Have I ever told you about my first job after college? 

I moved to a new town to do an internship at a new church, but the only paying gig that opened for my Masters-degree-toting, wet-behind-the-ears-self was at a Pawn Shop.

It was pretty different from the desk job I left behind as a graduate assistant in the Honors Program, but I held onto those lovely words from Colossians about doing everything like you’re doing it for Jesus, and tried my best to show up wholeheartedly, scrubbing chainsaws and learning the ropes of used jewelry appraisal. 

One day, my boss called me into his office for a rather discouraging conversation.

The comments were vague and varied, but the overall opinion was that he expected a little bit more ‘momentum’ out of a Masters-degree-toting, Spanish-speaking employee. 

Whatever the mark was, apparently, I was totally missing it.

When the generalized chewing-out was finally completed, I excused myself to head to the restroom and promptly burst into tears. 

Awkward: the restroom was adjacent to the boss’s office.

As I dried tears and glanced in the mirror, my brow furrowed into the question that suddenly mattered more than any other to me. I whispered it, but my heart shouted it:

Lord, what do you say about me?

And right there, in that painted-cinderblock bathroom, as I leaned against that wall-mounted sink with a rust stain at the drain, my heart suddenly swelled with joy as God whispered back:

I say well done.

God knew my heart. Today I flipped open sixteen year old prayer journals to see it in those days. I was hungry to please Him. To treat every customer with kindness (while also trying to be shrewd and not get swindled.) 

I knew I was in the fire and I was wrestling to stay faithful in it. I was wrestling with pride. I was asking the Lord to take that Pawn Shop cup from me, but I was telling Him I was willing to stay as long as He wanted.

Turns out, a year was about how long that fire was to last, and the lessons of those days were many. Many, many, many.

But perhaps the most important one was to turn to Jesus and ask Him the question He asked Peter: “Who do You say that I am?”

Darling friend, life has a surprising way of throwing us a curve ball we didn’t expect. We are wise to choose to walk with humility, to be teachable, and to learn to listen.

But the approval that should always maintain first place in our hearts and stay on the top of our list of goals is the approval of the Father. If we have committed our lives to Him, then He’s the one we’re doing all that we do for anyway, right?

No matter what the world has to say about you or me, Psalm 34 challenges us to be the kind of people who can look to Him and be radiant. The people whose faces are not ashamed.

I dried my tears that day, and left the bathroom with my head held high. Maybe there was room for improvement in my performance at the Pawn Shop but the most important truth was forever etched in my soul, and I encourage you to let Jesus etch it into yours, too.

I live for the well done of the Father. I may have flaws, fail and fall short. But only my Creator can tell me who I am.

P.S. I have a question for you! I’m working on a Bible study, similar to the 30 Days Deeper study many of you enjoyed a few years ago. Would you rather have a printable workbook to work through, or emails delivered to your inbox? Or a workbook that corresponds with daily emails? I’d be so grateful if you’d let me know your thoughts! You can find me on Facebook or Instagram at the links below, or use the contact form on this page!

P.P.S. The meal planner is still around if you want to grab it and get step-by-step meal planning instructions and recipe favorites! Just click the link below to grab it!

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