The probationary period has ended.
Do you know me? If you do, you will know that in every employment position I ever had there was one component that I hated … and that’s not an exaggerated term. I absolutely hated the performance review in every minute aspect. If my performance is being rated in meticulous detail, I will fall short of perfection. When that happens, tell me now so I can make corrections now. Three months later or (gasp) a year later is well past the incubation period to effectively make improvements – and if I’ve already adjusted my behavior, there is no value in regurgitating the past. Why is this topic permeating my thoughts so heavily these past few days? It’s been three months since my last day of employment. Three months since anyone looked at my work and evaluated whether it met expectations or had defects. Admittedly, for a few weeks my unequivocal job was to heal from injuries, but after that period … how will I measure up?
Yesterday, I had to pack up possessions from my desk because while I was unable to work, my contract expired. As I left the parking lot I realized that my probationary time of being unemployed has passed. Without stated objectives, I’ve fallen short of using my time wisely. There has been no feedback on deficiencies, and no advisors to point out my failures. As much as I detest the performance evaluation, God reminded me that He has expectations which he has revealed in the present (now) so corrections could be made now.
I came across this passage in Isaiah 49 where God is speaking to his people and I think it still applies, “He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” Is this how I want to account for all the hours God has given me today? To expend my strength for nothing at all? How often I think of the way the Apostle Paul used analogies of athletic competition to drive us toward goal setting and discipline. 1Corinthians 9:24-25 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
I will never warm up to the man-made, human motivated performance evaluation, but when God reaches down, calls me his daughter and says he loves me and created me for his purpose, I need to listen and be ready to learn. Isaiah 48:17 ““I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” God created me with a love of lists: Thankful list, To-do list, To-buy list, Places-to-go list, People-list, God-honor list … In my self-inflicted performance evaluation, it’s obvious that my priorities need to be rearranged starting with my lists. What has to be first is honoring God, not just now but for all future nows. I need to practice self-management as explicitly as I would manage a project destined for that dreaded performance evaluation. Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Here’s the plan: Pray specifically, pray often; give God first place in my life; keep short accounts; acknowledge that insignificant changes can make incremental improvements; stay on track with the goals ahead; be joyful in all things; be content in every circumstance; never be the victim of worry; practice peace.
God said this in Zephaniah 3:14 “Sing, Daughter, shout aloud, be glad and rejoice with all your heart.”