Moving On to Better Things

Daily ReadingsThursday after Epiphany / 1 Jn 4:19-5:4 / Lk 4:14-22

…proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. [Lk 4:19]

Once again, I’ve gotten off-track on my plan to read and respond to the lectionary every morning. This time, it’s been caused by what could be a very small thing. Tuesday afternoon, I had a Coke despite the fact that I usually cut caffeine off after noon. That led to me being very restless that night; while I went to bed at a normal hour, I wasn’t able to get to sleep. I finally got up and read my phone for a while so that I wouldn’t disturb West; it was nearly midnight before I was able to go back to bed and drop off. I tried to steal another half-hour of sleep when the alarm went off at 5:30, but there’s only so late you can sleep in and get away with it.

Then, last night, it took me long enough to run errands that I didn’t have a chance to finish the chores I needed to do before going to bed; and I was so exhausted that I needed to go on and go down. So I did, and finished the chores this morning instead of reading the lectionary. This caught my sleep up, but this morning’s readings still suffered. I’m now typing this while taking a break to eat my lunch.

That’s how it always starts, when you lose track. Something seemingly small and insignificant can set off a chain of events that lead to you “running out of time,” which leaves you behind and trying to catch up. In the meantime things snowball and eventually not doing something becomes the norm.

Suffice to say that, going forward, I’m being a lot more scrupulous about caffeine after noon.

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Just before lunch, I responded to a routine email and noted, toward the end, that my last day full-time in my current position is next Friday. It’s the first time I’ve told anyone outside the organization as I’m deferring to my supervisor for most of the formal notifications. I got the fairly nice, albeit typical, response back that included the comment: “I know you’re moving on to better things.”

It made me smile, but the smile was bittersweet. I’m not positive I’m moving on to better things career-wise. I have reason to believe so, but I thought the same thing a year ago when I took this job. It was a leap of faith; and so is what I’m planning to do next. While I know that becoming an independent contractor is the right thing for me to do at this point in my life, and while I have a concrete business plan in place, I’m still pretty nervous about it. It’s a huge change. As with this position itself, I’ve promised that I’ll give it a year and re-evaluate whether it was the right thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong; there are other things changing in my life too. The most significant, of course, is getting married, which is something I know is “moving on to better things.” So is West’s and my decision to start moving toward the ministry/lifestyle goals we’d discovered we already had in common before we met. So viewed on a global level, my upcoming life changes are good. But when strictly talking about my career and income…well, the leap of faith is scaring me. More than a little.

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Today’s echo relates back to the fact that, for the second time in a row, I’m taking an approach of “try it for a year to see if it works.” In context, the Scriptural text is not talking about a literal year (the Gospel is quoting prophecies from Isaiah 61). But it still suggests the idea of being poised at the threshold of making major changes, changes that will last long enough to be significant. The question becomes this, then: how can I make this year acceptable to the Lord? What changes, routines and habits can I incorporate into my life to make it conform more to the Christian ideal? The time to think about, and implement, them is now. Not tomorrow, or next week, or when I get around to it. No, the time is now, when I’m changing everything else.

Hopefully, a year from now, I’ll be able to say that I’d moved on to better things, even if only because I’ve managed to be more aware of the tiny things that can have considerable effect. A single small decision threw me off-schedule for a couple of days. I know now that it’s one of those habits I need to change — and I fully intend to take the opportunity being given to me, to do just that.

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