Monday, October 14, 2013

Lessons from church: Work is worship

My first job, like many young girls, was babysitting. I moved up to Baskin Robbins, Godfather's Pizza, grocery store bakery and finally writing obituaries for a newspaper. 

During college, I was a *wince* telemarketer. (Sorry if I ever called you.)

Journalism on and off for six years, brief stint in a casino marketing department. While studying geology, I decorated cakes and proofread for a newspaper.

Five years working on boats and investigating storm drains before becoming a stay-at-home mom to Mr. Brady. When he was 4, it was back to cake decorating, then magazine writer, then laid off, and now self-employed with my husband.

Sheesh.

Work has been a roller coaster for me. One thing I wish had known during all of those jobs was the simple idea that it could be a form of worship.

My faith didn't emerge until I was 38, but once it did this idea of work being worship - or even at times ministry - began to grow on me. And our pastor put it so well a few Sundays ago in honor of Labor Day.

The message resonated with me even more-so because we're self-employed. Our job can be what we make of it. Here were some points he covered:

Be humble

It's all too easy to think, "Look at what I did." While it's natural and healthy, I think, to appreciate a job well done and use it as motivation to continue to do well, I have also found it freeing to say instead, "Look what God did through me." We can offer up our work as testimony and worship.

Not only that, who along the way also worked through Him to help you achieve what you did? When you take the focus off of you and place it instead of the Lord and those around you, the accomplishment is even bigger.

Ask for help

A different pastor once said this during a sermon and it stuck with me: "It's not that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. He gives you more than you can handle WITHOUT HIM." If we try to tackle things in life alone, it will be much more of a burden than if we do our best, control what we can and give the rest over to God.

Work can be difficult sometimes, scary, uncertain, challenging. There may be rude co-workers or long hours or big decisions.

But you are where you are for a reason. You possess your talents and skills for a purpose. You can make a difference. You can bring something beautiful to your job. And you are not alone.

Have integrity

In every area of life, there are things that come up that don't feel right. Temptations, easy paths, coercion or pressure from others. I like to say that there's not a time for God and then a time for you. All time should be God's time, and all deeds should be done with Him in mind.

Your conscience should guide you in every aspect of your work. That is yet another way for it to serve as worship and to serve as an example to others.

Remember the ultimate boss

Like our pastor also said recently, JC is our ID. Our worth is in Him and that should be expressed through our job, but our job should not be what drives us.

Jobs come and go, bosses come and go. If you serve God - the Ultimate Boss - well, then the rest will sort itself out. Day in and day out, we do our jobs. It can seem boring, tedious, monotonous sometimes. It can seem thankless and pointless.

But if we offer it up as worship - the worship of helping others, of keeping things running smoothly, of serving a necessary purpose, of building things, teaching things, using the gifts given to you - then it becomes something more and it can help you rise above the daily grind. I really believe that.

Here are a few of my odd jobs. I wonder how much better they could have been if I had known that one simple thing:
Journalism days at a women's magazine.
Cake decorating. It was an ocean cake. I loved it!
Driving a boat, yes for work, really! We did water quality monitoring.
Investigating storm drains. Don't dump anything in them!
And the best job of all, raising Brady.





24 comments:

  1. Oh my God Steph, you have a very rich experience of working in various field. It is awesome. I have never got any other job outside teaching or educational field. What a very awesome posting. It is very encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Adelien! It was not really planned that way, I just sort of stumbled into a lot of things for a lot of years. All of it taught me so much and was amazing, and my jack of all trades background helped me to get a job when I didn't have one! Yikes! Teaching is a wonderful field. If I ever get back "out there" in the workforce and not self-employed, I'd like to work with kids.

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  2. How cool that you have photos from all of your old jobs!! The storm drain thing looks very interesting. :)

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    1. I guess I'm lucky I have all those! Yes, storm drains hold all sorts of interesting things. Sometimes old bottles!

