by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern
Let’s face it: the last year and a half of pandemic life has been highly disruptive in the workplace (where hasn’t it been disruptive, right?). Many jobs simply vanished. Other jobs were declared essential and then everyone argued about what kind of work is essential. Many workplaces closed and we had to adjust to working and attending zoom meetings in homes that weren’t designed as a home office. Many of us had to figure out how to work when kids and pets simultaneously demanded our time and attention. And just about the time we all got used to the “new normal,” change is upon us again as the pandemic lurches to an end (or so it seems). As companies start requiring employees to return to the office, many employees aren’t ready or even interested. Resignations have skyrocketed. Many of the job sectors that went bust during the pandemic are now booming and companies are desperate for workers. But few people seem interested in the available jobs.
The reality is, we are in the middle of a collective redefinition of what it means to work. And as hard as that may be, it does provide a tremendous opportunity to reflect on our work and the role it plays in our lives.
Like it or not, work dominates your life. You work to earn a living, work to maintain a home and family, work to make a difference in the lives of others, and work to add value and beauty to your world. Add it all up and you will spend at least 75% of your waking hours working. And even when you’re not working, you’re often talking about work, thinking about work, planning for work, or otherwise occupied by work.
Yet, most of us would admit that work is often something we have to do more than something we want to do; a necessity more than a desire. Often, the primary goal for our work seems simply to get to the end of working! We even have phrases that capture this goal: “it’s almost quittin’ time”, “I’m working for the weekend”, “TGIF!” For some, this becomes a life goal: work and scrimp and save so one day you can retire – early if possible – and then you can start really living. In other words, work is a concession to life. You just gotta do what you gotta do.
But this is the road to a wasted life! After all, as I mentioned earlier, most of us will spend more time working than doing anything else in our brief life on earth. Sure seems like the goal of work should be more than merely getting to the end of work! Sadly, many people realize this too late. They toil and toil only to discover that when the work is over they don’t know how to live, or what to live for.
Those who look to the Bible for hope and help discover that work is important because we are made in the image of a God who works. The Bible doesn’t begin with God introducing himself, “Hi, my name is God.” Rather, the story begins with God working! In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (NLT) And the picture we get in Genesis chapter 1 of God working is not one of drudgery. We don’t hear God say, “Another day, another thing to create. Sure can’t wait for that Sabbath day I’m going to create!” Not at all. God delightfully goes about the work of creation. He revels in creating things like star clusters, planets, clouds, oceans, palm trees, clownfish, and orangutans, each time exclaiming, “Oh, that’s good.” God then created the first humans and placed them in the immense paradise he just made and invited them to share in his joy of working. Clearly, work matters to God!
And consider what we can learn from the life of Jesus. He was on earth 33 short years to model a perfect human life. And seventeen of those years – more than half! – he lived as a mere carpenter. Think about that: Jesus worked in obscurity far from the centers of power for most of his time on earth…just like us. That might sound depressing if you’re counting on your life being more than your job. But it can feel invigorating because it lets us know that even obscure work matters to God.
From the Bible, we learn that more than a concession to life, work is God’s provision for a good life.
If work’s got you down and you want to explore your options, give us a call! Career counseling is one of the core competencies of licensed professional counselors because work and career have a profound effect on mental health. We are ready and able to help you reach your work and career goals.
Consider Online Therapy in Oregon for Christian Counseling
Your job doesn’t have to feel like a dead-end. Career counseling and work-life therapy is available here. Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Feel more connected to the important people in your life
Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon
If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!