Have you confused your job with your work? It's easy to do exactly that, and then become frustrated because your daily tasks aren't making any progress toward your deeper purpose.
Confusing concept? Perhaps an example will help provide clarity:
This role includes providing financial support. My earning a paycheck is a vital part of my overall work. However, my current job is not my ultimate goal; it is merely a means to an end. (This doesn't mean that I am not doing my best work while there or trying to find a better position.)
It only recently occurred to me that I had been approaching my work backward. I had been growing increasingly frustrated with my job: it seemed to only be getting in the way of doing anything meaningful. That paycheck was becoming little reward for the time that I spent there. I dreaded going to work in the morning and was stressed in the evenings.
Then I realized that it was all in my mindset. The job isn't my purpose, my end goal. It is merely a means to an end. It really is nothing more than some experience and a paycheck. And once I started approaching it as such, work magically became much better. Not only was it less stressful and began to mentally stay at the office, but I became more productive.
Because I am now working more efficiently I have more free time. And that free time allows me to work toward my current real work - whether that means planning dates, putting together next week's meal plan and shopping list, or hunting for my next job after she graduates and we move.
What Is Your Real Job?
It's amazing how much of a difference this simple perspective change made in my daily life.
If you're frustrated with some aspect of your life (such as your job) perhaps you've lost sight of your real work. Re-focusing on that work will allow your priorities to become clearer and your life will re-align.
When I was younger, I hated work. It didn’t matter what kind of work it was, I always found a way to avoid doing anything that required a significant amount of effort. On the rare occasions I did work I never did any more than the absolute minimum that was required of me.
This is how most people operate. Most people see work as a dreaded necessity in their lives and will do almost anything to avoid it. It’s been said that people are naturally lazy, but I don’t think that’s the problem. The problem is most people don’t see why hard work is necessary.
When I first started lifting weights I found it very difficult, but I continued because I thought that eventually working out would become effortless. As you might imagine, I was wrong.
As I became stronger, and began lifting more weights, working out actually became more difficult. As I progressed to lifting more and more weight I began to realize the strongest guys in the gym weren’t the strongest because they had been lifting the longest. They were the strongest because they were able to work through the most pain. They were the ones willing to work the hardest.
Another interesting thing I noticed, was that although most people dreaded having to work out, the strongest guys actually looked forward to it, and many even considered it the best part of their day. The strongest guys loved working out because they saw it as being necessary. The strongest guys worked out because they knew it was the only way to reach their goals.
At certain times in my life, there seems to be moments of decisions or turning points. I'm a fourth year Bible college student working toward my B.A. in Applied Linguistics: TESOL. After this I will have one semester left before graduating. But can I share that I question where it's all heading?
I joined the TESOL program with the intention of going overseas, to serve as a Christian English teacher, sharing Christ through my life in whatever cultural, societal context I should end up in. TESOL opens doors to virtually any country in the world. But I'm finding more and more that my heart is being stirred for my own country of Canada. Honestly, it feels really confusing for me.
I am acutely aware that Canadian culture, along with North American culture in general, is essentially as individualistic as a culture can be. I am far from the exception to this rule but I'm also very drawn to learning what it means to do life in community, especially through church discipleship and through church relations. (Hence, the preceding posts about the Catholic church and my relation to it.)
As for discipleship, practical, healthy discipleship at work, I don't know that I've ever really seen this worked out in a "church" setting yet. The closest I've ever seen has probably been in my involvement through serving at Joe's Place Youth Centre in Moose Jaw. It's a Christian organization but its aim is to serve all and any youth that come through their doors. The staff and volunteers have become family. It's not exclusive to any one denomination and it provides the opportunity for volunteers to grow in their faith and unity as they pray for the youth and serve the city of Moose Jaw. Joe's Place staff and volunteers are not inward focused but seek to actively be involved in changing the lives of youth in Jesus' name, for his glory.
This is something I've actually seen happen. Take my friend DR. The first memory I have of her in 2010, before even meeting her, was the one night when my friend Jerred asked everyone to write her cards of encouragement while she was away for drug rehab.