Few things occupy more time and attention in a human life than work. It can be a source of joy or frustration, fear or fulfillment, reward or disappointment.
I have been doing some hard thinking about work lately - praying, really - examining the question of whom or what I really work for, and what that means to me.
As a result, I've come to think that there is one relationship in my life (or anyone's, as I see it) that is superior to all others - the relationship with the Divine. In this light, all the relationships we have with others - individuals, organizations, or whatever - are only outcroppings, or manifestations, of the relationship with the Divine.
So the fact is, I work only for God. He's my boss, my employer; I'm His-Her "direct report."
Then I thought about what an ideal relationship with one's employer would be like, because certainly one's relationship with an all-powerful God would be an ideal relationship. I realized that I would receive from it - rather than from some human, some material organization, or from myself - things such as these:
• Authority (including its limits and extent).
• Authorization to take action.
• Vision of what the "organization" - which I guess is all being, life, existence, humanity, etc. - is to become.
• Principles and ethics that govern behavior.
• Funding and resources.
And this ideal boss/employee relationship is present, totally real, and constantly active, if I would just be still and pay attention to it. I am, in reality, in constant oneness with my true employer, and I am the outcome or emanation of His intentions. I can't be anything else.
This has helped me a lot. It shrinks the towering sense of responsibility to a particular human organization and/or boss, with all the complications that may exist in either of those, down to a much smaller and more approachable size. I have even begun to think about the human organization and human boss as not ultimate power and reality, but a sort of mannequin or representation that appears to be real, when in fact what determines reality is spiritual and eternal and perfect.
It has felt great to free myself from the limitations of that shell by realizing that I am intimately and permanently engaged with an infinite employer and organization. It makes me less afraid about what may happen to the organization and more confident that I will always be in the right place, doing the right things, because that is my constant desire, and because my boss knows my desire and guides it properly.
Flowing out of that have come some further realizations: that my boss is constantly providing opportunities for my learning and growth. That any difficult situation at work is actually one of those opportunities. That I work for this boss all the time, not just when I'm on the job. That the work I do for this boss must have some significance or import for all of humanity, even if only in small ways. And that no ways are actually small.
So my will, my fears, and my ideas about what is the "right" or the "only" way to do things, have shrunk into comfortable insignificance. I'm saying to my real, spiritual boss - as Paul did in the Bible after being blinded by the light of Christ on the road to Damascus - "What wilt thou have me to do?"
And in all of this, I'm finding a new sense of peace and freedom in my work and my life. Maybe you can, too.
Cause me to know
the way wherein
I should walk;
for I lift up my soul