Can We See The Tally?

I feel ragged. I’m trying to find words to vocalize my emotions but can’t exactly put my finger on the cause. When I think about the things that matter most, I feel joy. Then again, I don’t feel happy. Confused?

Me too. 

The image that keeps coming to mind is Jerry Lewis at the end of the Labor Day telethon. Weapy and teary-eyed, he passionately pressed through, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” at the close of the annual fundraiser. 

When you walk through a storm hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm

There’s a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown…

It’s a powerful lyric and composition by Rogers and Hammerstein. I’d forgotten about it until now. I was looking for an image of A weary Jerry Lewis but recovered this memory instead. My mom sang it to me when I was quite young. Evidently I’ve been mopey going way back, eh?

I feel like this dish rag. It’s a more artistic picture than Jerry Lewis, who was known for his comedy, including his appearance. 

Enough about Jerry. He’s just a visual reference as I struggle to convey my emotions. Here is what I’ve rationalized…

I’m an artist. 

More precisely, a starving artist.

I’m starving because I am now making a living in sales. My hobby turned business [perhaps vise versa] is based upon selling products. My full-time job is essentially selling. Marketing. Consulting. Call it what you may, if I don’t close deals, the bottom line suffers. 

I believe in what I represent, both in my day job and through my home-based business. My philosophy in both is to build accounts… relationships, not numbers. However, the economy sucks. Is it okay for a Christian  and say something sucks? Because it does, plain and simple. Folks have been buying on price for many years. We are more conscientious yet more disposable than ever before. 

This article isn’t about the economy. It is about emotions– if only I could sell emotions; I never run out of them. 

June 19, we had just arrived in Querétaro the day after my daughters graduation. Emotions were running high. We both love to travel and are energized by airports, even if we aren’t morning people. Our driver was fairly quiet which gave me time to stare out the window and daydream a little while. 

Not long after leaving the airport,  we passed a Bombardier plant. I fondly recalled my first ad agency. This was one of their largest accounts. It was my first experience with corporate downsizing. I smiled as I considered the growth that resulted from that pruning. An interesting and unexpected reminder at the beginning of our mission trip. 

A few miles down the road, we passed by the DowArgoscience building.  What are the chances? This was one of the largest accounts at my next ad agency, my second experience with corporate downsizing. My second growth spurt. 

God set the tone for the mission trip with these visual reminders. Although I had invested many years with each company, His plan would take me further down the road. As I’ve written before, His voice was very clear as I packed my personal belongings that He was calling my up for active duty. My six-year forecast to start my mission work began immediately. He has accomplished so much in two years. Why am I feeling like I’m stuck in a rut?? 

The Mexico trip was a working mission trip that afforded me a lot of thinking time. Rather than working on my teaching notes during free time, there was quiet time while working and riding the bus. I was able to interact with several missionaries living their daily lives which inspired deeper thoughts than I already had. While I was in the midst of this mission effort, I had many occasions to think about the upcoming mission journeys. One is a local effort, the other is an international trip to a new place. Both require a huge expenditure of mental and spiritual energy. One requires fundraising, again. I have sell myself, again

This is why I feel weary. Just about every moment I’m awake, I am asking people for money. Seriously. 

I am trying to be like the sparrow and the lilies of the field. I so want to be peaceful like the scriptures teach in Matthew 6. Somehow this artistic person now has to take more consideration for dollars than creativity. I’m starving!

I’ve become paralyzed in my studio, overcome by the anxiety of marketing myself somehow. Yet I’ve lost my enthusiasm for material things. Pinterest has saturated and overwhelmed me more than inspired me. At one time, my friends and I socialized and shared. Now we pin, post, and swipe. Emotionally, I’m bankrupt. Relationships are still there but that magical facet has lost its luster. 

I am afraid of this happening in my ministry efforts. I watch missionaries market themselves. As they share their testimonies, my heart aches knowing some have real emotions they are afraid to share for fear of losing funding. 

I have learned to let go of my own compulsion for control to allow God to blow me away with blessings out of the blue. Each journey out to the mission field, He has provided. Yet, just as I pray over the tasks in my business life, I need to rest assured He has this next trip planned as well. 

I shared my anxiety on Sunday, mainly because I wear my heart on my sleeve and dear friends knew my mind was heavy. All but one offered encouragement. The one who didn’t asked me why I was going. Hmm…

Even though my mind has churned every possible thought of my inadequacy, one thing is certain– I would experience a misery like never before if I ignored these next two calls. Even though I do not know how God will use me, He won’t fulfill His Will through me from the comfort of my home. My living room would take on the appearance of a whales belly as it did for Jonah. My office would become a prison, keeping me from reaching the appointment He intends for me to make. My bed would be a place to cry, knowing I was disobedient to His request. 

Mentally, spiritually, financially… the road in front of me is exhausting. But I know He will enable and strengthen me to do all things He ordains. 

Perhaps one day my day job will fund my mission journeys. Perhaps one day He will stop calling me out. No matter what, He has taught me to appreciate the full body of His Church, even though my desire is to be an introvert in the back row. 

I need to see myself as a servant rather than a salesperson. 

Colossians 3:23 reminds me, “no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s…”

As you can tell, I’m struggling tonight. If you are led to pray, please do. For…

Clarity in my calling. I want to live according to Gods perfect will rather than working through my strong will and stubbornness. 

Confidence He will equip me for the tasks He requires. 

Focus and discipline to stay on task whether I’m at work or home.  There is so much to be done. I cannot waste hours feeling down and out. 

Finances. Ugh! Pray for favor in accordance to His Will. Provision for the teams I am a part of to have our needs met. God knows who He needs to be senders and who He needs to go. 

Protection. Yes, for safety and health, not just for me and my teams but for those around us. The diobical one will try every avenue to keep us at home and alone with our thoughts. 

Thank you. I can feel your prayers and don’t need to see a tally. God is good. 

All the time.

When you walk through a storm hold  your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. 

How do you feel after reading this post?

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