Sunday, September 17, 2006

This came across one of the writing loops I'm on. Just so you know, I didn't write it, but the content resonated with me. I hope it speaks to someone out there today and brings encouragement.



Work is tough, full of disappointments-and that is true even of work that manypeople envy, such as my own.I have never understood why people consider writing to be a glamorous career.To succeed as a writer, you need the constitution to stare at a computer screen fordays on end, trying to craft a few pages that someone will read in five minutes on anairplane. You need a skin thick enough to not flinch when editors take your best effortsand casually clean them, cutting off the head and pulling out the guts. You need thedoggedness to take blunt rejection and try again . and again, and again.Other kinds of work are tough too, I know. Farmers play poker with the weatherand the bugs. Salesmen treat customers like friends and in return get treated like slime.And should I mention the restaurant business?

Earlier this year, I went through a time of great frustration in my job. It was partlydue to fatigue, I think. We'd had some deaths in my family, which left me worn down.And then I went through a patch where nothing I did seemed right. I proposed projectswhich got shot down, and when I wrote on assignment, editors scraped away at my proseuntil only scraps were left. That's normal, part of the process, but I felt frustratedand unappreciated.I had to go back and relearn the right attitudes.I need the right attitude to work hour to hour and long term.Hour by hour, it's simple: do the work. I had to stick my rear in my chair and not getup until I had finished a major chunk of work. That meant resisting distractions fromphone calls and emails and news reports.If you don't stick to it hour to hour, your discouragement will build. But if you workhard in the short term, you'll accomplish something. You'll find the work itself meaningful-and there's a good possibility your failures will turn around. That happened to me.

Long term, I had to remember why I was working in the first place. I had to believein my vocation all over again. In the deepest sense, I needed to know that I do the workbecause God wants me to do it.Why are you in your job? Maybe you're there to fulfill a special gift. Maybe you'rethere to make a living for your family. Maybe you're there because the work needs to bedone for the good of society.

To overcome discouragement, you need an attitude thattakes the focus off your sense of frustration. You need to remember why your work is valid.You need to remember that God is behind it.Both these attitudes, long term and short term, reflect what Paul wrote to thePhilippians: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." He goes on todescribe how Jesus became a humble servant, obedient even to the point ofdeath (Phil. 2:5-8).Hour by hour, a servant's focus is very limited. Servants listen for directions, andthey do exactly what their boss expects. In the longer term, servants know why theyare working: because they have a master who has called them to service.We are meant to be servants of God.Listen to your Boss, he'll tell you what to do. Believe in your vocation because youknow who called you to it. And do your work because God is behind it.

By Tim Stafford Copyright ? 2001 - 2006 H. E. Butt Foundation. All rights reserved.Received from: Faith in the Workplace


Kaye Dacus said...

Congratulations on winning the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category in the Genesis contest! I'm just sorry we didn't have a chance to really meet and talk.

Good job!

Cathy West said...

Ditto! Congratulations!
It was so lovely to meet you in person over lunch. You gave me a lot of good advice. Thanks so much for all you shared with me! I look forward to seeing you again next year.