Why? So That…

I had an interesting experience this week.

I interviewed for a job.

Not to change jobs, but more to add something to my already rather full plate.  But even though my plate is already quite full, when an opportunity comes up that has been on my mind for quite some time, I would be foolish not to go for it.

As I applied, I put it all in God’s hands.  Truth be told, from the moment that this particular position came to mind, I have left it in God’s hands.  Because, even though this would be a really cool thing, I know that if it isn’t in God’s plan for my life, then it will not happen.  And I will be ok with that.

To be honest, knowing that I’m doing my part to be willing, and leaving the rest up to God has given me a sense of ease and peace throughout the entire process.

So here’s the deal:

I suck at interviews.

Seriously.

Historically, I just have not been capable of presenting myself in the best way possible.  I get nervous, and even more awkward than normal.  And it’s just a flop.

I walk away feeling dejected, because deep down, I know that I just blew it.

So, to say that a great deal of prayer happened before this interview is an understatement.

My prayers basically went something like this:

God, give me the words.

And guess what?

He did!

But that’s not even close to the best part.  Because, I walked away from the interview knowing that I wasn’t the best candidate.  Not that I wouldn’t be amazing.  But I know that I am not the best candidate that they are interviewing.  I’m far from the most qualified.  I don’t have the experience.

There is a 99.99% chance that I will not be getting this job.

But I walked out of that interview with a huge amount of satisfaction about my part of the interview.

And we’re finally closing in on why this was such an amazing experience…I promise.

The person who interviewed me is someone I have known nearly my entire life.  She was one of my teachers growing up.  And I have worked with her, and for her now for almost 3 years.  But even with such a long history, she didn’t know me all that well.

She laughed at the fact that she asks everyone the same questions, to keep the playing field even.  She asked me to tell her about myself.  And as soon as I started talking about myself, and some of the things that I did after high school, her jaw hit the floor.  So in asking the question that she felt foolish asking, she found out a lot more about me.  In a really good way.  She didn’t realize that I had moved half way across the country.  Or why I made the decision to move back home.

She definitely didn’t realize that one of my most memorable moments growing up came during one of her classes.

But here is the really cool thing…

We talked about my motivation for applying for this job.

Which led to my motivation for doing many of the things that I do.

And that specific motivation has been on my mind a lot lately.

Why do I do the things that I do?

What is the outcome that I hope to get from doing the thing that I do?

To the point where I have written the following on my desk calendar at school:

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I did this so every single time I look at this, my own personal motivations come to mind.

Why?

Well it certainly isn’t money.  As I stated in my interview, if money were my greatest motivation, I would go down the street and work at McDonald’s because I would make more money.

Would a larger salary be nice?  Yes, yes it would.  To add a little more cushion to bank account.  So I wouldn’t have to rely on my parents for some help and support.  Yes, that would be fantastic.

But I do love my job.

So what is my motivation?  Besides the fact that this is where God has placed me for right now.

The “why” that I bring to work every day, the “why” that I take with me to youth group every week, is that I want to be able to give the kiddos that I work with something that I didn’t have growing up.

Yes, I had amazing parents.  I had youth group.  I had people that care about me.

What I didn’t have was the self-confidence in myself.  Nor did I have a firm understanding of who God was.  Or who I was to God.

So that…

So what is my expected outcome?  What is my goal?  What purpose could I possibly have in doing the things that I do?

I want these kids to be able to stand firm in their faith.  I want them to turn to God when times get tough.  Not to turn their back on their faith when life gets real, and things get hard.

I made bad, really stupid mistakes growing up.  I made bad, really stupid mistakes as an adult, too.

I want better for the people around me.  So they don’t go through the same struggles that I went through.

Because I truly believe that even though used the free will that God gave me to not just turn my back on Him and run away.  I lashed out.  I swore up and down countless times that there couldn’t possibly be a God.

I was dumb.  I was selfish.

Even though I did a lot of things that God isn’t thrilled about, I believe that He can turn all of those mistakes around, and use all of them for something positive.

And it isn’t just that he can use all of those stupid mistakes.

He is using them.

 

Be Happy Anyway

The world today gives us a million reasons to be grouchy.

Be happy anyway.

Things go wrong, despite the best laid plans.

Be happy anyway.

It’s too early in the morning.

Be happy anyway.

Just, be happy anyway.

In the past couple of weeks, I have been both complimented, and criticized.  For the EXACT SAME THING!!!

When I am at school (also known as my job) I am over the top happy.  I am friendly, and welcoming.  I’m that super annoying person that cheerfully greets everyone with a good morning and a smile.  I give students high fives.  I joke with them, laugh with them.  I want them to know, really, truly, honestly know that I am glad they are at school.

It requires a great deal of coffee to be successful at that.  And some days are more successful than others.

But it is absolutely on purpose.

One of my favorite tasks during the day is taking breakfast tickets.  It may seem like a menial task.  But I see it as one of the most important things I do all day long.  And it isn’t making sure that the kiddos are properly entered into the system.  Every single morning, one of the first things they hear when walking into the school building is me.  Me wishing them good morning, calling them by name, and a smile to go along with it.

Because, if you aren’t aware, many kids that eat breakfast at school are doing so because that’s one of the two meals they know they will eat during the day.  Many of these kiddos come from homes (if they can even really be called that) that aren’t, let’s go with ideal.

But when they come to school, I want them to know, to feel, to see that someone cares for them.  And that they are cared for.

That’s the most important thing I can do here.

If they learn something from me, too, that’s great.

So when someone tries to shame me for being happy, I don’t let it get me down.  In a world where there are a million reasons not to smile, I choose to anyway.  When the sun refuses to shine, I am the sunshine.

But let me tell you a little secret.  Some days, I don’t feel like being happy.  But I choose to anyway.  I have for years.  This actually started many years ago, when, in another life, I traveled around the country, and taught Preschool teachers.  Often, when people travel, they are stressed out, and uncomfortable, and grouchy and rude.

I get it, travelling stinks sometimes.

But one year, I made a decision.  I wouldn’t let that be me.  I wouldn’t be the person that was grouchy and rude to my fellow travelers and airport personnel.  It was fantastic.  Because you can really surprise people when you’re actually nice to them.  And you can meet some really interesting and fantastic people along the way.  I remember one time, I had to get my bag searched, because I forgot that I had a bottle of hand sanitizer.  Looking back, I probably should have used it more frequently.  But that’s another issue.  Anyway, I had to have my bag searched.  The TSA agent found that there was nothing nefarious in my purse, and at the end of what must have been a very long day for him, he told me that I was free to go.  As I was collecting my things, I turned to him and smiled, and I told him “thank you, have a nice day” with a huge smile on my face.  The man’s jaw ended up on the floor.

He probably had never been thanked before after searching someone’s bag.  And I was *gasp* actually nice to him!

Seriously folks, it’s not that hard.  Don’t be a sucky human being.

So, yes.  Be nice to other people.

But here it is, are you ready for the big secret???

Being happy, joyful, sunny, welcoming, positive, and uplifting to other people has a side effect.  It makes you feel better about yourself.  When you’re nice to other people, it makes you feel better!

So, when my students get ready to walk in the door, and they’re dragging because they just got up 10 minutes ago, and look like they’re still half asleep, because they are, I’m even more over the top happy to them.  I may even sing and dance.  You never know what might happen.

So go out there, have an awesome and amazing and fantastic Friday, folks!