For this book-worm, having a job at the public library wasn’t like work at all! Next to earning my paycheck via my writing, the paycheck I earned from the library was the most pleasant. I was a brand new believer when I got hired there, and on my orientation day, I was told that I was not allowed to discuss any of my religious beliefs with patrons. I was not allowed to suggest any religious book, even if asked, nor was I allowed to wear any “religious” clothing or jewelry. Since I was Christian then, I believed in what was called “The Great Commission”. It was an exercise in frustration for me when I had to silently process a patron’s stack of books that included Wiccan practices or even worse, Satanic titles. I felt stifled, and powerless to share the “good news” I believed I was commanded to share. Here on this side of the cross (week 23 and counting) I have learned that the true “Great Commission” is to shine God’s light into an ever-darkening world. Turns out, I can do that without even using His Name in a sentence!
I am prompted to wonder how many people have actually been pushed away from The Father by well-meaning evangelistic folks. I know I was, back in the day when atheism was my “religion” of choice! Nothing repelled me more than those who insisted that I needed Jesus, even though they knew nothing about me. Telling me I was surely hell-bound if I hadn’t asked him into my heart did nothing to ingratiate me to the God they claimed was so loving and merciful. The “Follow Jesus or burn in hell” doctrine made me even less inclined to follow Him! Even after I became a believer, I found I was not evangelistic at all. I spent years feeling guilty about that, until I came to understand the truth about my Creator: He is One, and does not share His glory, or have an equal. I also learned that we do not need to thump someone over the head with a Bible to shine His light! Whether or not your workplace restricts your religious freedoms, there is a way for you to Shine God’s Light there! As always, we first must be sure our connection to the Light Source is secure. We repent of willful wrong-doing, and get recharged through prayer and Scripture study. Only then are we ready shine His light instead of casting shadows. Here are some easy tips to Shine in the workplace:
- Check your countenance: Bitterness, hatred and dissatisfaction etch themselves into our face, even though we may not realize it. Get adequate rest, and practice smiling until you know it is reaching your eyes, which are the window to your soul. Engage others fully when communicating with them, do not be distracted by anything! The janitor and the CEO, as well as John Q Public should all receive your full attention during interactions with you.
- Keep your mood peaceful: Rise above the chaos that comes with any job. Be the calm one, don’t let the stress of the deadline steal your peace. If you are walking with The Father, you have received stress-management tools you may not even know you have! Take a moment if you need it to collect your thoughts, and let your peace be your cloak. You know from experience, I’m sure, how much more pleasant it is to be around a peaceful person than a drama queen/king. Peace overflows to the ones around us!
- Be mindful of your mouth: Be the one who doesn’t complain about your boss, your crew, your customers, or even your job. If you hate it, find one you don’t hate. Talk about solutions instead of problems, and keep a positive tone while using positive words. Absolutely disengage from gossip! Don’t speak it, and don’t listen to it (therefore encouraging the one who is gossiping). If someone comes to you with gossip, find a short, polite way to extinguish it. For example, when someone begins to tell me something about someone else (even the gossip of a “prayer need”) my answer usually looks something like this: “I have not spoken to him/her about this, so it wouldn’t be right for me to have an opinion. Perhaps you should start with him/her.”
- Work instead of being lazy: Being a believer doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat who does everyone’s work! But by all means, leave a signature of excellence on your own duties. Cutting corners and finding short-cuts have their place in saving money or time, but they should never lessen the integrity of your performance, project or product. Scripture indicates that our works should not be of substandard quality. Follow protocol for your job description, and always be at peak performance! Never forget that it is God who provides your employment and your promotion, and He is your ultimate boss.
- Take a genuine interest in your co-workers: if you know Suzy’s husband was in the hospital last week, take some time to check in on her. Did his illness leave her family with unmet needs? Does she just need someone to listen for a moment about her fearful experience? How about Bill, who is trying to quit smoking? Is there a kind word of encouragement you can offer, or a helpful article with tips you could share? To the extent that you can, let your co-workers know that you are interested in them as individuals, and that they are an integral part of the workplace, and of your world, even if it’s only your work world.
- Be honest and dependable: If you said you would do something, do that thing! Don’t be the one who is always calling off of your shifts or passing off your work to others. Carry your own weight! Be the one who doesn’t need to constantly be monitored. When disagreements arise, and they will in any workplace, be honest, direct and most of all, kind. Again, this does not mean you should allow yourself to be walked on. You can be assertive and kind at the same time. Clarity is an important part of communication, master it. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. Most arguments are 10% disagreement and 90% tone and attitude. Do your best to keep strife at a minimum!
When we start walking out the things we read in Scripture as if we believe they are truth, there will be a notable “Light” that emanates from our spirit. If we are practicing God’s ways, people will feel at ease around us. Now, we are in a position to point to The Father! Even in places where “religion speak” is prohibited, small phrases like “I am blessed” or “I am so thankful for (fill in the blank)” go a long way to say who you are and to whom you belong! Your countenance, your peace, your pleasant speech, your work ethics and your kindness speak volumes about the God you serve. It won’t be long, you’ll find, until it is you that people come to when their momma needs prayer, or when then need advice. They’ll seek you out with their good news (and bad) and they will be left wanting that which you radiate from within. Everything you do in the Name of God (even without using His Name) will leave an impression on your co-workers. Make sure it’s a good one! Trust Him to take it from there. After all, it is only Him that gives conviction and revelation. We are just living examples of what a life looks like when it is lived in God’s Light.
Until we meet again across the airwaves, Rise and Shine!