Is there Room for Grace in an 80 hour Work Week?

Where does my faith fit into my work-dominated life?

In many ways, the Lord has crafted me for this sort of work environment. Being in consulting is a high-intensity, intellectually challenging, fast-paced, continuously changing calling. All of which I craved coming out of undergrad.

I truly enjoy what I do. But more and more, I wonder how, in a job that requires a high degree of aggression, competition, and sacrifice, I am supposed to embody the grace, humility, and meekness God asks of His followers.

After a non-stop month of constant sleep deprivation, working all weekend, dealing with terrible coworker drama llama, blowing off my family and friends because I have a lifetime supply of excel sheets to sift through, completely blowing my diet out of the water and living on diet coke, sandwiches, energy drinks, and thai food...I'm exhausted.
oh...and I've completely turned into this kind of jackwagon:

Not by choice, mind you. I hate interrupting conversations and interactions with work calls, but, candidly, when your boss calls you about something last minute, what are you supposed to do??

I'm in a very confusing place right now. God has given me this personality and work ethic and drive that make me a good fit for consulting. And I don't think being a blunt, ambitious person is inherently wrong. I truly believe that God has put me here, and these parts of my personality that might strike some as abrasive have served me well in this environment.

But what I don't know is how to do these things with the grace of a woman of God. How do you turn the other cheek while still protecting yourself against a manipulative coworker who is attempting to undermine you? I've actually had a few people suggest that negotiating raises and salaries is greedy, but I believe there's something to be said for defending your worth as an employee. But where is that balance? And how do you make intentional time for friends, family, and, most importantly, the Lord, when you pound back energy drinks just to stay awake? How do I find the stamina to glorify God through my work when quite frankly I can't even get to all of it? Where does a healthy and necessary dose of ambition and aggression meet grace and humility?

And I think what worries me the most is that I don't have any godly examples around me. It's no secret that consulting can be a very secular, worldly career, and though I'm fortunate to be in a firm that is a far cry from House of Lies, consultants that openly identify themselves as a Christ-followers are few and far between (not non-existent, mind you, but certainly scarce). I don't think these intense, competitive professional careers are inherently antagonistic to a godly way of life, but why do I feel so alone in this? And how....do I do it?

In a world full of wolves, how am I supposed to be as shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove? It seems like a juggling act that I haven't quite grasped.

Here lies a post without resolution. I just don't know.




Note: None of these pictures are in any sort of order and probably this post is nonsensical because I'm out of practice. 


The other week, because I was slated to work remotely, and because I've been out on the west coast for work, working from Hawaii seemed like a good alternative to working from North Carolina. And working from Hawaii went about as well as you'd expect. Unless you the reader are a coworker, in which case it was super productive, probably the most productive week of my life.

that dumb guy's head
I stayed at this incredibly weird hostel right on the beach above. The hostel wasn't that weird, but there were NO other travelers there. And when you're a single traveler that's kind of lame. And the guy who ran the hostel was a little...curmudgeon-y. But he had a buddy, Andy, who went hiking with me and took me and some of the hostel-ers down the road on the Road to Hana.

I went snorkeling here - Honolua Bay

Andy and I decided to go hiking at Waihee Ridge Trail. This hiking trip will forever be known as the trip where I put too much faith in my Chacos, and I'd like to say that even though it was a hard hike that tested my physical abilities and really challenged the number of post- [...and pre-]dinner cookies I consume on the regular, the hike up Waihee Ridge Trail was worth it.

But 2.5 miles straight uphill later...

...I'm not sure it was. 

This was my view. After one of the most strenuous hikes of my life.

I mean sure I built personal character or some nonsense like that, but then I almost died 37 times on the way down because Chacos do not have great traction when you are climbing straight down a narrow little trail and my butt was COVERED in mud because after falling a lot I eventually ended up just booty-scooting down half the da*n mountain.

Not pictured: the mud plastered all over my legs...and butt.

I WILL have you know that the only other people I saw go all the way up the trail were really tiny fitness gurus in spandex. I'm basically a hero for all marginally chubby people in Maui.

The fog was so thick that it made me a little claustrophobic.

One of approximately 2 pictures I took on the Road to Hana. This guy from Spain is supposed to email me more pictures and if he ever remembers I'll post them but in the meantime I'm sure you can just google Hana.

I went to the aquarium because I'm kind of addicted to them and I saw what may be the world's ugliest fish, bless his heart. 

A beautiful seahorse. 

This was not at the aquarium but candidly I do not remember where it is.

On the Road to Hana picture #2

Working from Maui meant that I occasionally had to get up for meetings at 4am. And by occasionally I mean pretty much almost every day. And the ornery hostel cat threw a fit and wanted to come cuddle and be annoying every morning when I was trying to get work done, which apparently tuckered him out.

Luckily the island boasts some delicious local coffee. BTW - the local coffee shop people asked me if I lived on the island. Lord knows how but apparently I fit in in Maui, because at least two other people asked the same thing. 

Iao Valley and one of the less embarrassing photos from my trip unless you find selfies embarrassing in which case I should probably delete this but I won't. 

I went to the Maui Swap Meet on one of my last days on the island. You'll note all the freckles from 10 days of constant sunshine (eat it, San Fran). Not pictured is the oozing, flaking, purple-y red sunburn that hurt like sin for ten days after the ten days on the island.

Anyways, back to the swap meet...I wanted to get local gifts for everybody. While perusing the stalls, I strolled by a ukulele booth. I stopped and chatted and asked how much this little buddy was. "$99".

I walked off.

And then turned around, spent an hour playing all the ukuleles, and ended up buying him. I didn't forget everyone else and I got them some funky fresh souveneirs. Of course, cool as these gifts were, none of them are quit as fun as an uke.

So, long story short, Maui was fun. I wish I had more pictures from the Road to Hana - so many of the sites were beautiful and romantic and unbelievably otherworldly. Especially the Red Sands Beach. There was this secluded little alcove with teal water and dark red sand and I spent a full thirty minutes pretending to be the Little Mermaid in that thing. Which was ok because Maui is currently not that crowded so not too many people minded the charismatic display.

Truthfully - I probably wouldn't go back to Maui. I'm sorry to say that there isn't a lot of local culture on the island, and I am not much of a beach bum ( see: Sunburn rant). It was gorgeous and I saw amazing sights, but there are so many cultures and places to explore and if I'm supposed to explore them all in this lifetime then I had better keep on rolling. But I'm glad I went and I'm glad my sunburn is healed and I'm glad I have a ukulele.

Aloha, friend.


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