When work feels like play…

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The background was supposed to be the focus of this selfie photo–not Diana, at right, or me. Truly. (A shame we are included in this at all, actually.) We walked into the Florida Mall yesterday, and Diana (who bears her Palestinian parents’ dark eyes, hair, and olive skin) said, “I think I fit in just fine here, but you, not so much.” Between my height, my honey blond hair, and my blue eyes, I felt positively foreign. It was just something else to add laughter to our day.

Today I have the privilege to attend a conference that will help me lead my school through the accreditation process. I will be in a small room for meetings for about eight hours and then battle city and interstate traffic during rush hour to get home, likely late—so I can go to real work the next day.

But I am excited.

The adventure began Sunday at 1, when my colleague Diana and I left town to travel to Orlando for the training. We arrived early to get settled, talk shop, and, actually, shop. (Is it no wonder I think this is fun?)

Diana and I have worked together for more than ten years at our small school, teaching and leading our departments. Over the summer, we were “elevated” to the administration as assistant principals. She holds the traditional principal role—dealing with delinquent students, making sure teachers are doing what they should, and keeping the curriculum in line with the school’s mission and vision statements. I have a non-typical role—dealing with communication, the school learning management website, and heading the accreditation process.

To make things simpler to understand, we named Diana “principal” and me “ditzy” (actually, DIT-C, for Director of Instructional Technology and Communications). Many refer to us as Lucy and Ethel from “I Love Lucy”—perhaps because we manage to make the most mundane and challenging tasks fun—and we do liken our jobs to the TV friends’ chocolate factory scene.

But we share an office, stay abreast of what each other is doing, bounce ideas off each other before acting, and in some sense serve in both parts of these assistant principal roles. That explains why Diana has joined me on this venture, and I am so thankful to have her partnership as we embark more fully into the accreditation process crucial to this private Christian school.

Did I mention that my work sometimes feels like play? On any given day, I often—not always—like what I do and enjoy the people with whom I work (including my students and their parents as well as my colleagues). But on any given day I also am overwhelmed, pulled in numerous directions, and torn between tasks—and that makes my work feel like work. (Endless work, actually.)

But for this day, that all changes. I am “stuck” in a room with one task at hand. Yes, this will lead to numerous other tasks, of course. But not today. Today I must do one thing well: learn the accreditation process.

Years ago, when I was college student working with Campus Crusade for Christ, I heard a sermon in which the woman shared a statement from missionary Jim Elliot, who was later killed by the people he came to help. Elliot said:

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

I adopted that saying as my own and have tried (and too often failed) to adhere to it. I find a certain peace in focusing on one task by prioritizing the important, rather than caving under the tyranny of the urgent. Being “all there” gives me joy—even when the “all there” is permission to grade that pile of essays or tackle those dishes in the sink.

Today, I get to forget all my other responsibilities and be fully here. Learning. With a good friend.

And that is why my work feels like play.

It’s play day!

3 thoughts on “When work feels like play…

  1. I’m glad that you both have been ” elevated ” . I love the title you’ve given yourself , but you are far from ditzy!
    Y’all have fun today and safe travels back home .

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  2. May I encourage you with a longer Jim Elliot quote;

    “That delight—in God—is the thing that brings desire in the heart to do good, and desire is beneath everything. If there is no desire to do God’s will, then the doing of God’s will is just outward conformity, and God doesn’t appreciate it at all.

    “Now desire is more than just willingness. I once worked for the Foreign Missions Fellowship, which is a group of collegiate kids who are considering going to the mission field. You know, every time I would talk to some Christians in college, their big cry about the mission field was, ‘Well you know, I’m willing to go. I’m quite willing to go to the mission field. Very willing to go. Willing. But I need a call from God (or some such thing) because I don’t feel as if I’m sent to the mission field.’ Well, I’m telling you that passive willingness is not desire. I was willing to go to the mission field a long time before I willed to go to the mission field. And it is the desire of the will that God wants.

    “Desire is the putting of my will into God’s concern. It’s not a passive, sitting back in your easy chair, folding your arms sort of thing, which says, ‘Well, I’m willing, if God would only give me a good swift kick and send me.’ That’s willingness all right. But God doesn’t want willingness, He wants will! He wants your will put behind those desires.”

    Blessings to you,
    ~ BloggerBob

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    1. Thanks so much, BloggerBob! I appreciate you taking the time to share that thought from Jim Elliot. (He has been one of my personal heroes for years, along with his wife, Elisabeth.)

      Thank you!

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