Originally published Tuesday, 18 March 2014.
Most mornings, as I ride the two elevators it takes to get to my office, I spend a quiet moment or two asking the Lord for patience, for grace, for the ability to see my coworkers as He sees them, for the ability to exhibit His love to them. I believe in this simple practice because I am not always the best version of myself at work. I generally have very little patience for those who work at a slower pace, who don't communicate, who aren't the ridiculously-tightly-wound-overachiveing-perfectionist that I am. In general, the mornings that I take a few moments to close my eyes, prepare for my day and walk in to the office ready to give my best attempt at being Christ to my coworkers, I'm closer to the mark than the days I don't.
But then the day starts. I tackle my to-do list, the endless stream of emails, the unexpected challenges that arise, the phone calls, the meetings. I leave the Lord at the door to my office and take on my responsibilities with the attitude and mindset that I exhibit to my coworkers, my superiors, my donors: "I've got this".
It wasn't until last week, when someone very wise took the time to discuss with me the professional challenges that I'm facing, that I was reminded of the fact that my prayers for my workday don't have to stop upon my arrival at the office in the morning. As much as The Lord cares about helping me be patient and kind to my coworkers, He cares about helping me meet my goals. In fact, He wants to help me meet my goals. He wants to help me make the right decisions, spend my time wisely, be the most effective boss and employee I can be. He cares about my organization and the work that we do. Just because I don't work for a ministry or a Christian organization doesn't mean that He can't be involved in our inner workings or that He doesn't want us to be successful.
In general, I am more confident in my professional skills than in any other area of my life. I am extremely organized and detail oriented. I act professionally and with discretion. I am a perfectionist and most of the time, I don't drop the ball. Or the many balls that we each juggle in my line of work. Which I guess is why the simple concept of praying for help, discernment, guidance at work has never occurred to me. My "I've got this" attitude has gone a little bit too far. I am only human and I can only accomplish so much in the workday.
What a wonderful reminder it is that even in a fast-paced environment where I give myself no grace, where I don't often like to ask for help, where the stress level is high and my goals are my own, that I'm not alone? That there is, in fact, grace? My daily prayers for patience in the elevator have now become daily prayers over my goals, my to-do lists. I am thankful this week that The Lord no longer waits for me outside my office at 5:00 p.m. when I'm ready to interact with Him again. Instead, He stands beside me in all that I do, and is my consistent source of strength, focus, and peace. His gentle lessons in reliance on Him continue to humble and soften me in the workplace and beyond.
Image via LeCoveteur