Times are tough at the moment for the organisation I work for. Because it is publicly funded, it’s being targeted along with other organisations in the skills sector for the ‘bonfire of the quangos’ (despite the fact that it’s not actually a quango).
I came back to work from two weeks off to a rather unpleasant situation. Things are looking a bit bleak for the future – but this is a similar situation to a lot of people in the non-frontline public sector.
As I returned to work and ploughed through my email mountain I had a rising sense of panic and anxiety about the future and about the work I have to do now. After my initial mini ‘panic attack’, I prayed (and had prayed the night before as I had my suspicions that things wouldn’t have improved) and felt a sudden sense of a strange serenity that could only have come from God. I had a sudden realisation that being stressed out and worried about all this stuff was not going to get me anywhere. God is with me, and although the next few weeks and months are going to be really hard, with God it will be ok.
Today I am helping to lead the service at church. Part of the passage we are reading is this tough part from Luke’s gospel:
34“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21)
The three things which Jesus lists, are, in modern terms:
- turning to alcohol (“let’s get pissed!”)
- retail therapy (“you deserve it”)
- panic stations (“OMG!”)
How many of these things have I been tempted to do in the last few weeks! My greatest weakness is probably the alcohol one. I get home from work and think,” oo, big glass of wine, that will make me feel better”. And it does. Momentarily. And then I lie awake worrying about the next day’s work. And on the way home from a day’s work, treat myself to a CD or something from M&S, because, surely “I’m worth it”?!
It’s not a coincidence that this is today’s reading at church. God is gently reminding me that His peace that he’s given me this week is what I really need, and is the only thing that will really satisfy.
I need to make Mary’s choice, not Martha’s. And on a daily basis.
Thank God for his amazing peace which passes all understanding!