Professionally, I’ve worked in fairly “sheltered” environments. My first job, which I held for three years, was under a Christian manager, so the environment there was, for the most part, spiritually pleasant. My second job, I worked for Family Christian Stores. I worked there twice, actually, because I took some time off, worked for a construction company whose owner was a believer, then I attended college on-campus. Then, when I left that school, I went back to work for Family Christian.
I needed more hours, though, so I quit and applied to various places. At the top of my list was Target, since I have nearly seven years of retail experience. I got a call a mere two days after submitting my application and they wanted to interview me. We set up a time, I went in for my interview, and the lady who interviewed me thought I would fit great so she asked to schedule an interview with my would-be supervisor. Of course, I said yes.
My second interview went extremely well. My would-be supervisor really wanted me on her team. I decided, though, to wait until after the holidays to start work, since I would be traveling and didn’t want to take so much time off of work only weeks after starting the job.
My supervisor was very excited and so was I! It all seemed like a God thing, in all honesty.
I started work just days before the New Year and needless to say, I’ve been surprised in many ways in the last two weeks. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned – these are the things that changed my faith.
In all my years of retail, I’ve always strived to be the friendliest person on the team. My first day of work, an older woman told me, “You are so dang cheerful.” I was thrilled because, honestly, I feel like my attempts at being bright and extra kind to people go unnoticed. Then, last night, a middle-aged man told me, “You’re so enthusiastic.” This blew me away because, again, it often feels like going the extra mile and being extra kind goes unnoticed – especially in what we call a “secular” (meaning: non-religious) work environment.
It’s hard, though. I’ve always worked in a spiritually pleasant environment, but, suddenly, I’m in this place and it’s like I can feel the weight of the spiritual darkness around me. (If you’re a Pentecostal Christian or even an Evangelical or Charismatic, you probably know what I mean.) Last night, I realized that, sub-consciously, I would end up praying for many of my customers as I served them. And, in many cases, I could almost sense some things about them, because I could feel the spiritual atmosphere they carried with them.
Sometimes, I just look into a customer’s eyes and immediately I know in my heart – and I hear it in the back of my mind – “This person is sad today.” or “This person’s had a rough day.” or “This person’s hurting.” And I would just begin to pray over them. Sometimes, it’s a wordless prayer – meaning, it’s more that I’m letting my spirit lift up a prayer for the person rather than composing an actual dialogue in my mind. I mean, most of the time I’m talking with the customer, so I have little opportunity to compose a very articulate prayer. But God hears the cries of my soul. And for that, I’m thankful.
Working at Target has changed my faith because now I’ve become more spiritually aware of the people around me. The Bible calls it “discernment” or “the discerning of spirits.” (1 Corinthians 12:10) I’ve never really needed to be spiritually aware of things like that before. Now, though, I’m in a place where my own spiritual atmosphere can affect even the hardest of hearts as I serve them. Smiling just a little bit brighter for that lesbian couple can do a lot more than we ever could possibly imagine.
It’s a new experience, and it’s hard. I find that, even when I work half shifts (4-5 hours) I come home drained – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. And all I want to do is revive my soul by spending time with my Savior.
It’s a new level of spirituality. It’s a new level of faith. It’s active. It’s alive. It’s Christ in me.