For two months now I’ve been working a new job as an independent consultant building a website for an educational grant aimed at making schools in Wisconsin more active. I’m uniquely qualified and yet fully challenged. I’ve been able to work from home and my favorite coffee shop since day one. And it took only about two weeks into the gig for me to realize how much this new work was affecting my soul. It’s fair to say I’ve had my soul rekindled in the last couple months. Just today I tweeted that getting to Starbucks at 6am to check news, plan the day, and get working by 645am was good for my soul. I’m aware of my soul more because I’m feeding it good stuff. It’s in a good place. Pleasure outweighs pain.
Coffee shop at 6am is good for my soul
— Hans Schiefelbein (@HSchiefelbein) November 22, 2013
To summarize my career, I’ve worked as an arborist for over 10 years, trying at different times and intensities to get into the fitness and exercise world, since teaching just didn’t work out. I could write chapters on that last sentence alone. For now, you need to know that I’ve fully come to the place of trusting that God has a plan. I’m so far beyond the canned Christian response that “God is in control.” This road has been so long and so tough, I’ve thought about it from every angle and I’m confident there is a reason for this. I don’t want to be in this industry anymore and so when this consultant job came across my desk, I was apprehensive it would work out because so many things to this point haven’t. When it did, I celebrated and then I soaked in the work that I love. I create and edit content to help kids be more active and I use technology as a platform and as a communication tool. Truly it’s good for my soul. I should know. I’ve been in some deep valleys for many, many years. But this… this is good.
It’s kind of ironic because when I was interning in college ministry about ten years ago, I gave a talk about “whatever you do, do it as if unto the Lord.” And now here I was eating those words, hating the taste in my mouth. But I’m learning that God does not put anything on you that you cannot bear. Again, sounds cliche but my story, my experience backs this up. And the story of my friend Scott Peterson rings through my head almost every week now. He remembers being in a similar position, asking God, “What are you doing? How does all this fit? Nothing makes sense.” Then he got on the back side of the (long) situation and he could see all the dots align. God had a plan, and it was all unfolding into clarity Scott never could have imagined. I’m not there yet, but I feel it. I wonder. And I still ask God similar questions.
This isn’t a sad post. This is good stuff, good vibe. I feel good but I’m writing to document this process. I’m still plagued with questions and doubts, but doing work that matters has helped so much. One of the emotions I identified a few months ago was a lack of “feeling” of God’s presence. Actually, I guess I identified that years ago. But just recently it surfaced again and I’ve been more aware of it lately. I’ve felt my soul move. I’ve felt God in my life. I’m sorry to say that’s big news in my life. I never lost faith, but I certainly asked for God to touch my hand. He has.
And tonight I’m up writing at 10:50pm because I just got out of a 4-hour session of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit replay. The messages sparked some deep emotion in me.
I'm watching the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Absolutely floored by these messages.
— Hans Schiefelbein (@HSchiefelbein) November 23, 2013
I’m thinking on new levels and I’m more confident than ever that I’m on the right path, I’m doing things the way He wants me to.
I’m not writing about doing work that matters because it’s the only way to be in touch with your soul. God is using people all over the spectrum, and he’s equipped each one of us in unique ways. But to have God answer my prayers and put me in a new situation that has evoked these emotions could not go without notice.