Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Work Takes Over Your Existence

Haven't worked this many hours since, hmm, it has been about 5 years I think.  78.5 hours last week.  Several nights I didn't get home from work until after 4 a.m.  This week is better.  Got home tonight around 11:30 p.m.

We are doing a proof of technology project and we are in the final week of testing.  That means probably very little to anyone outside of the IT industry, so better get this back to what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me.

Crazy thing is I am enjoying the work except for the politics.  One part of the client company wants the technology to fail, and the other part wants it to succeed so the results of our labors are challenged not unlike what you see on the news shows regarding the Presidential race.  Today I was happy I made it past 2 p.m. without taking a couple laps around the pond to get out the stress from having to talk tactfully when I want, you know, to verbally crush someone.

When I am going around the pond, which is becoming a joke where I work, I am saying the Jesus Prayer.    I do almost a half lap with "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."  But then I switch it up a bit.  I replace 'me' with my family members', friends, and co-workers' names.  While mentioning one person's name I noticed that I had a great desire for the person to be converted.  I seemed to feel the love Jesus has for this person and how much he longs for him to respond to his mercy.  We'll see, and I'll continue to pray.  There is really no reason to work this hard unless there is something great that comes out of it for the Lord's glory!  The guy is a Hindu father of 2, so I will be very much glorifying God if this happens.

The reason it is a joke at work is i can't make it past 2 p.m. without needing to go for a couple laps.  I get so angry suppressing my frustration, fielding the obstructionists' many questions, as we review the fourth revision to the 32 page deliverable, that I have to go for a walk so I can think straight for the remainder of the 12+ hour day.  One of my co-workers said she saw me out the window when she was in another meeting and she just started laughing, knowing I must have gotten ticked-off again.  We've also been joking that we need to factor in the therapist fees and anger management course costs into the amendment to the statement of work.

What the Lord taught me today was the helpful intersection between Buddhist philosophy and the teachings of Christ.  Sometimes I joke that I would make a terrible Buddhist as they teach "mindfulness" where you notice everything but do not make a judgement as to whether it is good or bad.  I have analytic bent so I make continuous assessments of the good or bad of just about everything.

Here are the helpful intersections:

  • Buddhists teach origin of suffering is attachment.  The reason for suffering is desire, passion, striving for fame and popularity.  In short:  CLINGING AND CRAVING.  We Christians are taught similarly that we are to have singleness of heart, to seek first the Kingdom; that our God is a jealous God and we are not to have anything in our hearts that has a higher place than him, and we are to surrender all attachments, laying them at his feet.
  • Buddhist teach the idea of self is a delusion, because there is no abiding self.  It goes a bit off the tracks when they talk about "becoming part of the universe", reincarnation, etc.;  We Christians are taught:

    "My old self has been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (St. Paul, Galatians 2:20)

    "Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left . . . . " (Lorica of St. Patrick)

    "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
    (Jesus in John 12:25)

    "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
    (Jesus in John 15:6)
  • Buddhists teach cessation of suffering is attainable by attaining dispassion, and following a middle way between the extremes of excessive self-indulgence and excessive self-mortification.  This reads very similar to many saints who teach that self-mortification leads to controlling the passions and the self-indulgence behind them.
  • The last helpful intersection I was able to get to today was the first part of the Buddhist's Noble Eightfold Path, "Right View".  It means in Buddhism to recognize the four noble truths as Right View yields right thoughts and right actions.  This led me to rapid succession of scriptures on what our right view is in Christianity, and in fact what is the absolute truth and right view for everyone as revealed by Jesus Christ the Son of God:

    "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

    "I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
    (John 15:5)

    "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
    (John 15:16)

    "He (the Father) cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be more fruitful."
    (John 15:2)

    "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
    (Matthew 7:19)

    "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers, such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burne
    d (yes that was the 2nd time for this verse)."  (John 15:6)

    "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God.  Sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness.  Otherwise, you also will be cut off." (Romans 11:22)

    "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance." (Romans 2:4)
The more intense my life is, the more I turn to the Lord and depend on him.  Last Thursday I stopped into church on the way into work, because I think my team and I desperately needed me to go before the Lord and ask for his blessing and favor on our efforts and on us.  

I am not a calm, dispassionate person, so I am driven to take a walk alone with my God, pleading for his mercy, confident that my strength and any semblance of self-control comes from him.  I have had two awesome 12 hour plus saving ideas come from these quick little exercise/prayer breaks that I know I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

I am also being challenged that in all circumstances, adverse or pleasant, I need to remain in Jesus or I can do nothing.  If I remain in him, I will bear fruit.  If I continue in his kindness I might have the patience to not become a dead branch that is thrown away and withers.  Anyway I believe that is the "Right View".

God has been blessing me like crazy, answering my prayers and the prayers of my friends.  My husband has been wonderful lately.  We have been getting along so much better.  We are laughing more, managing through the summer/fall sport practice schedules, school book orders, and school medical forms along with his physical therapy (from his shoulder injury) and around my crazy work hours the past few weeks . . . .without argument.  God's kindness and grace are apparent.

Hope you are enjoying this last blessed month of summer, my favorite time of year, and that you are being taught much by the Holy Spirit too!

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