A typical conversation at the beginning of the school year:
“What did you do this summer?”
“I lived at home and worked a retail job. ”
“Oh nice! Did you get a discount?”
(Because let’s be honest, the only thing that’s actually cool about selling clothes is the thrilling ability to buy them yourself but for 20% less! (This usually only covers the tax and an extra $3).
“Yup! What did you do this summer?”
“Oh, I travelled Europe for a month and then ….(continues to describe a prestigious internship at a hospital that probably involves neurosurgery and curing a rare, fatal disease often found within indigenous tribes in the mountains of Peru).”
This is the inevitable small talk that I’m not looking forward to having when I get back to school… or at least I wasn’t excited about it before.
You see, I started writing that clever (not), little script up there about 3 months ago. I had been home for a few weeks, and was already working full time at Nordstrom, totally exhausted and disappointed that I was back at my same job for the 4th year in a row. At that time, I was very ungrateful and even more envious of other people’s summer opportunities than I had been the previous summers. It just didn’t seem fair that people got to travel and work at camps and have “the summer of their lives” while I was stuck at the same job. A retail job nonetheless. While I could go on and on about how tough you have to be to make it in that business and the amount of miles I walked each day to serve customers, I sure didn’t feel that I was making any sort of real, valuable impact on the world. (Besides feeding consumerism and outfitting someone with the right cocktail dress for their party next weekend).
Live in Africa, and make no money, but talk about Jesus all day? YES PLEASE. I wanted to be anywhere BUT where I was. So I decided to throw myself a little pity party one night and write this post about how I was being a hard worker, and just because I wasn’t studying the Bible in Jerusalem didn’t mean that I wasn’t cool enough to change the world one day! I was going to title it:
“The Importance of Doing Something Unimportant”
Now, while I still think that doing something seemingly unimportant, like selling Alexander Wang Dresses, is full of opportunities for good work ethic and selling techniques, I want to change my previous narrative. I want to change it to:
“Important or Unimportant, It is Important to God” That’s my narrative.
I could sit for hours and make value judgments about my accomplishments or those of others, but I don’t want to anymore. This summer has been a huge lesson in learning that if you are where God has called you to be, you are doing something important, obedience. I have travelled-the-world friends and I have stayed-home-and-worked friends, and both kinds were doing extremely important things! Retail and fast food might not have felt extremely fulfilling, but that wasn’t the point. The point is that you did what you were called to do, and you were obedient. I have learned far more in obedience than in doing what I thought best. Even though the idea of being a camp counselor seems like the best thing since the invention of pumpkin spice lattes, I wasn’t called to be working at a camp this summer. I was called to work and live at home, and because that’s what God asked of me, that was the best possible place I could’ve been.
So here’s something I wasn’t able to say two months ago: I’m so thankful for this summer. I hope you are thankful for yours too.