Helpless on the job?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I had a hard time communicating with the president of the company I was working for. We couldn't get on the same page, no matter what I did.

One day I accidentally overheard him trashing me to my immediate superior. He really ran me into the dirt. His comments were unfair and inaccurate. But if the president felt that way, there was nothing I could do.

Or maybe there was. When I got off work, I prayed earnestly. Not to hang on to the job - I figured that was gone. But even if I was there for only 20 more minutes, I wanted it to be time spent not trying to please someone but rather recognizing in this job the presence, the nature, the goodness, of God - and expressing in my performance all that I was recognizing in prayer.

If I was going to take the Bible seriously, I had to admit that God had chosen me, as He has chosen each and every one of us, to be His. So it seemed logical that if God chose me, He knew what He was doing. I was up to the task.

A few days after that, I was told the president wanted me in his office.

"This is it," I thought. "I'm out of work."

I went in to speak with him. He offered me a major promotion. At first I was nearly speechless. But I took it. And from then on we got on fine.

That same day, I went back to my immediate superior and asked him what had changed the president's mind so dramatically. He wondered the same thing. When the two of them had reviewed who should be promoted, the president had said he wanted me. Naturally, my superior asked him about his recent critical comments. Apparently the president did not even remember making them. They were as nothing. My "witnessing" to God was what had counted, what had shaped the outcome.

I tend to link this episode to a passage from Isaiah, which in a way gives the perfect job description for each of us: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (43:10). Think of that. This verse is presented in God's own voice. And look at what He tells us about our true employment. Our job is to be a witness to God, to the Being who is divine Mind, infinite Spirit, eternal Love. He has chosen us. And His estimate of us, of our ability and accomplishment, is what counts. As we truly realize this, something great happens. Any measure someone else makes of us either conforms to that of God, or it doesn't really have power over us. To put it another way, God has the last word on how we're doing. (He also has the first word.)

But sometimes other words push in. Thoughts such as, "The boss doesn't like me." "I have the wrong training." "My age is blocking my advancement." These are mental suggestions. But they never come from God or from our own thought. They come from what the Bible calls "the carnal mind" - which can be quieted through prayer. Then we hear again, "Ye are my witnesses."

God doesn't say something to us just once. His messages are constant. We don't have to get God to speak. We don't even have to get Him to speak louder. We simply need to tune in and follow. That's when fears and concerns begin to quiet - when uncertainty fades out and confidence becomes the norm, and we intuitively know where we can do the most good in the workplace. Then our contribution doesn't go unrecognized or unrewarded, because we are witnessing to the truth that God is both the source and witness to our true worth.

The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of getting a higher view of oneself as "a living witness to and perpetual idea of inexhaustible good" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 83). And that good is God Himself. We can start understanding ourselves in this light, and so continue the work of witnessing to inexhaustible good. We can find employment issues tending to sort themselves out in positive ways. We can feel both good and secure about the contribution we're making.

The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine, contains in-depth articles about God's power.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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