Life’s Tough, Give Thanks

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Sometimes work is difficult. Tensions can run high between supervisors and employees. We may feel helpless. We may dread the future. Sometimes we feel underutilized or unappreciated, and it affects our performance. Whatever the circumstances, our work becomes hard, and our attitude becomes hardened. Complaints, bitterness, and sloppiness creep into our daily routine. It happens.

Two stories of illustration come to mind. First is Cal. He was valued as a hard worker, experienced, and skilled. Over time, Cal's hard work turned to hard complaint. Nothing at work could stand Cal's scrutiny. How his hours were scheduled became a big issue. He complained about every job assignment. The quality of Cal's work dropped, and he did less. Everyone knew Cal was hurting himself, but he rebuffed people who tried to help him. He didn't want help. Eventually, Cal just left. His years of service were recognized, and he drifted away.

A second story, Gwen's, begins in the same way. Gwen, too, was a hard-working longtime skilled employee. Like Cal, Gwen began to see everything in her workplace through the dark lens of complaint. She was underutilized and definitely underappreciated. New employees received the recognition that Gwen felt she deserved. Her job could be much more if only her supervisors recognized her talent and shaped her job accordingly. Gwen too was ready to leave her employer when God confronted her through prayer. As she was thanking God for all that she had in her life, she realized her job was one of those blessings.

Her prayer of thanksgiving began slowly to transform her. Instead of leaving and starting over somewhere else, Gwen changed the way she was dealing with her work situation. She prayed earnestly, regularly, a prayer of thanks for the work God provided for her to do. Over time, Gwen saw her work differently. Her position at work didn't change. There was no grand bonus or huge raise. Her job description stayed the same, but Gwen found new ways to do her work that brought her joy. More importantly, she learned to glorify God in her work.

I see a piece of myself in both illustrations. I could share some righteous indignation with Cal. I suppose Jesus could’ve responded on the way to the Cross as Cal did. Then where would we be? But I've also struggled as Gwen did and seen God in it. This may sound trite and simplistic, but this I know: the struggles of Cal and Gwen are hard, gut-wrenching struggles. They should not be dismissed as someone who is just whining or having a bad day. Tough struggles like these affect many of us in our work.

The answer appears simple, and I suppose it is. We can learn the secret of being content no matter what the circumstances. We do everything through Christ who strengthens us. But learning to trust Christ in our daily circumstances is a long and twisted road, full of hidden potholes along the way. Each day, I choose to trust God—or not. I choose to continue down that road—or not. I choose to thank God—or not.

This season, this day, choose to celebrate the blessings God has bestowed. Be grateful, rejoice, and make it heartfelt.