Life with Margins

Life has been crazy since we have returned from Haiti. The Lord has been so faithful to provide. When we made the decision to return to America we had almost nothing planned out. Now Six months later i feel caught up in the daily routine  of my American life. I mostly wanted to take the opportunity to update everyone on the events of our life.

Upon returning i applied to work at one of the only residential care facilities in Colorado Springs called Griffith Center for Children. I initially applied for the a part time, nights and weekend position working for the residential program. While i was in training the supervisor of the school program made an announcement that they were looking to hire two full time teachers assistants. The pay was the same but the hours where much better (7-2 or 7-4, instead of 2PM-10PM). Now i was hesitant to take even the part time position because we also committed a year living in Joel Home which is a transitional living program for young men who have aged out of foster care. This would mean that i would work full time during the day with troubled kids only to go home and then live with them too. But I took the position when it was offered because i felt i would be able to engage in the Joel Home better with the TA’s schedule than working nights and weekends. About 2 months into the TA job my supervisor calls me into her office and asks me if i would ever be interested in getting trained as a supervisor for the Griffith centers. I told her that i would consider it but i would most likely want to wait until my commitment at Joel home was fulfilled ( in December). Then about 2 weeks ago (3 months into this position) my supervisor calls me into her office again and says that there is a teaching position available and that if i want it the job is basically mine… Oh yeah and attached to that position is the wilderness directors position (which is always held by a teacher). I walked out of the office in glee and disbelief, i even remember driving home and asking myself can this be real? Did i just get offered my dream job? Once the excitement wore off the inevitable onslaught of my logistical brain kicked in, and i began to find holes in this plan. Pretty huge holes. Like hey Brian you have  BA in psychology and NOT teaching. The only way for you start teaching is enrolling in a certificate program that meets every Saturday for 5 hours for the next 2 YEARS (NOT GOING TO HAPPEN) or going to graduate school for a masters in teaching. Furthermore i would have to start all of this in august. I walk myself through the options, plan A) say no and keep my job as a TA (Which i see myself being able to maintain for…not much longer) or B) say yes, Start teaching (which i have never done), start managing a wilderness program (which i have never done), go to graduate school full time…while working. So basically after teaching in the morning and going to school in the evenings i would come home and live at Joel home, oh yeah and don’t forget to be a good husband. I ponder…and then i ponder some more. I Naively want to tell myself that it could work, i could find time to do all that, it would be worth the sacrifice. Then i think of the times i have gotten burned out because i was trying to do too much. Somewhere in the midst of the the mental torment that this decision making process was i remembered a talk that the youth pastor i worked with in college gave about how our lives need to have margins. Yes there are seasons that the Lord calls us to be busy and complete work for his name, or so that we can get to the next level or whatever. But in the midst of all of that we need to have margins. Space, time that we don’t have things planed, because if we feel the need, or have to schedule every hour of our life (even with good things) we generally a) don’t leave room for the holy spirit to work in our lives, b) usually aren’t making enough time for the people in our lives c) are totally miserable. I really wanted this position for so many reasons but i had to remember that every time we say yes to something we are saying no to something else. If saying yes to the job meant neglecting my responsibilities to my wife and to the young men that i am responsible for mentoring at Joel Home then it wasn’t worth it.

Turning down this position was a very difficult choice, and i wish i could say that i have just moved on, but i haven’t. It still lingers in my mind, taunting me, telling me that i will never get another opportunity  like this again. So i have to have faith, i have to believe that God cares more about relationships and priorities than he does about job titles and resumes. That our God is a God who inhabits both the praises and the margins of his people.

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