“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go.” My song the morning I returned to work after nearly 20 years as a stay-at-home mom did not sound quite so cheerful. Are you planning to return to the workplace after ‘working’ at home for years? It’s a daunting prospect. Let me encourage you with a few reminders.
You Are Called
In Genesis, we see God’s creative genius. He brings the universe out of nothing and forms man from dust. Adam and God name all the animals giving Adam a deeper understanding of the vast work and creativity of God. Then God tells Adam to do likewise.
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28 ESV) We were made to imitate God, to create new widgets, to manufacture volumes of products, to solve complex problems, and to successfully manage and organize life on this planet.
You Are in a Partnership
We don’t re-enter the workforce alone.
God promises to go with us. He told a fearful Joshua to take the Promised Land because “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9b ESV) God is our refuge, our stronghold, always. We can boldly claim Ps. 27:1 MSG “With [God] on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.”
God provides all we need to do what he calls us to do.
God clothes the lilies of the field and cares for the birds of the air. He’s our Provider. We have wonderful promises like Phil. 4:19 ESV, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” He also delights in giving us wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (Jas. 1:5 ESV)
We partner with him through prayer.
In Isaiah, the Lord says, “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Is. 65:24 ESV) Do you believe God has begun forming the solution before you called on him? Years ago my husband visited a small factory in rural Texas. He returned home thinking he had wasted his time. Later, as he developed a new product, he said, “I saw the machines that can make this product. They were in that little factory in Texas!” God had begun to provide a solution long before my husband had the need.
We ultimately work for our loving Heavenly Father.
He is not only a good boss and a faithful partner but also a Father who works all things together for our good. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17 ESV) Will we make mistakes? Sure, but God is in the resurrection business; he can even weave those things into good in the end. (See Rom. 8: 28-29)
You Are Prepared
You are not going back to work; you are working in a new context. But all the work you did at home – managing a household, rearing and relating to children of varied personalities, serving on committees, volunteering with non-profit organizations – gave you valuable experience you bring to the new environment. My work AT home prepared me for my work OUTSIDE my home. Organization and communication skills, strong work ethic, attention to detail, all honed at home, became my best tools in the office. And my managers appreciated that experience, too.
You can educate employees about their industry and train them to use office tools, but it’s difficult, nearly impossible, to teach people the soft skills believers learn at the feet of Jesus. Humility, self-control, wisdom, and more, all available to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, become the gifts we bring into the workplace.
Prov. 3:5, 6 assures us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways (at home, in the workplace) acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (ESV) So “whistle while you work,” it’s going to be a great day!
-Written by Sandy Carter