You’ve heard us say that we don't think anyone should have to choose between their work life and their life’s work. It sounds nice, but what does that really mean?
In short: your work life is your job, your life’s work is THE WORK. The work is the call on your life to glorify God through every part of you including but not limited to your gifts, interests, failures, friendships, responsibilities, character and even your job.
When we say you don't have to choose between the two, are we saying you don't have to choose one? Yes. Are we saying you can hold them both equal? No. Your job is part of your work, but it’s not all of it.
Culturally, we have learned to think of work and job as two parallel lines: a job line and a work line, where you spend your life trying to get the two lines closer and closer together. This is where that lie of “balance” comes from. It serves us well for a while, until finally they get as close as they can be to one another and the lines start to blur into each other until you can't tell them apart. It’s a dangerous visual to hold onto. The idea of integrating the two completely gives us permission to claim they are of equal importance. Then when our job ends (because that's what jobs do) that line we allowed to blur goes away and we’re left confused, empty, and lost. How many times have we seen post-grad disappointment result in loss of Faith?
Lets paint a different picture than two lines running parallel. Instead, try to imagine the “work” line expands, becoming a whole room. Within that room, your thin “job” line lives, along with many other lines. Your job can operate outside of your work, but the goal is to allow your job to live in the room of your work. The determining factor of whether our job lives within our work or not has nothing to do with the nature of our job, and has everything to do with HOW we show up in our job. We can do our jobs in all their normalcy, and be contributing to our work in every moment.
Your work is so much more than your title. It’s also so much more than your responsibilities. Your work is the posture of your heart in all directions and how you submit your job to the pursuit of completing good works.
While pursuing excellence in your job, you have the opportunity to dole out the hope of Jesus to people around you. You have the opportunity to practice generosity of spirit, of time, and of finances. You get to pray boldly about goals and practice, trust and vulnerability as you do so.
We put so much focus on what we do and such little focus on how we do what we do.There’s a natural tendency to either hope you can keep the job and the work separate from one another...or, particularly for those working in traditional ministry, think your job counts as your work. Your work is everything you have the opportunity to influence, love, and notice. Your job is one of MANY avenues that provides those opportunities.
It doesn’t mean your job doesn't matter, it means your work exists and remains regardless of the circumstances of your job. Remember that dear graduates… if you find yourself applying for jobs you didn't think you would, if you find yourself in a job you don't see being permanent, if you lose a job, are desperate for a job, hate a job, or are obsessed with your job… your work is there all the same. Prepared for you so that you will walk in it. Ephesians 2:10 says we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
God has prepared our good work.
He blesses our work- which means that not one bit of GOOD WORK is wasted (Galatians 6). Not one seed or word of encouragement or attempt to love is for nothing even if it feels that way.
We have been given an opportunity to reframe the way we think about integrating our work life and our life’s work. Our job can live within our work, and we can abide within Christ at the same time.