Christian Business

Are Healthy Workplaces A Myth?

How do you deal with workplace stress?

Perhaps, I should start with this – do you deal with workplace stress?

By dealing, I don’t mean trying to rest it away or fighting for a few days off to relieve the pressure that’s built up.

I also don’t mean just quitting the stressful project/job because that doesn’t guarantee that whatever tension you had accumulated up and until that point will magically go away.

I mean, actually evaluating the source of your stress as well as the impact it has had on you and finding healthy ways to address it.

Toxic workplaces and work cultures are such an unfortunately common occurrence that we’ve accepted them as status quo and told ourselves that’s just the way it is. We grind our teeth, dig in deep and do what we need to do to get the pay check at the end of the month.

I used to work in a high pressure industry where a best case scenario is people drowning their issues in alcohol and/or recreational drugs; at worst, the harsh reality of suicide hits very close to home. In between, there’s a trail of broken people and broken relationships.

In those moments, I realized how truly blessed I was as a believer to have the Holy Spirit as a Counsellor who represented the Prince of Peace in my life. Half my prayer time would often end up being a divine therapy session.

If we’re to be honest with ourselves, many of workplaces are not doing well.

We’re also not doing well either.

Given how much of our time, effort and being goes into work every week, when our work lives suffer, our home lives are unlikely to prosper. There’s no magical switch between the two that makes one okay when the other is not. They’re environments that feed into each other and from each other.

When you’re caught up in the rut of survival, it’s easy to fall into the lull of acceptance that things will never change. Because hoping for something different simultaneously means having to deal with the disappointment of a reality that crushes your expectations.

But what then is the good of having God in our lives as believers if we are just going to muddle along in survival mode as everybody else?

Shouldn’t having God in our midst have some impact, at the very least in our lives, if not the lives of those around us?

I can’t prescribe a one-size fits all solution to make our work lives and workplaces better. While I firmly believe all the answers are centred in Christ, they will take on different expressions for different people and contexts.

But this is where I think we can all begin:

 

1. Get to know the God of the marketplace

For many believers, God is only relevant in their church life and to some degree their home life. But we’ve inadvertently ignored His presence in our work lives. We need a reintroduction of who God is in the marketplace. We need to make use of the Holy Spirit who is our ever present Help.

Take action: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you get to know Him in the context of the workplace. Be intentional this week in talking to Him about everything happening in your workplace – big and small, good and difficult – and take heed of His leading.

 

 

2. Understand who and why we are

One of the reasons we started Kairos was the realization of just how many believers either don’t know and/or don’t understanding God’s purpose for them in the marketplace. A fish trying to climb a tree can only end up frustrated; not because it’s inadequate but because that was never what it was created for in the first place. You need to be the right person, in the right position, in the right season. If any of these is out of sync, struggle and stress are inevitable.

Take action: Ask God if you are the right person, in the right position for this season. If so, find out from Him what He expects of you and how you can partner with Him. If you need some extra help, check out our store resources which are centred on this.

 

3. Establish a spiritual support system

Just because you’re where God wants you to be doesn’t mean you won’t experience challenges. We’re not called to be maverick lone rangers as Christians – it makes us easy targets for the enemy of our souls.

Take action: Make use of your spiritual support system. Be intentional in sharing your workplace joys and worries and asking for encouragement and support where you need it. If you don’t have a support system, ask the Lord to help you create one by leading you to the right people. If need be, there is no shame in seeking professional counselling services.

 

4. Remember our journey is both spiritual and physical

When you’re in a workplace surrounded by people of various belief and non-belief systems it’s easy to forget this reality of Christianity. We are in this world but not of it. There is a spiritual parallel to everything that happens in our workplaces and work lives.

Take action: Ask God to reveal to you the spiritual realities of your work environment and give you wisdom on how to deal with them in prayer. Invite your support system to partner with you in prayer. Only matters established in prayer can be made manifest in the natural realm.

 

5. Do something fun! 

When was the last time you did something purely for the joy and fun of it? Our joy as Christians is as much a testimony to the goodness of God as our perseverance.

Take action: Find a way to make this happen sooner rather than later; as a regular thing not a one-off. Your future self will thank you for it.

 

Breathe and be thankful. A difficult moment or even season is not a bad life. Let God guide you into the paths that will fully glorify Him as they fully satisfy you.

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Life Givers

This gate is centered on those who deal with the business of life – both physical and spiritual. Many of them fall in the five-fold ministries (apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers & evangelists), the medical profession and those who play a critical supporting role to them.

“We’re travelers here,

Only passing through,

And every breath we breathe is coming back to you.

We’re strangers here,

I know it’s true,

That death is just a door that leads us home to You.”

– Steffany Gretzinger (All That Lives Forever)

I’ve been thinking about all the things concerning life I could write about.

