A Place Called Simplicity - Part 4 - Taking it to your job
A man named Gerut Gustaffson, who used to teach on the subject of worship, met Mother Teresa in Calcutta one time. He spoke to her about the worldwide explosion of worship music that he was so excited about. But the more he talked, the more he realized that she had little knowledge or interest in the subject of worship music. Finally, realizing he wasn’t getting through he asked her, “What does worship mean to you?” He was touched and challenged by her answer. She said, “We worship God by living out our lives before Him, by going out and finding the poorest of the poor and then taking care of them. This is what gives God glory.” She was a lucky person who found no distinction between her work and worship! Most of us don’t have that kind of job. Some of us even have jobs that we feel butts heads with what we believe. So the author came up with some stress-stripping, simplicity enduring principles for us to take to work. (And remember, work can be home making or a volunteer committee you’re on too.)
1. Ask advice from people you admire.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
If you have a friend or relative who seems to possess the gift of doing their job (or life!) with a sense of efficiency and calm – pick their brain!
2. Get the big picture
The YMCA has a mission statement on its wall. Many companies do too. Our church prints one on the bulletin. It’s a good idea and therefore it’s a good idea for an individual to write out their own mission statement. Step back and make an effort to think through what you are doing each day and why, as well as what good is served by the fact you are doing it.
Some people may not realize this is what they’re doing when they write their job description or goals and priorities, but it’s an overview of a person’s “work” and what they hope to accomplish written in a short, concise statement so when they are overwhelmed with nothing going right and too much to do, they can look back at it and refocus.
Example – A stay at home mom might write, “I am shaping the minds, hearts and conscientiousness of my children by giving them my time and attention. I am sharing God’s Word with them and making sure they are involved in church so they can build their own relationship with Christ. I am feeding them healthy wholesome food so they stay well and grow strong and I’m trying to teach each child they are unique and valuable to help them be the best person he or she can be.
Same with grandchildren
Or a supportive friend
A good neighbor
3. Ask yourself the right questions.
Questions like, “How important is this task really?” Look at your “job description” and see how important what you are doing is to it. I like her quote, “It’s better to limit your work then to have your work limit your life!”
4. Build in rewards
If you aren’t getting any strokes for what you do – stroke yourself! Take lunch to the park, have a bath while reading a book, call a friend and go to a movie. After you clean your kitchen put a bouquet of flowers on the table.
5. Make where you live or work “you.”
Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Things you like to look at. I like having framed pictures of family and friends all over. And I love flowers! But everyone’s different.
6. Have a strong support system.
We were not meant to go through life all by ourselves. We all need a strong network of caring friends. Your Sunday School class is a strong support system. Maybe some neighbors, or sisters and cousins. Hopefully lots of friends, but you have to work at it. Friends have to be there for each other. You can’t sit around and expect the other person to make all the effort.
7. Learn to enjoy the process.
Sometimes we want something to be so special or turn out so well and are disappointed with the results and we’re crushed. If we’ve learned to enjoy every step of the process, though, then really we’ve won.
She gave the example of song writing. If it’s your passion you must love every step of it. Because if you’re waiting for success to bring the joy, it may never come and you’ll have worked for nothing. But if you love the words and the music and creating, even if the success never comes you will still have had a life filled with purpose and beauty and joy.
8. Know when to stop
Stop before you’re worn out. Stop when you need a laugh or a conversation with a friend.
9. Learn to let go.
The author says perfectionism is the kiss of death when it comes to working simply. We are never comfortable and no one is comfortable around us.
10. Discover the ministry in the midst.
There are people everywhere who need to be ministered to. Everyone is hurting. Everyone has problems! We need to always be ready to help.