Friday, July 11, 2008

Reassurance For An Introvert

I am, by nature, a reader, analyzer, list maker, outliner-of-thoughts. Can't help myself. As I think, I write. Then I re-think. Then I re-write. I can hone and fine tune ad inifinitum, but, of course there comes a time when I must get up and go forth and do.

Occasionally someone is surprised that I don't work full time (though I do have two part time jobs). Or, they will look at the Music Director's job and say, "What exactly does she do? How could that job take 15+ hours a week?" (Usually, this thought is voiced by a congregant who is looking at the bottom-line expenses of ministry.) While I am truly on the job 15+ hours a week, and most of that at the church, there is a lot of thinking, researching, and listening to both people and music, that helps me formulate the purposeful actions of my ministry. I don't want to just do things because they have always been done that way, nor do I want to make changes flippantly. I want to know why, from a theological standpoint, we do everything we do. If there is no discernible reason, I feel comfortable questioning the value of that particular activity. I think this is the way my Creator made me, and possibly why he has placed me where he has. Those who operate differently than I do may struggle to appreciate my work-style, but I have finally come to terms with it.

Thus, I was blessed to find this quote at Ray Ortlund's blog Christ Is Deeper Still:

"'Be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature' (1 Cor. 14:20). It is not easy to be a leader of people who can out-think you. A leader must be one who, when he sees a set of circumstances, thinks about it. He sits down with pad and pencil and doodles and writes and creates. He tests all things with his mind and holds fast to what is good (1 Thess. 5:21). He is critical in the best sense of the word, that is, not gullible or faddish or trendy. He weighs things and considers pros and cons and always has a significant rationale for the decisions that he makes. Careful and rigorous thought is not contrary to a reliance on prayer and divine revelation. The apostle Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:7, 'Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.' In other words, God's way of imparting to us insight is not to short-circuit the intellectual process."

John Piper, "Marks of a Spiritual Leader," #7, A Hard Thinker


Donna said...

You reminded me of two conversations I had a long time ago. I worked as the volunteer assistant for two different full-time ministers of music (not at the same time!). One had a choir and spent hours choosing music. The other had a band and arranged everything himself. The one with the choir asked me, "What does (the other guy) do all day if he doesn't have a choir?" The other asked me, "What does (the other guy) do all day if he doesn't have to write his own arrangments?"

Joyce said...

Donna, it seems like youth pastors get questioned about their use of time, too. It probably looks like too much fun! I don't want to do the "misunderstood musician" schtick, but really what does anyone really get about another profession's duties? And, of course, my other job was homemaker, and what do they do all day anyway?
Hey, it's nice to know there is someone reading this blog who has been in my shoes!

abbie said...

As a teacher, I always hear things like, "oh, summers off, that's nice!" and "you're out of work at 2pm." The reality is, I lesson plan and grade papers every day, including weekends, and I go to workshops, run workshops, take classes, and plan over the summer. Nobody knows what a job entails until they do it. Oh, not to mention I work on the farm when they need me or when I need the money (right now, both!).
I think the bottom line is that you're responsible and you take pride in what you do, so you'll do more than what's required.

Joyce said...

Abbie, I was a teacher for a while before I had kids, and my sisiter is one also. Definately a year-round job! Plus, when you have a troubled student, you think about that child a lot outside of school. But I think one of the things I like about my job is that is gives me lots of food for thought.

Actually, I should say that I didn't write the post as a complaint. It's just the sort of job that doesn't produce a lot of widgets, so productivity can be hard to measure.

Rose said...

Joyce, I was just going to say this reminded me of comments I would get when teaching, and then I read Abbie's comment. She says it all!
There's a line in To Kill a Mockingbird that I always discussed with my students: "You don't know a man till you get into his skin and walk around in it awhile." It's a paraphrase of other old sayings, of course, but it is so true. People just see the visible end of a person's work and don't always take the time to understand.
I think your approach to your work is the right quality for any leader.

Joyce said...

Thanks, Rose. I know that clerking in a store when I was in college has made me a very patient with the person behind a cash register, and a summer job with Illinois Foundation Seed taught me a lot about farming I wouldn't have know as a townie. Maybe everyone should have to teach a room full of wiggly children for a couple of weeks!

Nan said...

One of the world's truths is that we don't have a clue about a job or a life unless we live it. From the outside, it is so easy to look at someone's life and say, what a good job, or what a good life. But every job and every life comes with its ups and downs, goods and bads. The other day I had to apply for a new credit card because the folks I have mine through changed banks, and when she asked my job I said I was 'at home' then 'homemaker'- all the time trying to fit into her little pigeonhole of definition, and would you believe it? That is not a category anymore. I am an 'other.' So many jobs like yours are done more for love than money or recognition, and it must give an inner satisfaction as a reward.

Joyce said...

Homemaker isn't even an option? Now that's ridiculous!