As I continue to reflect on my faith journey, I have come to realize that God has always been in control and here I thought I had my hands on the wheel of life…bad things happen to everybody. We all experience that moment of “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that, that is terrible” either something bad happens directly to us or to someone we care about or to a complete stranger. We also all experience the “Why doesn’t anything go my way?” feeling at one time or another.
Here is what I have learned…the key to these moments is your perspective. The more you think about “me” or “I” or “how this or that affects me” the more you may feel bad or negative about things. Trying to focus more on how what has happened affects “him” or “her” or “them” and what can I do to help and support him or her or them will not only help others but also will help how you feel. This is not an easy transition and just like faith you never completely finish working this part of life.
An example to demonstrate…
When I graduated from college there was nothing available in my field in business. I worked in restaurants while continuing to search for a position in my chosen major, Human Resources. This went on for 10 years before the first opportunity to work in my field presented itself as I was able to make more money in restaurant operations positions than in Human Resources. Finally, a chance was presented and I was able to able to start my career. I have spent the last 11 years working in my chosen field.
Here is what God was doing while I was focusing on “my career”…
In my first restaurant job after college he brought the woman I was going to marry and am still married to today into my life. Early in our marriage when we moved to CO for a job for me he blessed us with our first child. When we moved home to MN he led my wife and I to our church that we still attend now. He also placed me in a job next to a Christian college that broadcasts a Christian radio station that I have listened to for the last 15 years. He continues to guide and grow my faith and my family in many ways which I can only see if I am focusing on God and my relationship with him and others instead of myself.
The time period in my life described above is the same number of years…in both descriptions the only difference is the perspective of events. If I choose to focus only on my work it is not very fulfilling or rewarding, in fact it is frustrating. I now try to look at work through this perspective:
“Scripture adds a purely benevolent purpose to work: to earn money to provide for our needs and the needs of our families and then to give it away to others. The overwhelming thrust of the Scriptures is that as God sees fit to prosper us, our abundance should begin to spill over and start benefiting others who, for a variety of reasons, are in need.”
-Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, Men’s Devotional Bible
What ways can you start to change your perspective and try to find balance between focus on self and focus on others?