The temptation, whether you love or hate your work situation, is to think it’ll be this way forever.
For most of us, this simply isn’t the case. Even if we keep doing the same work for the same employer, the environment the company operates in will change, eventually forcing a response.
Sometimes, this false sense of forever has given me a false sense of comfort, sometimes a false sense of hopelessness.
Over the past few years, my work has fallen into the “nontraditional” category, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find my comfort zone here.
But comfort isn’t a worthy goal. Any time I’ve grown, it’s been uncomfortable. It’s been painful and scary, but worth it.
Instead of trying to predict what the work I’m doing now will mean for me five years from now, or falling into a comfortable but unchallenged pattern, I’m learning to view work through the lens of projects, seasons and preparation.
If I view all the work I do as a series of projects, and assign finish lines where I can, it feels less permanent. Less room to feel comfortable, and less room to feel hopeless if it’s a project I don’t like.
I like finish lines. You can do anything when it’s temporary. Knowing there’s a finish line to some projects can raise the bar on performance and effort, because there’s rest coming. Mediocrity creeps in when we feel stuck in an endless slog.
Some projects are ongoing. They don’t have a clear end, but they will end eventually.
These are the places I’m tempted to coast and settle in, reserving energy. With a little shift in perspective, I can still work on these longer term projects with the finish line in mind.
I’ll only have the chance to work here, with these people in this environment, on this work for a season. What impact do I want to make? When this season eventually ends, do I want to look back and feel like I could have given more? I want to know that I brought as much value as I could, that I gave my all.
Some work feels frustrating, tedious, and mundane. When it feels pointless, I ask, what is this preparing me for?
In some seasons, we build things, and some seasons build us.
Shifting my perspective to focus on projects, seasons and preparation has given me patience and helped me trust God more in the process.
Where my tendency would be to hold on tight to whatever comes my way, looking at work with a more temporary perspective helps me hold it loosely.
My hands are open in a posture of both giving and receiving, a posture of vulnerability.
It’s a posture that says, my security doesn’t come from what I do, what I earn, or who sees it, but from a good God who fills those hands and gives them good work to do in every season.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”