Happiness at Work

IS it possible really to enjoy our work? Many people feel that what gives them happiness can differ greatly from what is expected of them in their job. We can, however, find greater happiness at work, as we recognize that happiness comes from understanding who we are rather than from exactly what we do. Our real individuality and being are formed by our enduring, spiritual relationship to God. All the spiritual qualities that make up man's real nature as God's child -- freedom, purity, joy, intelligence, and so forth -- come from God's being. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Man is the expression of God's being.'' She also writes, ``God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss.'' To the extent that we live these qualities, actually molding our thoughts and lives after the moral and spiritual model those spiritual qualities represent, we will feel the God-given happiness that is natural to man.

Genuine happiness can't really be heightened or dampened simply by exterior events. We can in fact take happiness to work with us every day, but we can't go there without it and expect to find it.

I saw this vividly in the years I spent teaching school. It was my first job, and I couldn't understand in the beginning why the same students and the same classroom seemed so full of life and joy one day but so dull and dreary the next.

At first I prayed to counteract the classroom dullness. Then I began to see that the problem wasn't in what I found at school but in what I brought with me to school. Fundamentally, it was my idea of man and of happiness that needed improvement.

At that point, I focused my prayer on a spiritual fact that I knew to be true from my study of Christian Science: happiness is something that can only be found in man's relationship to God. A light turned on when I began to understand this truth more deeply. And work has been better ever since.

Such a glimpse of spiritual reality changes our view of ourselves and our work. We no longer see ourselves as cut off from God, struggling to be happy. Instead, we find it by understanding the strength and continuity of our relation to God. ``Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can,'' Mrs. Eddy points out in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902.

If we're not putting our best efforts into our work, then we might well be missing the joy and satisfaction that is rightfully ours. Perhaps, this is a bit like Jesus' disciples who didn't know what to do after the crucifixion. They returned to fishing for fish, instead of being ``fishers of men'' as he had taught them. After being out all night, they had caught no fish.

In the morning, John's Gospel records, ``Jesus stood on the shore.'' Although the disciples didn't, at first, recognize him, they were willing to make one more effort and obey Christ Jesus' command, ``Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.'' They not only caught an abundance of fish; they then returned to the spiritual work of healing and teaching, which the Master's example had prepared them for.

In our own lives, focusing our attention on our genuine selfhood as man, ``the expression of God's being,'' and striving to put our expression of spiritual qualities first in our lives will help us bring happiness to the jobs we're doing. When we begin recognizing the spiritual fact of our own happiness each day, we'll surely see more of ``God's being'' in our work and begin finding happiness in the job we have right now.

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