The title above is derived from what my mom has, and still does frequently tell me: “Andrew, you’re a piece of work!” She has never been wrong about that. But anyway, here I go.
Work is always an interesting ordeal.
It’s something I struggle with tremendously, not so much in a way where I don’t want to do any work altogether, although that was its original manifestation. Rather, in a way where I want my work to have some sort of meaning to it.
I understand this is quite a struggle particularly for millenials. We always want there to be deeper, realer meanings in everything we do. Ultimately, the attitude output is frustration, even in my case where it could easily appear as indifference.
Back in the days when I was a new, still ignorant Christian, my idea of work was rather ecclesiastical, i.e. a “life is meaningless” sort of philosophy. I perceived nothing I did as having a particularly profound meaning in my life. I had never been motivated by tasks I considered trivial, as if for whatever reason I was already greater than my own work, or maybe it was that I never felt adequately challenged (I promise I’m not flaunting my intelligence, and I actually think of myself as quite the opposite). I never felt I was doing anything great in any of my work, probably the entire time I had been working. Back when I was at a Starbucks, people were all like “you work at a Starbucks?! Awesome!” while I didn’t consider it worth mentioning, much like everything else I did in my life. This has caused great struggles in my life that could easily have been averted, but were necessary for my development, particularly spiritually. For those of you who are taught/have learned this early, I envy you greatly.
Working in a church has helped immensely with this struggle. I see all the background work, all the preparation that goes into running this thing. Easily 90% of the work is the most tedious stuff of your life, and 10% is actual ministry. Sure, this could ruin the dream of entering ministry for those of you who care so much to see the meaning of your work, like me. However, I actually really love what I do at my church. It does help that I am at a church with quite some momentum behind it, but I see the preparation work that leads to Sunday service, and then I see it come into fruition.
Although I have made great strides in this struggle, it has a different manifestation now.
I am aware now that I am making an impact. However, this has to be told to me in order for me to realize it. Part of this is because I am very self-absorbed, and as a result, completely oblivious. The other facet of this is that I really don’t think of anything I do as important. A weird combination, I know. If I change someone’s life (a BIG if), I don’t notice it until quite a while later. And usually I’m not even trying to do anything at all. My smile is the biggest example of this (to understand that better, read my previous post on here).
And it drives me absolutely crazy.
Because of this, though only in part since there are many contributing factors to this, I doubt myself severely, more than any of you could combined probably. It also makes me feel alone and unnoticed, even misunderstood. Other things come from it I imagine, and I’ll get back to you when I notice those. There is, like with any struggle, an answer to fix it. One that can be comprehended easily. I will not have the best answer for the time being, since I’m still working on this, but here’s what I have so far.
Do or do not. There is no try.
Okay, maybe I stole it from Yoda, but this helps me with my work. In many work oriented situations we become quickly overwhelmed, leading to panic. When this happens, our only choice is to do what is required of us. The more you think about it, the more it will hinder you in moments of crisis (which is more so what the “no try” means here). Ultimately whether we do it or don’t do it will lead us to more great steps in life, or less.
This works in our walks with God as well. We either obey or disobey everything He tells us to do. There is no trying to obey, because that usually ends in succeeding to disobey. Obedience is the first requirement to living a Christian life, and the one most frequently commanded of us.
God wants us to work. He wants us to do everything at the best possible amount which we are capable of doing it. However, we must also remember how incapable we are at anything without God. Work your 100%, and always involve God in your work somehow. Or perhaps you can believe that I am not the best, and am likely the worst , person to get advice on how your attitude in wherever your workplace is should be.
After all, I’m a piece of work. Just ask my mother.