Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Dealing with the Wait...

It's been some time since I last posted so thought I would put something up to show I haven't forgotten about regular posting. Last week was my first week of unemployment. To be honest I thought I would miss my work more. My colleagues were very supportive in my last week and it was sad to go and to say goodbye to everyone. I think one of the things I have started missing most is the ability to say I am an archaeologist. I've not yet been in the situation where I've met someone new and been asked what I do but in my mind I don't know 'what' I am anymore. I've been defined by being an archaeologist for about ten years and so it is a big mind shift to realise that's not what I am anymore. I know in the grand scheme of things I am not defined by my job, I am defined by Christ and my relationship with him but it has been a major part of my life for many years.

In this light I'm surprised that I don't miss work more, I know it hasn't been long but for the moment I am enjoying the freedom to spend my time in different ways. It's how I'm spending my time that I really wanted to focus this post on. For those of you wondering if I'm looking for work the answer is currently no. I'm in the fortunate financial position that I don't need one for the moment and I'm hoping that I will be in Slovenia before I would need one. Of course getting a job is complicated by the fact that I'm hoping to be leaving the country very shortly...

I'm no stranger to unemployment, it's a reality many archaeologists face. I was unemployed for about 6 months between 2013 and 2014 before I got the job that led me to Swindon. That was a very difficult time for me. I was living at home and I was prone to bouts of depression - not in the medical sense - where I would wonder what I was doing with my life and if I would ever get a job in the industry I thought God was leading me to. Many of you will be aware that I had an issue with my elbow that meant that I was unable to dig and therefore prolonged my unemployment as non digging archaeology jobs are not very common. Looking back I can see God's hand on the whole situation. He led me to Swindon at just the right time and to the right job. In turn this led me to go to Slovenia for the first time as it was a very cheap destination and I couldn't afford anything more. Even my unemployment then has given me wisdom as to how to deal with it this time.

I'm in a very different situation now, I have something I'm working towards and I know where God is leading me, it's just a matter of waiting. For this reason I've tried to fix very specific tasks for each day so that I can feel like I'm accomplishing something. First thing in the morning I'm trying to spend an hour in Bible study, prayer and reading Christian books. In the afternoons I'm spending an hour learning Slovene and then listening to a sermon or Christian talk I have saved. Amongst all this I'm trying to put all my digital photos in some sort of order (don't ask) and I'm working on finishing a quilt before I go. In the evenings I often have a church activity to go to. I'm not trying to be proud or sound super spiritual but I have the time I can spend with God and I feel it is the most important time of my day. When I was working I have been guilty too often of putting time with God to one side but now I have no excuses and I feel like my day is set up when I spend the first part of it with God. I know for most people this isn't feasible but I think it is important to remember that it is vital that we spend time with God in personal study. For example this morning I was reading part of Daniel 10 and it talks about the spiritual dimension of the battle we are in. Ephesians 6 talks about the sword of the Spirit being the word of God. Never forget the battle we face is not just against the visible things in this world.

That being said it's very easy to say yes I'm spending an hour with God but what does this look like? I'm not trying to say that my way is necessarily best or would work for everyone but it is helpful for me. The first part is spent reading my passage for the day and then writing out my Psalm passage in English and Slovene (yes I'm still continuing with my resolutions). In the background I have Christian music playing. The rest of the time is spent in prayer or reading a Christian book. I find it difficult to spend extended time in prayer, my mind wanders and I find it difficult to focus. To combat this I have started a Word document on my computer and I type out my prayers. It's amazing how much this has helped me focus my prayers into specific topics and the time goes incredibly quickly!

I want to finish this blog post with a book recommendation. Glory Days by Julian Hardyman. This is a book I gained as a student - I don't really remember why - but I picked up again a few weeks ago. It's not a long book and he writes in a very easily accessible style. I think it's an important book as he tackles the topic of living our whole lives for Jesus. To quote the blurb: "Many believers subconsciously divide their lives into Christian activities (church, prayer, Bible study and evangelism) and everything else - the glory bits and the rest. Julian Hardyman shows that God is just as interested in our work and family, our hobbies and skills, our politics and sporting prowess, as the things we think of as spiritual."

For me it has been important to remind myself that going abroad to serve God is not more spiritual than it would have been to remain in England as an archaeologist. It is only because God intervened in my life to lead me to Slovenia that it is right for me to go. It would be wrong for me to go if I only went because I thought it made me super spiritual or better in God's sight. God is interested in the whole of our lives not just the things we do at church or on a Sunday.

So in conclusion, I am still waiting on God's timings and in the meantime I am trying to live my life in a way that honours him and I am cultivating habits that I hope will stand me in good stead when I move to Slovenia.

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