We spend a majority of our days doing it.
It’s necessary for most of us. After all, the bills won’t pay themselves. For many, work is exhausting, stressful and unenjoyable. Even for those of us fortunate to work in jobs we love, it can be a challenge to stay motivated and excited about the workday. There are so many other things we can (and some may argue, should) be doing with our time. Stressors and professional setbacks can lead to discontent. Anxiety can manifest itself in physical discomfort. Workplace stress can follow us home and cause problems in our home lives. Monotony can precede apathy.
It can be a true struggle to find purpose and joy in work.
For clarification, I do find great pleasure in my career. I am blessed to work in an industry I love and know. I write from a perspective of someone who truly loves her job but still falls short, procrastinates, yearns for more free time and so forth. Things like helping a customer find a solution to a nagging problem, seeing a blossoming restaurateur’s pride in his new menu, creating a relationship of trust and partnership — all of these bring me happiness. Then again, so do things like extended vacations, long weekends and sleeping in late when the mood strikes. Still, I do my job.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of believing our work is insignificant. At face value, the work I do doesn’t scream, “Working for God!” There are few, if any, that would look at my daily routine and say, “She’s doing the Lord’s work out there, slinging cases of canned tomatoes and beef tenderloin. God bless the food saleswomen of this world.” In fact, I’m guilty of it myself. There have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m doing something worthwhile, or if I’m just looking for happiness for personal gain and praise from other people. Or favor in the eyes of the Lord? Or, worse, am I just looking for a paycheck?
At an impasse, I decided to take a look at that thought on more than a superficial level.
I am 100% Christian. I pray everyday that God guides me near and toward a deeper faith. I’m not a rules follower, I’m a Christ follower.
… and I will likely spend 50% of my adult life at work.
More than at home, or in social activities, or at church or even all of those combined — I spend time working.
So (and I’m using myself as an example but I imagine if you’ve made it this far and are still reading, something has resonated with you) in summary:
- I need to work.
- I love my job but I feel the stress of my work often. I know my colleagues do too, because many of our conversations revolve around these seemingly universal feelings.
- I question the importance of my work. Not on a fundamental level but on a real, spiritual, WWJD-type level. I know I do great things for my company, and I love hearing it.
- I want more. I want to reconcile my love of God with the love of the work I do.
With that said, I recently had an idea. Like most of my good ones, it came and went (hello ADHD, my old friend!) and came again. Eventually I stopped it ignoring it.
What if I make a conscious effort to find God in my work? What if I make an effort to work for God? What if I look to Him for motivation through the mundane, the necessary, the ordinary work I do?
I don’t claim to have the answers and I can’t promise to be a source of mind-blowing information. See, this is an experiment and a therapeutic exercise. What I would love is for you to join me as I explore these questions. If you will, subscribe, bookmark my site, or write a mental note to check back for my musings as I truck on through this journey.