Going back to work after a long break is hard. Last week it felt especially hard.
I’m not ready to go back to work, and I’m really not ready to go back to all of the stress and anxiety that comes along with going back to a workplace that isn’t always the way I think it should be. I know I’m not alone in this. I mean, whose work place is always 100% ideal? There are a few careers and workplaces I have idealized and fantasized about for far too long, but I’m sure even these places that are so picture-perfect in my mind aren’t as picture-perfect in real life. So if 2017 is a year of investing, what does it look like for me to invest in a workplace and in a career, even when it’s really, really hard?
I could talk about all of the ideal ways I should be approaching my job and my career path, but before I jump straight into the way perfect Erin or perfect Ms. Green (both of those characters are fictitious, btw) would act in every stressful workplace situation, I want to first identify the things that I believe. Just like I did when looking at investing financially, I want to start with the foundational beliefs. So what is it that I believe about this area of my life?
- I believe that I have a calling placed upon my life, and I know that right now, I am called to be inside a classroom full of fifth graders.
- I believe that I have a higher calling, a forever calling, and that is to the Kingdom of God. Any earthly calling that I pursue should be ultimately pointing me back towards Jesus and His forever redemption.
Until this forever calling is fulfilled, until I am at the gates of heaven, I believe that I am in my right now calling to point towards this forever calling. I believe this means that:
- I am called to do all things with patience, prayer, and love. I believe that I am called to be a light in the midst of darkness.
- I am called to do my job with excellence.
- Jesus has uniquely gifted me with multiple passions and multiple facets in which I can pursue those passions. I believe that I am called to steward each of these unique gifts that I have been given, and that I am called to listen to the direction the Lord calls me.
These are the things that I foundationally believe about my job and my career path. These are the things that should transform the way that I approach each day at work. The reality is, it is much easier to write these things out than it is to actually act accordingly. Just like with my finances, it is much easier to say that my bank account belongs to Jesus. Actually giving my money away and capping my taco purchases at El Chilito is much more challenging.
So how do I take a step past just believing theses things, and how do I wake up each morning and carry these beliefs into work with me? Unfortunately, I haven’t found any super cool apps to make me be a kind and grateful teacher and coworker (I searched “be nice app” on the apple store, but all that came up were some selfie editing tools and a “call Santa” app. The Santa one seems pretty cool).
If these are the things that I really believe, then here are some ways I think these beliefs should manifest at work and in my attitude towards work:
- If I believe that I have a forever calling higher than my right now calling, then I can rest in the knowledge that my day or week or month at work is not the end-all-be-all of my life. There is more. I am not limited to living in the right here and right now. If I do excellently at work, it’s for the Kingdom. If I do poorly at work, it’s okay, because I know that in the end, it’s not about me, and there is someone greater who holds each of my students in the palm of His hand.
- If I believe that I am called to be a light in the midst of darkness, then I am called to pray. And if I really believe in Scripture truths, then I believe in the power of prayer, and prayer can transform everything. What would it look like if I prayed for those students and coworkers who are the hardest for me to love? Like, really prayed for them, instead of complaining about them?
- If I believe that I am called to do my job with excellence, then I am free to pursue lines of continuing education and continuing opportunity for the sake of Christ and His calling, not just for my own personal, financial, or professional gain.
- If I believe that I am uniquely gifted and called, then I can live in the confidence that my worth comes from Christ, that I am where I’m supposed to be, and that the path I’m on is the one He has set out for me. I can live in the freedom of knowing that when it’s time for a change in setting or a change in career, that will be a calling that has been ordained by the One who is greater than I, and His plan is sovereign. I am free to be used for the Kingdom in the capacity Jesus sets before me in each season.
Jesus, thank you for my job, than you for a career that I am passionate about. Thank you that my security comes from you, and not from how well I perform. Lead me to invest my hands and my heart in the work you have set before me. Let me listen to Your calling, and let me follow wherever you lead me. Amen.