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  3. Hi Steph. What a great post. Love the history of it, but especially love the way you have worked faith and worship into it. Everything we do should glorify the Lord and not us. I confess, there have been many times that I have loved receiving the accolades of others. But I have grown, over the years, in my ability to recognize that it wasn't me, it was the Lord working through me.

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I also particularly liked the statement "It's not that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. He gives you more than you candle WITHOUT HIM". So true.

    Thanks again.

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    1. Regina, yes truly, every are of our life should reflect the Lord and bring glory to Him. It's hard to remember that sometimes, at least for me it is! What that pastor said made so much sense to me. I never quite liked the plain version, "God never gives us more than we can handle," cuz you know, sometimes it is. But with Him, we can get through it all.

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  4. You have been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award! You can read more about it here http://inhiminspiration.com/ive-nominated/

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  5. 'Our job can be what we make of it' really resonated with me. Whatever it is we find ourselves doing it's what we make of it that matters. I wish I had photos of me working in my past jobs!

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    1. Hi Terra. Yes, it's true! Some parts of jobs we cannot choose, but how we do the job and how we view it are within our control. I guess I got lucky with all these photos!

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  6. This is such great advice! Work really is what you make it, and you can't get out if you don't put in. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Jen, for stopping by. I tell Brady all the time that sometimes all we can change is our perspective.

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  7. I have had many different jobs too! I cleaned toilets and I also managed a multimillion dollar a year medical practice. But my favorite job of all is being a mom too!

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    1. Wowee! Now that's about the two most different jobs I've heard of! Doing a variety of work sure gives you an interesting outlook on life, I think :) And yes, nothing beats the mom gig.

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  8. Oh girl, you are speaking to the queen of job hoppers lol. I would be fun to read just how many different things everyone has done.
    I came to my faith later in life too. I think it gives you a different perspective than someone who was brought up in it.

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    1. Ha, why am I not surprised? I could tell you had a versatility to you :) Man, the life experience we gain through different jobs is just great. Though at times I'm envious of people who just KNEW what they wanted to do at 15 and retired from the same job at 40. What would that kind of stability and deep knowledge be like? And yes, to choose faith after a life without truly living it is an amazing thing.

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  9. Great post! Thank you for your words! Love seeing all your pics from your work experiences.

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting :)

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  10. Such great points, especially about being humble. I found myself praising my "good work" when something goes well rather than praising Him. Sounds like you have had some pretty interesting jobs! :)

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    1. It's hard to remember who really is responsible for it all, but it feels better when I acknowledge God for everything :) Amazing, but true, at least for me. And yes, VERY interesting jobs, ha! Thanks, Victoria.

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  11. I love the old pictures of your previous jobs. :) Thanks for the encouragement and the exhortation to view work as worship. It's so important! I've been in full-time ministry for the past 9 years, but in the past 7 months, I've been working as a marital and family therapist in inner-city Los Angeles. It's easy for me to feel as though my work as a therapist in inner-city LA is "less noble" and "less worship," but the truth is, God calls each of us to our work for the purpose of glorifying and honoring Him...and I need to remind myself that! Even if I can't share the gospel or my faith openly at work, I can still worship and live a life that is set apart through my actions and the way I love on and interact with children I work with.

    As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 (the very first Bible verse I ever memorized!), " So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

    Thank so much for this reminder, especially as I move into a NEW work week!! :)

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    1. Oh Alice, I cannot quite imagine the job of working as a therapist in inner-city LA. Wow. You must be there for a reason and I will bet that there is some truly needed work that can be done through you. You just never know when you will touch a life just by living as a Christian, even if you aren't speaking about it, that will send that person on a path to healing and to Him. You are touching lives and that is so important. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. This was great! I loved it! I am not the only one who has really random jobs! Jobs can impact you. I love your analogy of Work is Worship. I have practiced it for a long time. This was a very fun read!

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    1. Jill, LOL, no lots of completely unrelated jobs here! Ha! Doesn't make for the most solid career path, but it sure was interesting!

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