My commitment to the Young Adult Volunteer program will be over at the end of next month, and the summer is already flying by. I have loved my time at Preston Taylor Ministries . and just being a part of such a meaningful ministry. In addition to the opportunity to help children learn and share my faith with them, I have been blessed by the work environment at PTM.
It has been incredible and a totally new experience to work in an open and honest environment that feels safe and makes it easier to acknowledge our weaknesses, sinfulness, and struggles with each other. I've left staff meetings surprised by what we've shared--sometimes expressing frustrations with each other in a way that I've never heard but that is so productive and healthy. I've learned a lot about relationships and communication and realized that I never want to work anywhere and pretend to be or want something I'm not.
But as much as I say I don't want to pretend, I found myself doing just that at the beginning of my time at PTM. My boss was really excited to have me on staff, and he began delegating pretty quickly. And I soon discovered that I could not do all of the work he had given me and only work the 35 hours that my program calls for (which is in addition to other program responsibilities). But it felt almost impossible to say that despite the fact that one of my goals this year was to develop better work/life boundaries. The idea of going to my boss and asking for deadline extensions or explaining that I couldn't do all of the work almost seemed out of my realm of possible options.
During my first evaluation my boss shared wonderful and affirming feedback with me, but then we started talking about why I don't come to him when I need more time for assignments I just couldn't stop crying. My boss asked a few questions and made a comment, pointing out that it seemed that I might find my value in my perfection. He asked me "If you're only valuable when you're perfect, what does that say about your Creator?"
As I reflected on that question and why I'd rather work all night long than admit I can't finish something by the given deadline or ask for help, I realized that some of the issues at my last job may not have been the job insomuch as they were my issues. My belief that I'm only valuable when I'm perfect was pervading yet another area of my life. I am grateful to have a boss that went beyond the surface issue to help me find the root cause--and to remind me that my value has absolutely nothing to do with my (im)perfection. I've had to remind myself of that truth often as I say "no" to things and strive to create balance in my life. It's hard to imagine finding another boss who would invest so much in me, creating an environment that surely gives God reason to smile as we do life together in a way that enables us to serve Him and each other better. This year has been such a gift; it's hard to believe it's almost over.
p.s. I'm grateful for cold water, shade, sunglasses, swimming pools, sleeveless shirts, ponytails, and ice cream.