About those who care for our spirits and souls through ministry and those who care for our souls and bodies through medicine.

And there’s much I could say about these things. It’s likely I will someday.

But the thing we rarely talk about concerning life – the thing we need to talk about – is death.

We don’t think about it unless some misfortune makes its way past our mental comfort barriers and brings it to our attention.

We don’t talk about it unless we awkwardly must.

We don’t deal with it unless we painfully must.

We actively avoid death and all its cohorts like our lives depend on it.

We avoid it perhaps because we’re terrified of it. But our avoidance of it only serves to increase our terror of it. Yet the one guarantee we have in life – is death. Though try we may, it’s inescapable.

For death isn’t the extreme opposite of life as we often think of it.

It’s an integral part of life, more so as believers.

Upon His resurrection, Jesus emerges victorious with two sets of keys – one set is the keys to hell. But the other – is the keys to death. Keys are symbolic of access, power and authority; whoever holds the key, has dominion.

Since Jesus has the keys to death – has dominion over death – we too, His beloved commissioned ones, have the keys and dominion over death.

So why do we still cower in fear of a shadow long defeated?

Shadows abound where light fails to shine bright.

We need to shine the light of truth on the shadow of death.

“From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

– Proverbs 18:20-21 ESV

We greatly underestimate the power of our speech and our silence when in truth we have power over life and death. Consider for a moment, the words you’ve spoken/written thus far today and the impact they’ve had on the people and/or situations that received them. Consider your moments of silence and the impact of the same. You wield more power in your tongue than you give yourself credit for. Remember – you’re made in the image of a Creator who spoke the world into existence.

The most common understanding of death is physical demise. Most of us have experienced this in some measure through the loss of a loved one. All of us will experience this someday when our time on earth is done.

Our view of life on earth lends to our view of death. Do we consider our lives on earth as the highlight reel of all we’ll ever get to experience as human beings or just one of many beautiful frames of our eternal existence? If we really do believe in eternal life aka life after death, then we must ask ourselves why we treat death as though it is the utter end and has the final say on our lives.

Just as birth is the door that leads us from eternity into time (on earth), death is the door that leads us out of time back into eternity. It is nothing more than a point of transition from one form of existence to another.

The other form of death is spiritual – lack of fruitfulness and vitality in an area of our lives. This can be caused by a variety of things in the present – ignorance, choices made by you, choices made by others that affect you, etc – or in the past – it’s not just the good stuff that is passed down generations. Decisions and decrees from somewhere along your lineage can bind you in the present day.

Spiritual death is like cancer. Though it begins in one area of your life, it doesn’t remain there. Unless contained and addressed, it spreads far and wide like a ravaging wild fire. So what may have started as an issue of bitterness and anger can end up as financial ruin.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace….For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

 –  Romans 8:5,6,13 ESV

Sometimes death is necessary.

There are things in us that need to die.

There are things in those we love that need to die.

There are things in those and that which God has placed in our stewardship that need to die.

There are things in our collective lives that need to die.

They need to die that we might live.

We need to let them die – decree death over them and bury them if we must – that we may live.

We can’t afford to have a place in our lives for anything that causes us to not live in the abundance God desires for us.

This is a difficult trade-off for many because the choice is often not between good and bad/evil but between good and God; between what you think will work for you and what God knows for sure will work better. It comes down to a question of whether you trust yourself or God more.

Understanding death in whatever measure – big or small – doesn’t take away the reality of loss and the need to grieve. That Jesus wept for Lazarus even knowing full well he would rise again should give us pause. We need to let people grieve. We need to let ourselves grieve. Whatever shape or form it takes in the presence of God, we need to go through the journey of loss and letting go.

We need to go through it, but we cannot afford to build a permanent dwelling place in it. For it would mean that we have given death permission to define our lives in a way it was never meant to. Our grief must always be undergirded by the truth of who God still is us and who we still are in Him even in death.

As with everything under the sun, death has its time and season. It has its place.

If we are in tune with the heart and mind of God, then we will know when it is time for life and when it is time for death. We will know when to speak life and when to decree death. We will know when to lay dry bones to rest and when to command them to live again. We will know when to disregard pronouncements of life full of good intention but devoid of God’s purpose for any promise of life outside His presence can only result in ultimate death devoid of purpose; and we will know when to stop death in its tracks when it is spoken over us by broken people who don’t know any better.

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness….Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

– Matthew 10: 1, 8 ESV

I believe this call is as relevant today as it was then. The same Jesus who called the twelve calls on us today. The same Spirit who found a dwelling place among men and women during the Pentecost and enabled them to do the work Christ had set for them dwells in us to help us do the same.

If you knew with every fibre of your being that you carried the power of life and death in you, how would you live your life?

Go live that way.

Because you do.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