I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in school or in a professional job. The few breaks I have taken were times where I knew there was a timeframe before I began the next task. This time in my life is a little different for me. I don’t have a schedule and I have no plan to begin a new job. It’s an exciting time, but this morning I woke up and looked at my to do list and thought: “Ok, so what will I do when that is done?”
The thing is, I’ve been able to keep busy during this time. The days that haven’t been full of different tasks have been the days where I just needed to sleep for a while.
All of this brings to mind though a lesson I have learned that I know isn’t a super popular one.
Work is not a curse.
We somehow have gotten it into our heads that when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden that the Lord cursed them with having to work. But the narrative of Genesis makes it quite clear that God gave work to Adam and Eve BEFORE they fell. They were to tend the garden; Adam was told to name the animals. They worked, and this was the normal God created us for.
The curse came for the ground. Work would be hard. We intuitively know that work is hard. We speak of “hard work” and giving 100%. And as a result, we have come to dread work. But are we really supposed to dread work? Not at all!
There are times where we are in a situation where we must do a job we do not enjoy, but I have found consistently that attitude has a lot to do with it. We have a choice to look for the things we enjoy about our work, to be thankful for the work and for the blessings it bring, or we can be bitter about having to work. We can focus on the negative things. We can let our work environment shape us into people who dread work or we can choose to look at the positive things.
I’ve had difficult bosses and trying clients. I know work isn’t enjoyable all the time. But in a hard job that I initially hated, I learned to enjoy the work by sitting down and intentionally listing the things I enjoyed about the job. I found that the things that I hated were really quite few in number, and I was honestly sad to leave the job. I tell you this because I want to encourage you that it is possible to take a bad situation and find the good in it.
Looking for the good in those difficult places often makes us do a better job, which can improve our relationship with a difficult boss which in turn can help our productivity and outlook.
I know it’s not popular to say these things. And it might seem hypocritical coming from someone who is no longer working outside of the home. But the truth is, at home, I am just as busy and do just as much work as I did in a job. When I don’t work, I find myself spending more time on social media, getting caught up in unnecessary drama, and becoming increasingly moody and depressed. Work is satisfying.
Work keeps us out of trouble. It improves our mindset. It helps us keep moving. It is healthy and encourages mental and physical health. Where it falls flat is often in the fact that we use our workplaces as opportunities to gossip, complain, and have a bad attitude. We have a choice. We can embrace the necessity and blessing of work. Or we can continue to look at it as the source of all things bad in our lives. That attitude though decreases productivity, puts us at odds with those in authority over us, and ultimately leads to a lazy way of life.
Work is more than earning a paycheck. It’s a blessing. It is the normal God designed us for. The fact that it is often hard can make it seem like work is the curse, but it isn’t. It’s an opportunity to be a light, to shine God’s glory. God is glorified when our attitudes about work reflect that it is a blessing and part of God’s design. Isn’t that the purpose of our continuing on this earth? To bring God glory?