Monday, September 8, 2014

Act Justly, Love Mercy


I've been struggling with my job lately. Honestly, I can probably chalk it up to 50% pregnancy hormones and 50% disillusionment as my one-year anniversary there approaches and my honeymoon period draws to a close. But, lately I've found myself coming home and venting about work to Chuck more and more. Let me first set the record straight by saying that I love my job. If you asked me to design my dream job, it would probably look nearly identical to what I'm doing now. But the fact is, I'm busy and most days it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs done. I find myself exhausted and feeling stretched thin. I feel like I am constantly catering to the needs of others and giving way more of myself than I receive in return.

And then, once I am finished throwing myself a pity party, I wake up and realize- oh yeah, you work for a non-profit. 

It's in this place of job jadedness that I've been reflecting on what it means to "act justly and to love mercy..." (Micah 6:8). The books I'm reading at the moment (more to come in another post) have been hugely convicting as I sit back and think about what I'm doing to serve. The fact is- very little. 

I pride myself in devoting my life to working toward the alleviation of hunger in our world. But therein lies the problem. I am lacking in humility and compassion: two vital components to a justice-centered life. I love that because of my role, more food insecure folks in my community are able to access fresh, healthy food. And then when I'm driving home from work and I see one of those same folks along the side of the road, clearly in need of some food, water and/or hospitality, I quickly avert my eyes. I become uncomfortable as their hungry eyes bear into me, because I know better than to continue driving. And yet, time and time again- I do it anyway.

Obligatory "Look at me living in an impoverished country" photo
The work that I'm doing is important. And my employer is an imperative staple in this broken world. But let's face it- I'm getting paid to enact justice. Once I clock out, I pat myself on the back for my good work and continue on in my self-serving, comfortable life. I do not volunteer, I do not write my government representatives, I do not sacrifice

The fact is, I've witnessed poverty in its most horrific forms. I have far fewer excuses to ignore the problem than the average person. And yet, due to sheer laziness and selfishness, I do not "act justly" of my own volition. 

In my faith journey, I've found that the times in which I feel closest to Jesus are the times in which my life more closely resembles His. I think my first step in rectifying this glaring discrepancy in my life, is to rekindle that relationship. Because if I have any hope of changing the world, I must first change myself.

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