What thoughts spring to your mind when the phrase Corporate America is mentioned? I confess, my first thought is out-of-balance. Subsequent thoughts aren’t any better. I think of stress, struggles, challenges, negative coworkers, unreasonable expectations, and increasingly higher demands. I think of how downsizing has created an expectation to accomplish the same, if not more, results with increasingly fewer resources. It seems that employees are being stretched beyond their capabilities and stress is at an all-time high. I think of how technology has allowed us to have our minds on work around the clock, and how unhealthy it is to never unplug from work. The current atmosphere and culture in my workplace seems more than out-of-balance; it feels broken and out-of-order.
Reconciling who the Lord calls me to be within the expectations of the world, the work world in particular, is challenging. Conditions are such that make living out biblical principles difficult. The culture in which I work leaves little room for anything other than working at a mind-numbing rate. Spending any amount of time building relationships with a coworker is frowned upon. Demands are so great that the work is never accomplished, deadlines are often missed, and it seems as though the harder I work, the more work is given to me.
One troubling expectation is to consistently work more than the standard forty-hour workweek. Breaks are unheard of and regular lunch hours away from the desk are taboo, even on the days I don’t have a lunchtime meeting. Yes, I did mention meetings over the lunch hour. It seems we’ve run out of places to extend our days; we are already coming in early and staying late, and now it’s acceptable to schedule meetings over the lunch hour.
There is no recognition or respect for work and life-balance where I live in corporate America. I recently heard a leader say that work-life balance is a myth. That saddened me. I disagree; I believe God wants us to live a healthy lifestyle, giving our time and attention to many things outside of work.
When I find myself wondering what I’m doing in such a place, God reminds me that He’s placed me there for His purpose.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Luke 5: 4-6
When I am where God has asked me to be, even if I don’t see the reason for being there, God is working—through me, in me, and on me. I need to cast my net wherever He tells me and trust the results to Him who called me there.
I grow weary, but God’s Word spurs me on.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:9-10).
God has strategically placed you for His purpose in your workplace. Perhaps in striving to be different—healthier—we can model a behavior that will influence others. You may grow weary, but don’t give up.
Shari is currently serving as a Hospice Chaplain at Olive Grove Hospice. Shari is a certified coach who lends a blend of business and ministry experience to her every endeavor. God has given her a passion to encourage people to integrate work and faith. You can learn more about her book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement on her website: www.sharjharris.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org