Okay, okay, I know. I have only blogged here twice in the past six months! There’s a reason for that.
In my first “Ch-ch-ch-changes” post, last October, I shared my journey with World Vision, and how I had re-joined for a third round, this time with our international office (Global Communications team). I was given a one-year contract (ending this October), 30 hours a week, to host a monthly webcast and do leadership communications writing and related projects.
That’s been going very well and I’ve been enjoying it. Particularly the webcasts! Which are a little like hosting a radio show, but much more technical. And surprisingly fun and challenging.
And (true to the spirit of my original post), things are already changing, yet again. In March I was asked to upgrade to full-time, and to use the remaining 10 hours per week (or so) working a new assignment. For the past three or four decades World Vision has held a very important conference for top leadership, every three years, in a different part of the world. This conference is called the “Triennial Council” and in November 2019 it will be held in Manila (in the Philippines). I was offered the role of Communications Officer for this event, beginning this past April 1 and then possibly moving to 16 hours per week after this October; and then going full-time a few months directly before and one month after the event itself.
The new role will also require a lot of travel, which takes energy. I’m going to London at least twice (probably more) in the next year or so, and to Manila twice. And then, after the Council follow-up work is over — unless the Lord plans otherwise — I anticipate that I really will retire! (I did enjoy my “temporary” retirement from August 2016 to October 2017 and have lots to keep me busy!)
Moving from 30 hours per week (which was nice, because I really could cap my hours at 30 hours per week and spend the additional time on other projects not related to World Vision) to full-time has been unexpectedly stretching for me and has come with a cost. I still want to keep up with my ministry work at church (where I am community ministry director), my mushroom hunting, and my writing, and I even love professional driving and try to keep my hands in it occasionally. But as most full-timers know, 40 hours per week often entails a greater cost in emotional energy and time than a mere 40 hours. So, I find myself left with surprisingly little time and energy for other things. And some things are so important they must not be neglected — my connection with the Lord, for instance, and my physical health, which I am really trying to focus on these days.
I am struggling to pack it all in. In particular, I feel like my ministry at church is suffering from the inattention, and I sense disappointment from those who were excited about my work there while I had time to do it right. I also find myself neglecting my writing, and craving more forest therapy time with the mushrooms, and also ignoring driving (where I was also having a real ministry to people who needed a touch from God).
To make matters more complicated, I don’t need the full-time job, at least financially speaking. My wife and I are both fine, and could retire today without any negative impacts. But we do both enjoy being busy, and hence we have chosen to keep up our professional work for the moment.
One challenge with this (other than the aforementioned neglect of other interests) which I am experiencing is that when things get difficult in the job, if I have an interpersonal conflict with a co-worker or am struggling on a particularly challenging and frustrating project, I am more tempted to hang it up. “What’s keeping me here?” I find myself thinking, and fantasizing about what my life was like before I re-joined. The attachment to the job used to be more tangible when I needed the paycheck.
But the correction always comes when I remember the strong notion that God himself provided this opportunity (which I wasn’t expecting), opening a door that I prayed He would shut if I wasn’t meant to walk through it. And there is a corresponding sense that if He does shut the door, I will know it, and it won’t merely be a struggle that causes that.
Struggle is always a part of life, isn’t it?
I look forward greatly to seeing what Heaven will be like, when every tear will be wiped from our eyes and we won’t have to struggle in order to experience the best that God has for us. I have no idea how He’ll pull that one off … but with all the promises in Scripture, of mansions in glory and crowns cast at His feet, and God finishing the good work He has begun in us, there can be no doubt that such a day is coming.