Happy Saturday! It’s been nearly ten days since my last post. [So much for writing more regularly in 2023! Ha!] The new year kicked off busy, but manageable. How is your 2023 turning out thus far?
If you’ve been following my blog for a minute, you know that over the past few months, I’ve been focused on expressing my creativity through writing poetry, including creating my own psalms. Late last Spring , I also started trying to developing my drawing skills. This effort to rediscover my creative voice began as a result of a few counseling sessions geared to helping me cope with some mental and emotional stress that had bubbled to the surface after two major winter storm events here in Texas.
To be clear, it wasn’t the weather that caused the stress but rather the experiences that I had during our inclement weather service that we provided to our homeless neighbors—about 1500 of them—during those storms. Honestly, those experiences weren’t the root cause either. Stress kind of creeps up on you—particularly work-related stress. Admittedly, the majority of my career has involved meeting deadlines, solving problems, managing conflict and navigating crisis, and dealing with a whole slew of issues and concerns.
While I’ve had a blast during my work career, over the years the pressures take their toll. This is as true working in ministry, and for non-profits, as it is working for secular companies. Any work of significance comes with the weighty burden of stress. Therefore, it’s important to take care of yourself. Otherwise, you risk turning your long race into a short sprint. You must ask yourself “Am I willing (and able) to continue paying the price?”
When you start a new job, you and your new employer hope that it works out. Earlier this month, I celebrated my two year anniversary at my current ministry gig. It’s taken all of two years to finally feel like my feet are firmly planted on solid ground—meaning I finally don’t feel like the “new guy.”
Prior to my current workplace, OurCalling, I served as a workplace chaplain. Throughout the week, I would travel to visit different client companies and minister to their employees. I worked different shifts, often early in the morning as well as late nights and weekends. It was commonplace for me to be out past midnight and out and about before dawn. It was rewarding work that combined the art of compassionate listening with evangelism. However, it wreaked havoc with my sleep patterns.
My client companies spanned numerous industries including manufacturing, technology, and government contractors. I also served a couple of food companies, which having worked in the food business for nearly three decades seemed like a natural fit. After two years, amid COVID and taking significant time off to look after my Mom as she recuperated from a couple of bouts of health problems, I still felt like a guy in the outside looking in.
Through all of this, I’ve been able to grow in my understanding of work as an act of worship. As a Christ-follower, when you are able to use your gifts, talents, and skills to their max at work, you are glorifying God. Hence, you are worshipping the Lord through your work.
We are, after all, saved FOR works, not BY works. None of those works give us a greater platform to share and show the Gospel than our jobs. Again, that means you need to take care of yourself—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If not you risk extinguishing the fire for the Lord burning inside you [diminishing the return on your Kingdom investment].
For many of us, our spiritual journeys tend to be long and winding roads that [supernaturally/providentially] lead us to the throne of God, our Creator, Lord, and Savior. Through our work, you and I can worship and serve the very Lord that saved us. That’s His will for our life, after all; to worship and serve Him with our everythingness and to love our neighbors.
At my work yesterday, I had the opportunity to have two key conversations about addiction recovery with a couple of guys who presently find themselves on opposite ends of the recovery teeter-totter. One recognized he had a problem but at this point isn’t able to move forward. He’d rather drink than have a roof over his head. The other guy celebrated his ninth day of sobriety. This provided me an opportunity to give God the glory for rescuing me from the mess my life had once become by sharing my recovery story with them.
A couple of days prior to this, I had the humbling privilege of preaching during our weekly church service and witnessing two other men give their lives to the Lord.
Had I not focused on combatting my stress—-mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual—through rediscovering my creative voice, I doubt I would have been in position to experience these pivotal moments in my journey with the Lord.
God’s goodness is amazing. He is SO faithful. I truly am BLESSED BY THE BEST!
I pray that over this weekend, you will have time to reflect on God’s goodness and recharge your spiritual batteries through attending live worship in person a local church near you.
May the Lord shine His love and light on you.
The Devotional Guy™
The Devotional Guy™ Rainer Bantau © 2023