A life full of purpose and meaning is to find your talents and exercise them in the ways that God has afforded you. The most fulfilled people are the ones who live out their talents in a meaningful way.
From Boundaries in the Workplace
What exactly does a “life full of purpose and meaning” look like as a Christian when you work around the clock in an environment where managers are hounded by admin pressures and are not necessarily prioritising your talent?
In 2005, I trained as a teacher and the holidays are in fact, superb. I teach English as a second language in a secondary school and most of my students are refugees from Syria. I have job satisfaction and a definite sense of purpose in my role as a teacher.
It was relatively recently that I noticed how busy I am. From about 6am to 5pm every day of the week, life is manic. I should have noticed this a lot sooner, but like I say, I’ve been really busy. And yes, this is normal for a full-time job in London, but it’s shocking how hard it is to feel ‘blessed by God’ when you are dealing with a relentless workload and really long work hours.
I became so highly strung with stress and tiredness at the end of last year, that I found myself telling a friend, over a ham and cheese toasty, that I didn’t even have time to “stand outside in the rain in my bare feet” or worse still: “sit on a hill and stare at the fog rolling in”. Of course, I was just letting off steam in a light-hearted way, and truthfully speaking, I’m not sure there is even a hill you could sit on to watch the fog roll in over London. Quite frankly, I can’t say that I am living for a fog to set me free from the pressures of work.
I was, however, genuinely in need of things to make me feel alive, creative and free from the intensity of work. I was so caught up in my rant that I didn’t notice the light that went on in my friend’s eyes.
They pointed out that I needed make sure all areas of my life were getting the right attention. Yes, work is part of God’s plan for humanity, but sadly it is all too easy as a Christian to develop a Buzz Lightyear Complex and think that we are called to defend the Galaxy at the expense of all other areas of our lives.
The thing is, God didn’t intend for the workplace to be the space in our lives where all our needs are met.
First and foremost, we are made to be in relationship with God and with others around us. Our main purpose is love people and use our talents as an expression of the freedom that we are marked with. We don’t need to do well at work in order to feel valued. Buzz Lightyear’s biggest problem came from believing the hype that surrounded him: in actual fact, he was made to look after Andy.
It’s the same for us. Sure we have a ton of ambition and we want to change the world – but there is an insane freedom that comes from taking pleasure in putting time aside for relationships or a sunny, wintery bike ride with a friend.
Here’s the thing: God doesn’t require us to be at the top of our game. He’s got that part covered. But this January, do we trust Him enough to accept that?