Made for Good Works

Adrienn   |   November 20, 2018 

The topic of work has been a hard one for me to think about, to figure out how to approach, and to see if I have anything to contribute. I haven’t had a proper job for a long time. (See how I just jumped from “work” to “job” automatically? Do most of us think of those as synonyms?) Before and during college I did different things, worked as a receptionist, a barista, a school librarian, had an internship with refugees, and even did a 2-week gig as a potato sorter in Colorado. Those 2 weeks in the hot winter sun gave me a good tan and bought my round-ticket to visit my friend on another continent.

After college my husband and I had two kids and I stayed at home with them for a few years, believing it to be best for their early years and realising that putting both of them in daycare would cost about as much as I could make. I did a lot of work at home, but I did not get paid, affirmed, or rewarded in ways I was used to in jobs or school. I did receive lots of slimy kisses, smiles, and cuddles, but some days I missed working outside our home. As our kids got a little older and could start attending public school for free, we could have taken the path of becoming a family of two working parents with good jobs and a more comfortable life. But this dream never really appealed to us at that point. We longed for more meaning, more depth, more adventure. So, naturally, we moved to India!!

My husband worked as a full-time volunteer with an NGO there, but I did not have an employment visa. After the first six months of simply trying to survive and figure life out for our family, I spent much of my free time pouring into relationships. Would you call that work?

How do you think of work? Is it something that pays you? Something that you are forced to do? Something that is hard and takes a lot of effort? Something that you spend most of your time on? Something that you are great at? I think of work more as what we do with the gifts and resources that God has given us. Our jobs are a part of it, but it is so much more than just that. Investing into relationships was not my job, but it was my work: it was how I spent my time, how I used my gifts and resources, what I was excited about, how I intended to serve and bless others.

During our 3 years in India, God taught both my husband and me more about our personal gifts and deepened our desire to use those gifts for His delight, the building up and serving of other believers, and for the good of the people around us.

A few months ago I started a master’s program in biblical counselling. One of the things I have learned about so far is looking at a person’s character structure. In this theory, the character structure is made up of four different capacities: attachment (deep, trusting connections with others), separation (having healthy boundaries and defined opinions), integration (accepting the bad along the good in ourselves and others), and adulthood (power, initiation, expertise). I realised that the fact that God made us in His own image means, in one way, that He has given us authority and power. All of us. And He invites us to acknowledge our unique gifts without shyness (they reflect Him!), and use them for serving others as we declare His beauty and character. “We must take the role of authoritative ruler in the domains of our lives and follow his example in order to be agents of redemption” (Dr. Henry Cloud, Changes that heal). It is not an option, but a responsibility that we have:

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

God has given all of us talents, gifts, and resources that we are responsible to develop and use. His Holy Spirit is in us, available to help and guide us in this process. We are not alone in this, He will show us how to go about it if we ask. No matter what season of life we are in, we can use what He has given us for His glory, our joy, and the benefit of others.

 

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

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Adrienn

Adrienn loves learning about God’s heart, traveling, wading through life with friends, and getting lost in a good book. Scones, family cuddles, and quiet, rainy afternoons make her smile.

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