2 In Christian Living/ Daily Life/ Scripture/ Wholeness

When Your Work Feels Meaningless

To the one barely able to pull herself out of bed on a Monday morning, daunted and weary by the mere thought of the week ahead. To the one dragging heaviness with them into the car and down the road on their daily commute. To the one hardly making it to the end of the day, counting the hours until they are home, counting the days until another weekend. To the one whose work feels meaningless, like heaving an enormous boulder forward just to have it roll backwards exactly where you started.

Don’t give up.

To the one waiting for the next promotion, transfer, or opportunity. To the one biding their time until their big break. To the one dreaming of a follower increase, a program expansion, a bigger platform. To the one who has decided their work isn’t significant until it is noticed.

Nothing you do is wasted.

To the one without a job title, shuffling around odd jobs to make ends meet. To the one who has yet to receive a paycheck for their tireless labor, who has no credentials, whose work won’t matter on a resume. To the one who feels like her work is small, simplistic, and irrelevant.

You are vitally important.

To the laborers, the baristas, the retailers, the 9-5ers who wonder if what they do matters. To the ones who have fallen trap to the lie that their work is less valuable than the missionary, the pastor, the full-time ministry leaders.

Your work is sacred.

Today is another ordinary Monday marking the start of another ordinary week. Today I wake to scramble eggs and blend up smoothie ingredients and pour coffee. Today I take a toddler for a walk around town and then tuck him in his crib for a nap. Today I correct small fingers moving up and down the C major scale for the billionth time. Today I rummage through a small town high school’s makeshift costume room to see if I can find outfits for string of teens creating a story on the stage. Today I come home much later than I’d prefer, warm up last week’s soup, watching an episode of Parks and Recreation as its heat warms me from the inside out. Today I go to bed and rest my body before a similarly planned Tuesday.

Today is ordinary, unexceptional, another normal day in the life of an average human.

And above all, today is sacred.

Exceptionally sacred.

Today you go to work. You put on your hard hat or your librarian name tag or your lab coat or your scrubs. Today you head out the door and you work to better your corner of the office, your classroom in the school, your kitchen in the restaurant, your bathroom in your house, your child in your life.

Your day is sacred.

In our black and white, wrong and right, good and bad way of approaching the world we have lost something vital to the health of our souls. We have lost the ability to see the sacred in everything. We have divided and segregated, making quick calls about our various work, activities, programs, people. We throw each item into its particular box, like our own version of a sorting hat. Bible study – sacred. Netflix viewing – secular. Hymns – sacred. Musical theater – secular. Pastor – sacred. Hollywood producer – secular. We’ve got boxes and labels and suddenly we discover we have split our entire existence down the middle. Morning prayer – sacred, office job – secular.

And we wonder why we feel like fragmented, half-hearted creatures muddling through our days.

I have an idea: let’s remove the word secular from our vocabulary. Let’s name our life, our work, our being, for what it is. Let’s get rid of the boxes and sorting hats and let’s call everything sacred.

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. – I Timothy 4:4

Let’s become the kind of people who drive to our jobs and take our seat in the office and show up at our work with an inexorable purpose strumming inside our souls. Let’s stand on holy ground as we file papers, answer phone calls, teach lessons, babysit children, wash dishes, give presentations,  and show up at our work. We don’t have to compare our jobs to others to decide if they are meaningful. We can stop waiting for that elusive fulfillment we think we’ll achieve when we can go back to work or find the right job or stay at home full time or get the promotion. We know the secret to getting up every morning with a sense of purpose, of passion, knowing what we do matters. We are on sacred business. We are doing sacred work.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kirstin Troyer
    October 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    So good. I needed to read this today! Everything is sacred, everything is divine, it’s all in our perception. Saving this to re-read!

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      October 12, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you, Kristin! I am always so encouraged to hear that my words resonate with you.

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