Sunday, July 6, 2014

Work as Worship

Last month our Lifegroup did a study called "Work as Worship". It was all about looking at your work as a form of worship to God. This study resonated with me for so many reasons. I have been working since I was about 11 years old. Thanks to my Dad and his awesome job at Sonic, I had the ability to not only earn money but learn the importance of a good work ethic early on. I can still remember the way customers looked at me when I brought their orders out. Bewildered. How old is this girl? That's right, 12 years old.

Because of this I learned earlier than most the importance of good customer service, a can-do attitude, and how important it is to put your best foot forward all the time. My absolute favorite part of my days at Sonic was interacting with the customers. Not even just for the tips. I truly loved seeing people smile and doing anything I could to ensure they had the best fast food experience. I still love it.

Fast forward about 15 years and here I am now applying those same lessons to a different type of work. I am convinced it's the reason I love recruitment so much. It is all about service. I really enjoy doing all I can to find the perfect candidate for a hiring manager. I love talking to candidates about their career goals. I am not afraid to be really honest with a candidate about a position if it isn't the right fit because it leads to a better conversation of what could be a good fit. I tend to have a very grey attitude about things because I am usually of the mindset that we can figure out a way to make it work. My dad used to always tell me that we could do anything the customer asked. So you can thank him for trying to apply that same mantra in the corporate world.

I also like to think that because I started work so early in such a fast paced environment I tend to thrive in that way still today. You can find me easily at my desk with an offer letter in draft, talking on the phone with a manager, updating my spreadsheet, and starting an email all at the same time. I actually prefer this type of work over focusing on one event at a time. All those years of taking a customers order on the board while starting their beverages and bagging orders taught my mind how to juggle well. I am thankful for that.

I truly do look at my work as a form of worship because I feel like I am doing exactly what God called me to do. He prepared me at a young age. Becoming a mom has forced me to really re-evaluate my work, but I haven't felt called to do anything different. I grew up in a working family and I don't tend to think I need to stay home in order to be a good Mom so I'm not sure that will ever be the path I take. I find it very balancing to work and be a mom, but I'm not ruling anything out either. If God calls me to stay home sometime in my future then I'm sure he will allow me to use my talents in other ways.

Another huge part of the study that really shook me was the week we discussed management. I am not in a management role now, but since I have been in the past and hope to be again in the future I try to pay attention to the topic. I have been very fortunate to have some excellent managers in my life and only a couple not so great managers. To me, a good manager, is one that fosters both personal and professional development, is honest to the core, and does not micro-manage. There was a point brought up in the study though that I had never thought about. They said something along the lines of, "as a manager you directly impact your employee's quality of life. In some cases they spend more time at work then they do at home and it is important that you are aware of the environment you are creating for them." I have literally not quit thinking about that. And the more I thought I about it, I started thinking how true it was just as an individual contributor. I share an office with one of my co-workers and I have the ability to directly influence how her days are. I can either create a positive place or a negative place. We spend at least 40 hours a week together and I would much rather we enjoy that time while being productive than sit quietly waiting for quitting time! You see, the point was, when you are treating your work as a form of worship to God, you should also be creating a space that would honor God. This was earth shattering for me.

As a self-help junkie, I love to learn and find ways to make myself better. I was never the girl in school trying to be original. I typically fell into a mold that didn't make me stand out too much and always looked right in the teacher's eyes. As an adult I have noticed that if I try too hard to not stand out I can quickly become like everyone else. To be honest I am not too fond of what most people look like these days. Our workplaces are drenched in people that don't try very hard, live for the weekend, and make the lives of those around them miserable.

God, please let me be original. God help me be different in the workplace. God help me over come my mold favoring tendencies and create an environment that helps others look forward to Monday. When my flesh starts to take over and work in a worldly fashion, help me remember that I am not working for those around me, but for a heavenly Father. I am there for a unique purpose that only you have created. I have gifts that even when they don't seem recognized by my peers, are recognized by you. Help me remember that my work is not simply to pay my bills, but to worship you and do exactly what you have put me on this earth to do. Thank you for that purpose and trusting me with your plans.


So what can you do tomorrow to start creating an environment in your workplace that honors God?