One of the biggest philosophical changes I’ve undergone in the last five years is to recognize that God made us for work. Previously, I really enjoyed sitting in a chair doing nothing. Well, maybe I would be drinking coffee, reading or trying to convince my husband that he too should be sitting down and doing nothing with me, but that was my favorite state to be in. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to sit down and relax, this was my goal all the time.
I would simply do the minimum amount of work I had to in order to be able to take a break and sit down in my comfy chair. Work was simply something I had to endure in order to get to rest.
I have now come to understand that wasting your life away in a chair doesn’t always give you actual rest. I have also discovered that God created us for work. We are imprinted with the need to work. We can know this because most of us, if given an unlimited amount of money, would be very unhappy just sitting around all day. Even if the work we do is volunteering, we need to do work.
I often read that we will have jobs in Heaven as God will continue to ask us to work. These jobs will be deeply satisfying because we were made to work. Once I fully understood this, it helped me stop being a lazy twenty-something and start embracing the jobs God had clearly given me. He asked me to be a wife. He asked me to be a mother. He gave me a home and asked me to care for it.
That already is a lot of work to do! I knew I would have to work hard and give my all to this work if I wanted to find peace. Leisure time is extremely important so I’m not suggesting we work all the time. But leisure time should be well earned in between bouts of getting our jobs done.
My husband and I organize our schedule with purpose so we don’t have any work to do on Sundays. We try very hard to stay off our computers as well, which is hard for both of us since we each have online ministries.
In what ways are you avoiding work?
What tasks has God deliberately given you that you are ignoring?
How can you change your attitude about getting work done with joy instead of bitterness?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the work you have to do or feeling bitter about a task you’ve been given, it’s important to remember that Catholics believe you can offer up your own suffering for the good of others. That means that you can take those yucky feelings and give them to God. You unite them to the suffering Jesus went through on the cross and God redeems your suffering.
This concept of redemptive suffering has also been a great help to me. I offer up my good works and my sufferings every day for a specific person or cause. It helps me to find strength when I’m feeling down or hopeless.
I fill out this worksheet called Offer Up Monthly to help me be intentional about what I’m working toward. When I have a tough job ahead of me, I think of my dad’s salvation or unborn babies and it makes me feel like my suffering has real meaning. I fill out this worksheet
Today I want you to consider your attitude about working and suffering? Can you align your attitude more with Jesus?