I have the luxury of working outside the home only ten months of the year, so every August, when I get ready to go back to work, I like to set my mind. I like to think about the past year and how I could be better at my job and how I could be a better coworker. My goals usually include getting to work just a little earlier every morning, so I don’t have to screech in on two wheels and make a mad dash to my desk to answer the phone that always seems to ring right at 7:30. I would also really like to get a better system for myself to get all of that first-of-the-year paperwork accomplished so it doesn’t seem so crazy for about eight weeks straight. I’d really like to be a co-worker who blesses others, who is a good example, who always has a cheery disposition and everything seems to always go smoothly for. I fully intended to write to you about my goals for this year and how I’ve put them into practice to make this the best start I’ve had yet. But I’ve found myself still in survival mode. I still have not gotten into a groove, and I’ve been the one who has needed help and encouragement. What can I do to move out of this “survival mode” and back into being the model of God that I would like to be? I can be a better example by:
- Keeping in mind my two goals in life: Go to Heaven and take as many people with me as I can. It doesn’t always matter whether the phone calls I needed to make get done on Wednesday or Thursday, but it does matter how I conduct myself. If I’m in such a rush to get everything done that I bulldoze everybody down with my attitude, I will never be able to be the godly example that I want to be.
- Remembering Who I am working for. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Yes, even at work, I am working for the Lord, whether my work is cleaning toilets or teaching young minds or shuffling papers behind a desk, I need to set my mind to be the best paper shuffler I can be. Why? Because I am working for the Lord.
- Turning the rumor mill into an opportunity to help. There always seems to be a random “Did you hear about…?” floating around the office. Almost always, it involves someone who is hurting in some way. It is not always possible to avoid those conversations, but it is possible to look for ways to be of service. If someone is hurting, I can send a card, pay a visit, take a meal, offer to take on some of their workload. I can help them out in some way.
- “Praying without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). One of the things I struggle with about being at work is that I’m not home serving my family. Although I can’t change that situation, I can fill a need for my family while I’m at work by praying. I can also take advantage of those quiet moments to pray for my co-workers and the things going on in their lives.
- Being Thankful. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It helps to remember Who gives all of these blessings. I am blessed to work a job that I really like, with people that I love. I know not everyone is as fortunate, but even so, be looking for things to be thankful for when you make your requests known to God.
After being back at work for six weeks, still in survival mode, I have been quite frazzled. Knowing I now have a plan, a map to follow, has already eased my mind. What area of my life cannot benefit from: keeping my goals in mind, remembering who I’m working for, looking for opportunities to help, praying for those around me, and being thankful?
By Heidi Sprouse
Heidi Sprouse is a wife and mother of two children (Hannah, 13; and Caleb, 10). She and her husband Steven serve with the Rocky Ford church of Christ in Rocky Ford, Colorado.