Monday, November 28, 2016

Four Ways to Love Your Job

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?I've been there, and I know. Work is a gift from God. Eccl. 3:22

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

I had about fifteen years to go as a high school English teacher before I could retire. I was forty, and chances were, I could die before retirement.
Still I trudged into school chanting to myself, "I hate this job."
Changing careers wasn't possible--I'd lose too much. Plus, as I've told so many people, I lack imagination. I can't imagine being anything other than a teacher (unless it is a best selling novelist--do check out The Poison We Drink due out Dec. 1).
One day, the proverbial light bulb clicked on in my head, and I discovered how to love my job.

Four Ways To Love Your Job:

  1. Tell yourself you love it. As I walked into school, I apologized to God for the "lie" I was about to tell. I said, "I love this job." Every time I groaned about it, I repeated my thanksgiving. It didn't take long before I loved going to work.
  2. Tell yourself about the benefits it produces. In my case, the benefits were obvious. Students learned, graduated when on to college and careers. Aside from the educational value, I often spoke into the emotional and personal lives of my charges. For your job, do you produce a service? Do you help others? Do you like life more enjoyable? Each job carries a special fulfillment.
  3. Tell yourself the benefits it gives you. Do you get health benefits? Fellowship? A salary? Do you like it? I do stained glass because I love it. Look for the personal benefits you obtain through your work.
  4. If all else fails, look for a job that gives you at least one point of satisfaction. Life is short, too short to hate the gift God gave you before the fall from grace.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Your Job: It's God's Gift

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?I've been there, and I know. Work is a gift from God. Eccl. 3:22

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Work is a gift of God. Love your job/love your life.
I've always joked and told friends I had no imagination when it came to work. My mom stuck me in school, and I stayed there until I was too old to work any more.

Being a retired teacher is harder than it sounds. I miss my students and the challenge of learning new curriculum. No longer collaborating with peers, many of them much younger than I, left an empty spot in my psyche.

It wasn't always so. For years I trudged into work, and like you chanted, "TGIF" when Friday rolled around. Soon, praising the weekend wasn't enough. Someone recognized Wednesday as the half-way point to the weekend, so we rejoiced in "Hump Day."

The years to retirement were counted down.

I wished my life away.

And that is a waste of a life. 

The secret to happiness isn't leisure. British Philosopher Alan W. Watts said it well, “This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” 

And it's scriptural. God did not make work the curse. When He created Adam, God put him in the garden of Eden to tend and to keep it (Gen. 2:15). Adam didn't lounge around all day eating grapes from the vine, or olives from the tree. He worked. And it was paradise.

Results of Hating Your Job

  1. If you die tomorrow, what then? Who knows the days of your life. Why not live it playing in the things you love.
  2. We'll hate our lives. Most of our lives are spent laboring. If we despise our work, most of our living is ruled by drudgery.
  3. We miss our calling. Christians often think their ministry must be purely spiritual--lead music, watch Sunday school, head off to Bunga-Bunga and be a missionary. It's not. It's your daily living.
  4. We'll ruin our witness. This is the least of the consequences. Everyone watches people. All love gossip. In proclaiming Christ but denigrating our careers, all will see we don't do what we say.

Work is part of our redemption

We were given dominion over the fields and the creatures long before we fell from grace. Work is part of the joy of living.

So what can you do if you hate your job?

Of course, I have solutions. Tune in next Monday.

Quick tweets:

Work is God's gift to us. (click to tweet)
What is the result of hating our jobs? (click to tweet)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ending Perfectionism Step 4: Life Is an Experiment, Not a Test

Cast your bread upon the water. Eccl. 11:1

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Life for me is about commitment. If I volunteer to do something or I decide to try a new endeavor, something inside of me compels me to keep with it--even if the act makes me miserable.

My first church underscored this trait. It taught God wanted a committed people. Of course, I took it to the extreme.

Believing life's a test and not an experiment leads to two issues if  you struggle with perfectionism/legalism.

  1. You commit to nothing because doubts about being able to do a good job of it paralyze you.
  2. You find yourself laboring in areas that God does not want you to work in, and hating it.
For example, I love babies. I volunteered to work nursery because I longed to play with the children. The kids' director asked if I would work in the kids' worship. Being unable to say no, I agreed, but this wasn't God's path for me. While I loved the children, I began to dread the Sunday's I worked.

I had several choices:

  1. spend my limited time doing something I wasn't called to do
  2. learn to hate the second Sunday of the month
  3. believe I was a failure because I couldn't keep my commitment
  4. decide this wasn't my path, choose another and love my service to Christ.
I chose #4

Life's not a test. Experiences aren't a done deal. 

  1. Try different things.
  2. Be willing to change paths.
  3. Sacrifice when God is telling you to.
  4. Love the life God has given.
Are you struggling on a path you don't like? Is it of God? If not, how can you change your direction?

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