It’s so easy to go through your daily routine, be consumed by the amount of work you need to accomplish, keep your head down and work until the day is done. At least it is for me.
My whole life I’ve been a natural people person. I love interacting with other people, I have a pretty compassionate heart and relationships are of high importance to me. But lately at work, I’ve been so busy and so worried about getting my tasks completed, I’ve lost sight of this.
Walking Daily with the Lord
A couple of months ago, one of my friends shared a Matt Chandler video in which he described how he lives his daily life in tune with the Father. It was a beautiful picture of how someone walks with the Lord day in and day out, and it challenged me to think about ways in which I could have a kingdom mindset on a day to day basis (I’ll embed the video below).
One of the things he suggests in this video is praying through your schedule on your way to work. If you know you have some meetings or an appointment on the calendar that day, you could be praying over each item and asking the Lord to use it, to work through you, to give you strength where strength is needed, humility where humility is needed, and so on.
Usually I listen to podcasts on my way to work. But I only have about a seven-minute commute, so I decided I’d start praying each day on my way to work instead. Seven minutes isn’t so long that my mind would wander too much, so I thought it was something I could handle and it would be a good way to start my day.
The very first day I’m praying on my way to work, I’m thinking of all the things I need to accomplish, and I felt God lovingly tell me this phrase, “Kirsten just remember, people are more important than projects.” He showed me the ways I had been putting my projects ahead of the people I work with. I had been short with people, I had been hoping they wouldn’t engage with me, I found myself being mostly bothered by other people instead of encouraged by them.
Every day since then, I’ve been asking my Father to remind me that people, his children, are more important than the projects I’m working on. If someone comes to my desk to ask a question, voice a concern, or even just to talk about life, as a Christian this is my opportunity to show people the love of Christ.
Instead of wishing for that time to pass more quickly so I can get back on track with my projects, I started saying a very short prayer each time it happened. I shifted my focus to heavenly things and asked God to help me use this time to glorify him. I’d ask him to take the focus off my selfish priorities and engage with the human being who is trying to connect with me. I’d just say once in my head, “people are more important than projects,” and then dive all in, fully present to the conversation.
I feel ashamed admitting how obsessed I had become with accomplishing my to-do list. As you know, I received a promotion somewhat recently and perhaps the added pressure of performing well in that roll contributed to me wanting to get my projects done effectively and efficiently. But I wasn’t building any relationships, and I wasn’t showing any compassion, let alone the love of God.
The Risk of Putting Projects Before People
It’s been almost two months since the phrase ‘people are more important than projects’ came to my mind, but I’ve prayed it on my way to work every day since. And my perspective has totally changed. I’ll never stop being an achiever and striving to complete my to do list each day, but God is showing me every day what I might be missing out on if I keep my head down and avoid interacting with people.
I’d have missed the fact that one of my coworkers was battling cancer, that another one was having pretty serious surgery and was nervous about it. I’d have missed an opportunity to pass along a gift and watch a video of someone’s kid.
And perhaps the sweetest of experiences I’d have missed was the opportunity to coordinate a gift to a colleague who recently lost his wife. In the height of a busy week our office found out his wife had passed away, so I organized a collection to purchase a gift and make a donation to a charity his family had selected. The time I spent out purchasing the gift might normally have caused me to think of all the work I was delaying, but instead, God showed me how crucial it is to have these relationships. He reminded me how temporary this project, this job, and this life truly is.
This gentleman dropped off a thank you note just two days after, and I’ll never forget how grateful he was for our gift. Not that I expected anything from him, especially in the midst of such a tragic event, but his actions were affirmation I had the proper perspective of life in the midst of a busy work week.
Jesus and Your Job
The idea of incorporating Jesus and your faith into your job is of high importance to me. As Christians, we all too often speak of doing the work of the kingdom, but then find an entire day has gone by without a single thought to how our actions might have moved the heart of other people or our Father.
I’ve considered focusing more on this topic and offering encouragement and practical ideas to other Christians about how we can orient our lives and our careers around the love of God on a daily basis. So what do you think? Is this a topic I should spend more time writing about?
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