Do you struggle to find purpose in your work? For this week’s Monday Minute, Liz shares how God’s purposes for our work are far more valuable than just a paycheck.
Finding Purpose in Your Work
by Liz Giertz
When I traded my active duty ID card for a pink one my self esteem took a beating.
The first few months were a whirlwind. I turned over my responsibilities to my unit, welcomed my husband home from deployment, moved to the opposite side of Germany with our 9 month old, and prepared to return stateside for my husband’s next assignment. But once we had rifled through the last moving box at our new duty station, the use of the title “Mrs.” really knocked me down.
I had always prided myself on my military achievements and sharing the bread-winner status equally with my husband. The realization that I was now unemployed for the first time since I was 16 and had moved from bread-winner to a consumer of his income hit me hard.
Like many military spouses I struggled to find purpose in my work.
Each subsequent move seemed to push meaningful employment further and further into the background. Fading professional skills, an increasing employment gap, and a constantly changing address didn’t help matters. The thought of pursuing a degree or certification with a toddler on my hip, a husband deployed, or during a PCS was overwhelming. Finding employment flexible enough to accommodate our unpredictable lifestyle and high enough compensation to make daycare an option seemed a bridge too far.
Sure, some military spouses manage to overcome herculean hurdles to help provide monetarily for their families, but most wrestle with financial and emotional challenges accompanying work that’s less than ideal. I know I did.
But that’s because I was measuring my purpose according to man’s economy and not God’s.
God’s Purpose in Your Work
The first step in overcoming the challenges of military spouse employment, is to redefine our worthiness and what it means to work according to God’s standard. You see, he has created each of use with a purpose in mind.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
The work we do in this world does not, cannot add to our worth. God declares us worthy because of Christ’s work on the cross. When we receive God’s gifts of grace and faith, he also enables and equips us to do the good works he prepared and planned for us according to his purposes.
His purposes are far more valuable than any paycheck we will ever earn.
Once we put work in the proper perspective, what we do begins to matter less than why we do it. Our God-given purpose is to allow our good works to shine a light on God’s glory. God’s purpose in your work helps others come to know him. And we can do that no matter what we do or for how long we do it. Service member, spouse, volunteer, medical personnel, educator, legal professional, janitor, business manager, part-time employee. Promoting God’s glory is the most portable profession any of us could have.
So, even if you can’t land your dream job, you can work heartily for the Lord. Whatever work he has assigned you at this moment will not go to waste. God will use it to stretch your faith, increase your trust, and prepare you for whatever he has planned for.
Learn from Joseph’s Example
Joseph’s story of tragedy and triumph encourages us to work to the best of our abilities no matter what our circumstances. He was an Israelite boy sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers. Because God was with Joseph and made all he did prosper, he found favor and rose to a position of power in Potiphar’s house. Falsely accused of a crime, he was imprisoned. Faithfully serving out his sentence despite being forgotten by his fellow inmates, he eventually found favor using the skills God had given him. Giving glory to God, he solved Pharaoh’s coming famine crisis and rose once again to power. Working hard to prepare the Egyptians, he ended up saving his own family from famine, reconciling with them, and establishing the Israelite presence in Egypt.
Clinging to the hope that God would work it all out for good enabled Joseph to rise up above all sorts of less than ideal employment situations.
Military families are no strangers to the stress and financial hardship related to unemployment, underemployment, or unpredictable employment. We rise up when we place our trust in God’s faithfulness and seek to glorify him in all we do.
Remember As a Christian woman, you already have favor with God and he is with you in all you do. Instead of working for that favor, work from it to bring honor and glory to God so that others might know his steadfast love. Let his light shine through you no matter what you do.
Train Read Ephesians 2:8-10, Colossians 3:32, Matthew 5:16, and Romans 8:28. Think about how they apply to your current employment situation. Write your favorite on a sticky note and post it as a reminder where you work.
Submit Submit your work, whatever it may be, to the Lord and ask for his help in glorifying him in all you do.
Worship Thank the Lord for preparing work for your hands to do and the opportunity to share in his purposes through it.
Dear Lord, thank you for the work you have given me to do. Help me to work heartily and for your glory in all my assignments, no matter how great or seemingly small. Amen.
For more information on flourishing in work and volunteering visit our Resources Page.