“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
― Steve Maraboli,
You were set aside for greatness. Very few people believe that to be true. Sometimes life experiences, bad worldviews and a misunderstanding about reality paint a different picture of our lives, and our future. What we think about ourselves matters most, especially concerning what we will accomplish in life and the workplace.
A Crisis in our Workplace
There is something very wrong with our workplace culture today. People look at work not as opportunity or mission but rather as a necessary evil to stay alive. Work ethic seems to be at an all-time low as people struggle to find a worthy endeavor to leverage their efforts. There are many opposing ideas out there telling us that our efforts won’t really matter much, our dreams likely won’t come true no matter what we do.
There seems to be a sense of hopelessness. It’s not that there are not opportunities, businesses are hiring all over the place. Rather it seems to many there are fewer good opportunities being offered. The key words here “being offered”.
James Harter (cbs.com) says -” Of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees, 51 percent aren’t engaged at work — meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs, and thus they tend to do the bare minimum. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged” — they resent their jobs, tend to gripe to co-workers and drag down office morale as a result.”
People feel stuck, like their options have been limited. For many, what once was a healthy ambition to do something they love, has turned out to be a surrendering, a conforming to the mediocre means. Our circumstances have shackled many of us and left us with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, so it seems.
I have also noticed that there are a greater number of people in the marketplace who not only fail to see the future as a place to capitalize on accumulated experience and success, rather a place of darker and more cynical circumstances than the present or past. I think this tends to be based on their perception of depreciating opportunities down the road. As we age, we anticipate diminishing physical and mental skills, but more so we fear falling behind the cultural and technological curve. It’s like the tractor pull effect, the further you go, the more resistance increases, until you eventually become incapable of maintaining and come to a screeching halt. So many people don’t see any future of retirement or health benefits available to them and they fear how that will play out.
“Blending in” as a Value
We find a sense of comfort in blending in with others around us. We all long for fellowship with relationships with our fellow man and are willing to compromise much to get it. It is so much easier to join the crowd, go wherever they go and value what they value. We experience little resistance from others when we stick to cultural trends and speak the language. In the land of complainers, complaining is the highest form of expression. Is it any wonder so many people are slave to their surroundings, slave to the path of least resistance, and slave to the imaginary fences that are their circumstances? You will never have to be alone if you choose that path. Ever heard the expression “misery loves company”?
Sometimes we sell out to blend in, and have peace with our surroundings, only to wage war against our very soul that wishes to escape and be free.
Surrendering your Power
When we come to rely on everyone else to present us opportunities for our financial and professional needs, we give all power to everyone else to have our needs met. We become dependent on our surroundings to provide for us. Dependency on others becomes the constant theme in our lives. Blame becomes our mantra, when the people and environment we depend on let us down. This is the essence of victim thinking.
If you do not determine your priorities for your life, someone else will. And believe it or not, they may not have your best interest in mind.
Our circumstances are always temporary, unless you choose to make them permanent by giving your power away. We need to stop putting our future in the hands of everyone else and the circumstances they create for us, and embrace our future as 100% our sole responsibility. Why should you allow others to put a lid on your potential?
So Where is the Hope?
Titus 3:4-7 NIV “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Washed to be Set Apart
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are washed and experience rebirth by the Holy Spirit. We are sanctified or ‘set apart’ for a great mission that includes your whole being.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
If you are not a person of faith, the process is still similar in the workplace (but more difficult and not eternal). Your hope is to change, to be different, to let go or separate yourself from the patterns that you have embraced, and the excuses that are holding you back and keeping you from being effective.
Sanctification is to be set apart, reserved for something. This is the opposite of blending in or status quo.
2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate”, says the Lord.
God doesn’t necessarily set us apart or change our external circumstances, although he may (see Jonah). He changes us internally so we can grow and change our own circumstances and help others with theirs. It’s not about changing where we are. The grass isn’t any greener if you take your troubles with you. It’s about a change in who we are, by choosing.
Step Up and Stand Out
When we allow, Christ do direct our inner being, we are no longer controlled by, or dependent on the people around us, or our circumstances. Our true opportunities come when a seed of grace is planted in our hearts by our savior. This seed creates a burden based on compassion and conviction. It then turns into vision, vision seeks out opportunities to step up and stand out to lead the charge to better ourselves. It inspires us to better our environment, and improve circumstances for everyone. If no such burden exists, you may want to examine your current ideas and beliefs about the world, and reconsider them considering a grander picture. They may not be adequate to bring about a life of significance.
I dare you to step up to the calling that God has created you for, and be willing to stand out among your peers as one set apart for great works of service. Get up off your couch, turn the TV off, and do something great for someone!