Mondays to Fridays from 9AM-5PM, we’re like machines. For homemakers, work days are 24 hours, 7 days a week, no breaks or vacations. For business people, the success of your office is contingent upon your full attention. There’s no stopping; it’s a race. Life will keep going, time will keep ticking, and no way will they wait for you to take a breather. As a Christian, you feel a duty to evangelize. You feel the need of sharing the gospel with those around you – maybe you feel guilty for canceling your plans of going to that mission trip to India because of your daughter’s soccer tournament or your son’s piano recital. Can you really have it all? Is balancing all these roles even possible?
When the hustle of life takes over, we often lose sight of the deeper purpose of why we do what we do. We fail to integrate our “normal lives” of going to work, and taking care of the kids, with our “spiritual lives” of honoring God and sharing the good news. How does picking up your kids from school have anything to do with being a Christian? How does doing paperwork in the office have anything to do with our spiritual lives? Contrary to our culture’s worldview, all this work has everything to do with being a Christ follower.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he encourages them, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) Paul calls us to glorify God in everything we do. Yes, you have a 9 to 5 job that keeps you busy during those hours, but the work hours of honoring God are way beyond numbers. You will live for, and walk with, Christ for eternity. Our earthly careers are but temporary part-time jobs when compared with our eternal Christian vocation.
How do we incorporate our “normal”, “earthly” jobs with our “spiritual”, “eternal” jobs? I won’t discount the task – it’s not as easy as we think. (Last year, I experienced it first-hand, while working in politics in Washington D.C. Read about this here) To break it down, here are 5 tangible points I’ve learned through my experiences of working in several secular workplaces.
- THE WORD. How do you dedicate your career to the Lord if you don’t consult with Him first? It shouldn’t be just lip service – if your #1 priority is to serve the Lord, knowing His truths is essential. Especially when it comes to handling difficult situations in the home or in the workplace, we should strive to be more like Christ in our problem-solving and the actions we take. At times, it is tiring to find time to read the Word after you’ve read so many documents at work. But strive to see the bigger picture in spending a couple minutes in the scriptures each day. Tangible step: I highly recommend waking up 15-20 minutes earlier than planned every morning to spend that time with the Lord. This helps me start the day with meaning and motivation!
- GET RID OF THAT COMFORT ZONE. Smile and greet the co-worker you always disagree with. Bake cookies for your son’s kindergarten class. Don’t use the question, “how are you?” as a conversation filler – ask how they really are! It’s the little things! Your actions reflect your beliefs – let Christ shine through you in everything you do.
- WWJD? In a difficult situation, pause and take a breath. Don’t act out on the “in the moment” emotions. It’s not just a bumper sticker…What would Jesus do in a situation like this? Delve into the New Testament and study the interactions Christ had with people in his time on Earth. To be a Christ follower means striving to be more like him in every facet of our lives.
- ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS. Incorporating your earthly career with your spiritual life is no small feat. To keep yourself on track, have someone check in on you every now and then. A simple, “how’s the integration going?” can be a huge source of motivation. My friends have significantly helped my journey of integration. Their texts and sincere care for my spiritual well-being during the process have got me to where I am today.
- BUMPER STICKER PHRASES THAT ACTUALLY MATTER. Be bold. Dare to be different. WWJD? Where God guides, He provides. Jesus LOVES you. Yes, these are sayings you see everywhere, but beyond the words, there is truth! Being a Christian means standing out, striving to be more like Christ, and trusting in His sovereignty. Right now, you are where He wants you to be. So fully assume that role, while being a full-time Christ follower.
When something is deemed as “work for Christ,” it automatically registers as a task that carries much more weight. Maybe it almost feels distant…”other-worldly” and out of our control. As a Christ follower, everything in your life is out of your control. You should never be in the driver’s seat. Ask your friends and family to pray for you as you venture out on your mission.