My pastor taught a sermon on work ethic yesterday. While God has transformed my work habits for the better over the past couple of years, there are definitely areas of improvement for me. Lately, I’ve been struggling with discontent in the workplace. I fantasize about how much happier, creative, and comfortable I’d be if I could start working for myself sometime around the year of… now.
It’s hard working a full time job, working extra to pay off debt, and then using the remainder of my energy to work on my dream. I can’t express to you (and maybe I don’t have to) how easy it is for me to get into negative self talk. Before I know it, I can’t get out of bed in the morning because I don’t want to face the day. My mandatory work appears uninspiring. It begins to seem tiresome and demanding. I get lazy just thinking about it and pull the comforter over my head.
The joy gets zapped from me and I just stop doing… everything. Laundry doesn’t get done, dinners don’t get made, codependency recovery slows, and I begin to do the minimum necessary to survive and keep my dogs thriving.
I believe this happens when I reject reality and focus in on a fantasy.
Fantasies always seem better than reality. There are no bad feelings in fantasy. No hardships. No one forces you to do anything. You only do what makes you happy in the moment. How can reality top that?
Fantasy vs reality continues to be my battle. Why? Because thanks be to God, He has allowed me to discover the full beauty of reality the adventure of a life lived to honor Him. Before, I just lived in my fantasy world. I didn’t know reality. I ignored it. I trudged through the present desperate for the hope of tomorrow. That’s why I’m a huge Springsteen fan. I’m “just around the corner to the light of day!”
Fantasies come from a desire to escape. We don’t like where we are or who we’re with or what we’re doing, so we escape reality by getting lost in the future. If I can just get this everything will be better. If I find someone like that then I’ll finally be able to feel safe and rested. If I didn’t have to do this then I’d be happier.
I’ve lived much of my life in misery because I didn’t stop and face the fact that I was running. Ultimately, when we push ourselves away from reality, we isolate ourselves from God in the process. When we face our misery and surrender it to God, we can walk in the light of God’s reality with a lifted spirit. Reality with God allows us to experience the joy of Him using us in ways we couldn’t have fantasized about.
A day with God is one of intrigue. How are You going to use me today? What do people need? Who am I going to meet? What will happen? It’s all a surprise! You think you know how your day is going to go, but you don’t. You think you know how the rest of the year is going to fold out, but you don’t! There’s comfort in that because we know that God is good and He will take care of everything.
When we wake up with a boring, defeated idea of how our day is going to go, we rob ourselves of the adventure.
Joseph in Genesis, found himself in some unpleasant realities. Before he was named second in command over Egypt, he was thrown into prison for 13 years! Now that is a reality I’d imagine it’d be easy to want to escape. This reality of his was nothing like the actual dream God had given him when he was younger of power and authority.
However, Genesis reminds us that the Lord was with him in his present circumstances. And isn’t that the point of life? To be with God? The greatest blessing of choosing reality over fantasy is to be in the presence of God. It was the favor and presence God put on Joseph that got him to a leadership position within the prison. Genesis 39:23 states, “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Even in the midst of awful circumstances, Joseph could experience a little heaven on earth.
Did you know you have favor with God?
It pleases Him to glorify Himself through you. We have the privilege of working for a higher power. We can turn any job into an adventure, because we know there is an eternal, solid purpose to what we do. Paul in 1 Corinthians told the church, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” He wanted the church to know that they weren’t going to work for money, for status, or for purpose. They were going to glorify God and hopefully share truth with lost souls. People need God and God cares about people. When we take our earthly work and see it from an eternal perspective, it gives life to what we do. It adds color and purpose and joy! We can see that relationships matter and how we work matters! We receive everything we need for the day from God. We see God move because we’re paying attention.
If you sense that you are running from reality and living in a fantasy, I encourage you to stop and reflect. Don’t live in an alternate world anymore. Surrender your pain to God and watch Him transform your view of reality.