How often does it feel like work is part of the curse – a result of original sin? Many people buy into this mindset. But as Christians it is SO important to remember that God gave us work to bless us, so we can co-create and partner with Him. However, since we live in a fallen world, work is still affected by sin. It’s hard. It’s stressful. There is brokenness and failure and backstabbing and judgment.
So what do we do when we experience this brokenness — when people mistreat us? I was speaking with a friend who had just done the equivalent of a marathon at work. She had just completed a big project with her small team after weeks of preparation, traveling, long hours, high-profile presentations and giving her all. After all of that, with the mission accomplished, my friend and her team would have liked to ease into the next day. But instead, the boss scheduled a debrief meeting for first thing in the morning. For my friend and probably her co-workers, it felt like a slap in the face after all their hard work. She was about to head into that meeting feeling resentful and unappreciated.
We have a choice regarding how we respond. We can react based on our negative feelings and raise the stress level for everyone. Or we can take a step back, look at it through God’s eyes, and choose to focus on the positive – a job well done, a team to work with, the opportunity to reflect and debrief while the experience is fresh. Choosing the latter allows us to play a part in restoring God’s original design for work.
Here are some things you can do when you are facing brokenness at work:
- Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). When we react, we are basically following what the devil tells us to do. That’s right … we’re acting on behalf of the enemy (have I got your attention?). Pause and ask God what He wants you to do. Then do that.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes (Philippians 2:3-4). If someone does or says something that offends you, consider how you might see things from their perspective. What might be going on for that person? Is there something you can do to be supportive of them and forgive the offense? Taking the position of a servant can make a huge difference for them and change your heart.
- Be an encourager to your coworkers (Matthew 5:16). Shine your light before others by helping them see a difficult situation through a different lens. Turn that meeting into a celebration, or that unreasonable demand into an opportunity. Look for ways to serve your coworkers and acknowledge them. Then you can help turn the challenges around to create something good.
God’s original design for work was to have us partner with Him and gain a sense of fulfillment and joy from our success. Christians have a huge responsibility every day as we go to work. We are God’s soldiers – His warriors in the marketplace. And there is a battle being waged every day. We must be diligent about putting on the full armor of God (Ephesian 6:10-18) each day before we start work and committed to being a light for Christ to our coworkers (Acts 13:47) – especially when issues arise. That’s what partnering with God in our work looks like – pointing others to Him in the way we approach our work and treat others so they see Christ in us.