Thursday, February 22, 2007

New temporary part-time job!

I explained my new job to an acquaintance last week, and this person was quite surprised.

Since I graduated from SPU last spring, I have been working part-time at the University of Washington. I have done a lot of organizational work, mostly helping everybody else out so that they can do their jobs efficiently. As of last week, I was offered a new part-time position, working with the same people, only with different responsibilities. So now with both of these jobs, I'm working full-time! Woohoo! So happy.

When I began to tell this person about my new position, it seemed like they were overwhelmed with what I was telling them. My new responsibilities include statistical data management, organizing student questionnaire data files, working with statistical programs such as SPSS and database programs like Access, among other things. Now, this doesn't sound too scary to me because of my experience with social research. However, the person I was telling this to was wide-eyed with a "what the heck are you talking about," nervous kind of smile. Why were they so surprised and shocked? It might have been just because they were surprised that a person like me would be doing boring statistical work, but I think it was more because of the fact that most people are overwhelmed by the unknown.

What do you do when someone tells you something and it clearly goes way over your head? It happens to me all the time... I usually just give a shrug and a nervous I-have-no-idea-what-you-just-said-to-me laugh. It may make perfect sense to them, but to me (depending on the situation) it makes me uncomfortable thinking about learning about something new.

For example, a couple years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about football, I figured that I would go my whole life not caring about football. Seeing as how baseball is the best sport in the world, I was okay with this. However, once the Seahawks actually began to win games, I got interested in the sport. When I first started asking questions about how the sport is played, I was overwhelmed by all the little rules and details and all the hundreds of different position names, and I was very overwhelmed at what I did not know.

Now, a couple years later, I have learned a lot about the game of football and have actually been teaching my other friends about how the sport works. And now I love it. I was previously overwhelmed by it, and because I took the time to understand it, now it's pretty simple and it makes sense. This realization is much deeper than I had originally thought: Once you take the time to learn about something, it's not as difficult to understand.

Why are we so overwhelmed and scared of things that we have not yet learned about?

I often feel the same way about my relationship with Jesus. The unknown can be scary. My faith -- in the fact that Jesus did actually rise from the dead, that God is in fact powerful enough to create the whole universe, that the Holy Spirit actually does live inside my heart -- can be very scary sometimes. It's not something that I can prove. It's not something that I can feel or touch. It's not tangible. It's hard believing intangibly.

So, if I take the time to learn about Jesus and the Bible the same way that I learned about football, then why can't I have the same process to an understanding? Learning about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit is the only way that my faith makes more sense to me... which of course comes through reading, prayer, community, and worship. I am less overwhelmed by life and the unknowns that come with life when I learn more about Jesus. I am excited about the life I have ahead of me to deepen my understanding of it.

Does that make sense?