Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"What do you do, anyways?"

Why is it that in exhaustion, I cannot sleep? And thus I blog.

March madness is upon me. The student development kind...not the basketball kind. It is in this time that our team at the college puts in extra hours. We interview students interested in leadership positions next year and we spend a good amount of time rushing to fulfill our regular jobs...all while we pray for much wisdom. Grace. Caffeine. Sleep.

It is in these weeks that I also feel like a horrible housemate. I publicly apologize here to Carleigh and Gary. They show me so much grace.

Sometimes people ask me, "what do you do at work?"

I don't always know how to answer that because I spend a lot of time with people. I hear what's going on in their lives. I challenge. I encourage. I pray. I'm not always great at it. But I keep trying because I believe I'm supposed to and I genuinely love these students.

This means a lot of coffee dates. A lot of texting. And a lot of prayer. Sometimes, to be honest, it includes an anxious heart. (Part of why it's 12:52 am and I am blogging). My job is actually, truly, meant to be a place where I build relationships and share the hard stuff in people's lives. We come up with accountability plans and resources for that hard stuff. I've grown to see the possibilities that come through conflict management.

Then there's the task stuff. Writing policy. Reading about the latest "higher ed" trends and what it means to work with the next generation (cause I'm now old enough that I'm not part of it...). Ensuring that my student leaders have what they need to do their jobs. Keeping the commuter lounge stacked with bags of coffee (according to them, this is probably the most important thing I do).

March madness looks a little bit crazier.

10 meetings.
5 cups of coffee. (My usual day has 1 1/2).
13 hours from start to finish.
2 heart breaking moments.
1 heart lifting moment.
$15 spent in the cafeteria.
15 minutes checking and responding to email. (At 9pm).
1 half eaten muffin. (Breakfast did not fully happen today).
7 student stories.

Tomorrow will look similar, although I get to come home earlier. That being said, I also know this about my job: you never know what will happen in student development. With this job, unless you're getting on a plane, you are "available".

After telling you all that, as much as I generally love my role, I want to clarify that I'm not what you'd call a "career woman". A lot of people think I am because I'm 31 and single and have a career. Somehow I got pegged. I love my students (most of the time), but I don't do this because I desire to "climb the ladder". (If you're married and have single friends like me, please don't assume they're career women. Some women appreciate the title. Others don't.)

Truthfully, I struggle with envy toward my friends who are moms. I know that they have a hard job; my envy is based on my own passion and desire, not on the misbelief that being a mom is somehow easier (where did that lie start anyways?). I hope you know that if you're a mom, I have great respect for you. I know you don't get breaks and there are constant demands. I know there's also amazing moments where you feel completely blessed. I pray I might get to experience it for myself. I also know I might not get to.

This is where God has me in this season.

This is where He wants to use me right now.

So, tomorrow, I will pull myself out of bed. I will drink more than 1 1/2 cups of coffee. I will hear stories, experience heart breaks and heart lifts. I will come up with accountability plans. I will interview students who want to be leaders and figure out who makes the cut. I will pray.

I will also seek to wrestle with my own heart. The envy that I struggle with. The insecurity I feel about my ability to do this job. I will need to look for truth and acknowledge the untruths. I will accept my daily bread and try not to look too far beyond.

*deep breath*

Thanks for listening.


  1. I love your heart. When will we see you next? Still want to plan a trip to see Rachel this summer? Blessings, my friend. God has your back.

  2. I'm pretty sure that the harder it is to describe your job, the better your job is. :) Your days sound incredibly rich and incredibly hard, but I know this: the insecurity you feel about your ability to do your job is both universal and false. You are the perfect person to do what you do at Columbia and they are so lucky to have you.

  3. I have been on the receiving end of the student care you're giving and I am so grateful for those who were in your place at the time :) Know that you are appreciated and EXTREMELY valued! It's also okay to be stressed and anxious. It's just not very fun. Prayin' for ya!

  4. We love you, Kathleen...May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, that you might overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We sent some prayers up your way this week. -Missy and Patrick

  5. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Hugs Kathleen. My mom has often reminded me that God is just asking me to be faithful with today... in many seasons this has and does encourage me... just do today (insert name), faithfully. Praying with you for all the unknowns.