When I was little, I ran everywhere. To this day I don’t know what was so important that I had to run so much. I ran across the street to my friend’s house. I ran to the store. I ran home from school. But I can recall never running faster and more effortlessly than when I was running downhill. I can still hear the flapping sound of my PF Flyers tennis shoes on the sidewalk as I crested the top of Wilson Avenue and started down the hill in the last block towards home. No matter how tired I was, it felt like I was running in a different gear. No effort. No strain.
When I got older, I often thought of those times. “Wouldn’t it be great to experience the same effortless feeling when it comes to work? To somehow be able to have that good feeling in your mind where going to work was met with the same “no-problem mindset” as running down Wilson Avenue.
Now in saying that, I am aware of the fact that work is just that…work. You will always have days where the mental and or physical output required to do your job leaves your tank completely empty. Maybe everyday is like that for you. The truth is that even running downhill requires a strong effort to stop. But I guess that’s what I am saying. Having a job that requires more effort to stop at the end of the day is better than a job that requires more effort to start at the beginning of the day.
Does such a job exist? To answer that question, I would first direct you back to your own heart. When you go there, you’ll need to ask yourself a few more penetrating questions than whether a certain job exists. Questions like, what gifts, talents and strengths do I possess? What is it that I love to do that, to me, is as enjoyable as running downhill? Your answers may be quite liberating. You may find that you are in the wrong company. Or maybe it’s the right company but the wrong position.
When we operate in concert with God’s will for our lives, we experience a divine grace to do what we are asked to do. A supernatural anointing, if you will, to do a job well. Or at least with the ease of functioning in a position of divine intent. God puts a fish in the water and a bird in the sky. And an ability for each to function well in their respective environments. Taking either one from their divinely intended environment would be disastrous.
In your questioning, you may find that your strength is not a matter of vocation but avocation. In either case, we as a creation of God need to give expression ot the gifting God placed in us. Not unlike the canary that sings just because God made him to sing.
Why is that so important? Eric Liddell, the great missionary to China in the early 20th century knew his calling was to preach the gospel. But he also knew he was fast enough to compete and win in the 1924 Summer Olympic games. In the movie about his experience (Chariots of Fire), he explains to his sister why giving expression to the gifts God had given him was so important. He said. “I know God wants me to preach. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Doing what God puts in your heart to do gives God pleasure. And He shares that pleasure with you because that’s the kind of God He is.
We spend at least half of our waking hours and probably three quarters of our lives at work. Sadly, for many, those years are spent running uphill every day because they are not functioning in the place of grace and expression of their unique gifts and talents. If you long to know the grace of running downhill, whether in your vocation or avocation, maybe it’s time you ask yourself a few of those questions. Maybe then, the Wilson Avenue experience of running downhill can be yours.
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