I got my first job when I was 10. No, it wasn’t it in sweatshop. My neighbor called my mother and asked if I could babysit her two sons while she and her husband went out. They would be home by midnight. Well, they weren’t home by midnight. They were gone for seven hours and, at the extravagant rate of $0.50 per hour, I made a whopping $3.50. It’s true. I continued to babysit for that family and then practically every family in my small town of 4,000 until I went to college.
My first tax-paying job was at a small dress shop on the main street of my home town. I vacuumed, opened shipments, attached price tags, washed windows, etc. This manual labor earned me the hourly wage of $2.00. I worked Monday through Friday after school from 3:30-5:00. Do the math, I was really pulling in the dough.
When I got my driver’s license I could venture to the neighboring town where I became employed at McDonald’s. I climbed that ladder from mop-girl to fry-girl to order-girl to drive-thru-girl in no time flat.
In my senior year of high school I got a second job opening and closing at a public school day care center. I arrived at 6:00 am to let the little critters in, went to school mid-morning, then returned after school to wave goodbye and close the place down. Somehow I managed to work there, keep my job at McDonald’s, and graduate!
When I went off to college I worked several places — day care center, cafeteria, and development office. Since then I have been a camp counselor, residential care staff, teacher, freelance writer, census worker (seriously), and who knows what else.
I think you get the point. I have, almost always, had a job. I took a brief sabbatical when my kids were babies. I was blessed to stay home with them for seven years, but even then I was always busy baking, cleaning, homeschooling (seriously), leading Bible studies for women and teens, writing chancel dramas and worship songs, and (wait for it) becoming a Mary Kay consultant.
For the third day in a row I am going to say, I am not accustomed to being still. Ten years ago we moved to St. Louis so that my husband could go to the Seminary. For the next four years I was the primary wage earner in the family. By the time he became a pastor, I had become not only a teacher and department chair, but also the curriculum coordinator and member of the administrative team.
It is in my DNA to be doing. I see opportunities and know I can meet them. I see gaps and I know I can fill them. I see problems and I know I can fix them. So when my husband took the job in Ann Arbor, I immediately started looking for what I could do! (See yesterday’s post to more effectively roll your eyes at this.) I found several options. I won’t get into all of those now, because I am trying to be still! (I told you this was going to be a challenge for me.)
The words from this morning’s Bible reading were written just for me, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will put on, [or dear Kristin, what you will do]…Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns [they aren’t busy doing, they are being], and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6: 25ff)
Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? I am a child of God. That is my identify. My identity does not come from my work — from what I do. It comes from whose I am. I continue my mantra. I am a human, being HIs, trusting that He will feed me — literally and metaphorically. I will not be anxious. I will just be.