Is it not obvious the reason why? It needs to get done. It helps my boss who has become my mother away from home. Because I'm able-bodied and can. Because in the end, it somehow affects the families who I have been employed and "called" to serve. Because I strive to do my best. Every day. In every situation.
As many of you know, I work with children with special needs as a Speech-Language Pathologist to help them learn language and communicate. I work in a clinic alongside other disciplines (OT, PT, ABA) to provide services for the children and their families. I've been at my job for almost 9 years so I have a pretty good "handle" on how things run and can think quickly on my feet based on my experience. Recently, we have been going through changes learning new funding sources and responding to changes in laws; therefore, we have all been on a learning curve. I try to help out whenever and wherever I can. I grew up with parents who owned businesses so I saw that it takes a "family" to keep it going. It's hard work. It's so much more beyond what any employee sees. That perspective has really helped me in my professional career to see beyond my needs as an employee on to what I feel will help my employer, co-workers and families.
Recently, someone asked a harmless question to another person: Why is Danielle doing so many extra things?
My immediate "repeatable" reaction:
Then the following scrolled through my mind:
I've thought of this one simple question for days.
Then I began to wonder....How do Christians view the workplace??
Church, to me, is like a fuel stop in my weekly journey. Sundays are rest days because they are easy days. I'm recharged and renewed on Sundays. I'm around others who think similarly to me, use the same lingo, etc. I live in a bubble on Sundays and I cherish it. It gives me strength. My soul overflows on Sunday.
The other 6 days of the week?? Tough. This is where ministry comes in. This is where I use the "fuel" from Sunday to charge though the rest of the week. The real test of faith to me is embedded deep in the trenches of my week, which is spent in the workplace.
People see God in me on Sundays. I'm energetic. I love to connect and have conversation. I serve in a visible ministry so people see me "doing" things. Do people see the God in me Monday through Saturday? Do people see God in you Monday through Saturday?
Granted, we ALL mess up. We have bad days. Your job is hard. My job is hard. It's emotional. It's exciting. It requires a ton of emotional energy. Sometimes I don't want to help someone when they need it because I just want to rest. I get tired of changing the toilet paper roll when someone else doesn't. I get it....but, perspective is key.
I believe we walk among angels and interface with them unknowingly, frequently. I believe that Jesus visits us at unexpected times through another person, in opportunities to serve "the least of these," those closest to his heart. In case you have not realized this, often the "least of these" are those that we typically would not readily approach or to whom we may not give a second glance. Personally, I do not believe Jesus chooses to "check up on me" in the form of a clean-shaven, well-dressed, middle-class person who is courteous and patient at all times when I'm well-rested, cheery, and oozing with my Southern hospitality. What would be the point in that?
Who are the "least of these" in your workplace?
For me, it can be the families of children with autism or other disorder that come in emotional, with blood-shot eyes, tired, walking this journey of discovery and grief. There's often misplaced blame, anger, denial, gratitude, fear....all of which are manifested in a multitude of ways from person to person and circumstance to circumstance. Is it the parent to whom I have just given very delayed test scores? Is it the parent to whom I have just started the conversation of "Your child is not developing as a typical child and is showing signs of autism?" Maybe it is my co-worker who made a sarcastic comment? Didn't finish a report? It's the children who have been entrusted in my care who are frustrated, may not speak with words but rather speak with behaviors (sometimes severe), and are looking to me for giving them a voice.
Can I grant all of the people with whom I interact the same amount of grace daily that I'm given continuously? Can I avoid keeping score and just do a menial task that is not "my job" because it needs to get done? Can you?
For me, it's all connected. All of the extra things I choose to do result in the families getting better care. Isn't that worth a few extra minutes to do something that I don't have to or that's not "my job?"
I know I have a very tangibly rewarding career. I see changes. I celebrate with families. Some of you may feel your job is mundane. Friend, it is not. It helps the rest of us do our jobs and do them well. You have a place, and your worth is tremendous. You must alter your perspective and see that. The insurance agent or coder who does not work directly with people may feel that the job is boring, mundane, unrewarding, but oh it is. Without his/her diligence, skill, and assistance, I cannot do mine. The software engineer and computer technician? What would we do without you making our jobs run smoothly and efficiently? We are all connected. We all have a job to do, and friend, God demands us to do it well.
"Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks to Him to God our Father."
Colossians 3:17 (the Voice)
"So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord's servant, not as man's."
Colossians 3: 23 (the Voice)
Praying that you wake up energized and look forward to seeing new opportunities at your workplace tomorrow,
About the Author: Danielle is a multi-faceted Jesus follower, Southern Belle, wine drinker, and foodie. She enjoys the finer things in life such as board games, purging and organizing, cooking, blogging, conversation, and recycling to save money for a future adoption. She has a Master’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and is currently pursuing graduate courses to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has a heart for missions and has traveled to and served in South Africa for the past six years. Hailing from Mississippi, she enjoys immersing herself in new cultures even when uncomfortable in her current state of California. After years, of “troubleshooting singleness,” she is pursuing a fiance visa for the love of her life that she met while serving in South Africa. She welcomes emails at DanielleSJones@gmail.com. You can read more about her adoption process or thoughts at http://www.backtosa2010.blogspot.com/