in my Masters degree and continue through with my job at the uni. I could just take my graduate position after my Masters was done. Easy peasy. No real rocks to the boat and clearly, not an honest answer to the question I was posed.

However, by the end of 2015 it wasn’t such an easy choice and I was actually challenged to make hard decisions (for reals this time). The uni changed the Masters program and I wasn’t able to enroll. This meant I couldn’t continue with my university job. I’d committed to staying in Newcastle, because it was the easy option. Yet now, I had to really ask myself, was I prepared to leave and go out as a worker for Christ?

Such a choice, particularly based on work, requires you to check your motives. To be a worker for Christ, your priority in moving on actually needs to be with serving Christ because as Christians, our whole life is a sacrifice to God (moving, jobs, dreams, careers.. all of it).

….In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. ~ Romans 12: 1-2

Was I prepared to serve God in such a massive way? Given my sinfulness of choosing to stay in the first place, it was a resounding no.

I eventually came to realise that to stay, I was going to need to do my Masters online AND look for a new job. Neither one of these was a happy prospect. Studying online is hard, and means you can’t be superfluous about being on top of uni; nor does having a “normal” (non-student job) allow you to use uni as a reason to avoid work. When you also factor in making time for church and loving those around you, it becomes this abysmal cavern of low ambiguity and high organisation. It requires effort and actual thought — which is exhausting.

The choices that I made were not the ones I wanted, nor particularly liked. Yet it gave me all of 2016 to grow and work on placing God as sovereign in all parts of my life.