Entering my forties ushered in a time where my life began to fall apart. My best friend moved, my kids entered young adulthood, my identity teaching Bible studies slipped away.
The straight jacket of life begin to cause activities, faces, and places to become painful. Depression took hold.
What happened to my once full life? Someone suggested a job would be the solution.
I heard a familiar shaming voice in my head, ‘Work is the path of those who wouldn’t leave everything to follow Jesus’. I ducked my head and went to work.
My real estate license thrust me into a full time career where day by day I started shedding spiritual disciplines like a coat, scarf, and gloves. I began to excel at work, meeting new faces, helping people and feeling happy, satisfied even.
I began to feel an internal pressure to separate my work life from my spiritual life. Within months my work life eclipsed the spiritual. Not only wouldn’t I leave everything to follow Jesus, I was enjoying my work life more.
My feet were firmly planted in the world. Occasional church attendance, sporadic Bible study, prayer if I indulged in lunch with a friend who prayed. Walking my new path in the workplace, spiritual disciplines continued to fall away, leaving me naked and wondering in the dark of night how I ended up so far from the Jesus I loved.
Rummaging in the closet of Christianity, worldliness is the attire I put on daily. Occasionally I would glance at a shirt with beautiful details but would pass it by.
Worldliness is easy to wear. No ironing necessary.
The intricate details of the other shirt is one we have to wear carefully, thoughtfully, knowing it is valuable. Worldliness won morning after morning until I no longer even saw another choice of attire.
A worldly Christian began to walk out my door each morning. A Christian skating a fine line of being called an enemy of God (James 4:4).
Why do we see such a separation between working and following Jesus? Why can’t we manage to be a faithful follower of Jesus even in the midst of a career?
I saw the pinnacle of Christianity as a woman encountering Jesus in such a way she turned her back on the worldly pursuit connected with employment to simply follow Jesus. Peter threw down his nets to follow Jesus. It wasn’t until his great shame in denying Jesus he returned to fishing.
At lunch a co-worker’s clothes caught my eye, and I thought, how come she can wear that to work? Thoughts tumbled around in my heart and head, do I have to wear worldliness? Can I work and follow Jesus? Why is there such pressure to separate the spiritual from regular jobs?
What if we are being called right into the workforce to follow Jesus? Could he be leading us into the workplace for a reason? Can we follow Jesus well even if we don’t leave our fishing nets?
I learning, yes, we can.
I viewed work as the lessor path instead of understanding God calls everyone to work. Only difference is in the where, in the workforce, in the home or the church, we are called to follow Jesus.
The challenges are different, but the first challenge of the day is what will we choose to wear? Wordiness is easy but so common. Do we really want to show up at work wearing what everyone else is wearing? Who wants to be like everyone else? I want to stand out, don’t you? I want to do an excellent job and look good doing it!
A compassionate heart and kindness is what I am planning to wear. Sparkly is my goal Monday morning as I walk into the office sporting a heart brimming with compassion and kindness. It really is a choice, a deliberate choice, and we will have to wear it more carefully.
But when I walk in my door at the end of the day, I’ll know I followed Jesus, looking good the entire day!