Why Can’t I Be Honest About My Work?

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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I was picking up my daughter from Sunday School last week when another mother started cross-examining me about my job. We had met once or twice, and she didn’t realize I was a lawyer until my six year old daughter apparently announced my occupation to the class.

After explaining to her where I worked, she wanted to know why I work for such a large law firm, why I don’t work part-time, and why part-time isn’t an option.

“You poor thing,” she said. “You must work all the time.”

She genuinely felt sorry for me.

Mind you, I don’t believe this woman was judging me. She just appeared confused and genuinely concerned—that I was missing out on a more fulfilling life.

In response, I could have explained to her that I’m actually quite satisfied in my daily work, that I have new opportunities every day to serve God in my profession, and while my job isn’t perfect, I’m more than grateful for my work as a lawyer.

But instead, I found myself apologizing for my occupation and even being dishonest: "Oh, I don't really work that much. It’s really quite manageable."

Who am I kidding?

I started to walk toward the exit when I ran into another mother. We used to serve in mid-week youth programs together, and we hadn’t seen each other in months. She greeted me with a hug and a smile. “Hey, Susan, how’s your book doing?” she asked. “Are you still writing?”

In response, did I seize the moment and explain that writing is my passion? That I write for sheer joy and privilege and I’m even part of an online community of writers where we integrate both faith and work?

Not exactly. I found myself downplaying my writing and again being dishonest. “Well, my writing is more of a hobby than anything else,” I said. “But thanks for asking.”

I can’t explain my response. While I champion the integration of faith and work on paper (and even encourage readers to do the same), I’m obviously a big phony. When given the dance floor, I’d rather pass and revert into a cycle of dualism—completely separating my spiritual life from my daily work.

Maybe I don’t have the guts to admit that I love my work. Maybe I’m too prideful to call my work spiritual, or even good. Yet even though I work too many hours, travel more than I’d like, and struggle to find time to write when I’m not tied to carpool duty or a billable hour, I actually believe that God is involved in each and every detail of my day, that my work makes a difference.

It’s just easier to act like I don't really care.

If I can’t be honest about my passions with people in my own church family, how can I be honest with myself?

Image by Dreamwhile. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.Post by Susan DiMickele.