After I graduated from college, I started working for a company that provides IT consulting services to government organizations. I still work for this company, and I’ve finally become comfortable in my work environment. But the main thing I haven’t yet gotten used to is the worldliness of my workplace. Although I don’t know my coworkers super well, I’ve observed that they have very different lifestyles than mine. We don’t share the same values or priorities, which makes it hard to relate to them. However, over the past year of working in a worldly workplace, I’ve learned several invaluable lessons that I hope will encourage you as you navigate your own worldly workplace.
REMINDERS FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN IN A WORLDLY WORKPLACE
1. Use this job as an opportunity.
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. God is with us wherever we go, including our workplaces. He knows the challenges and temptations that are present in a worldly workplace, but He has placed you there for a reason. Consider why He has you in your workplace and how you can fulfill your purpose there.
Paul encouraged the Ephesians by writing,
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them…. everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light…. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Eph. 5:8–11,13,15–16).
2. Be consistent.
Non-Christians can do good things, like show kindness or lend a helping hand. However, as believers, we have to follow our convictions on a consistent basis, not just when we feel like it. Personally, that means I can’t drink with my coworkers. God has given me this conviction, and I have to stand by it. In a worldly workplace, your coworkers can observe your good behavior and your bad behavior. And, unfortunately, inconsistency can be a major turnoff.
Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col. 4:5–6).
3. Stay connected to other believers.
It’s easy to feel lonely in a worldly workplace because it’s full of people whose life choices are so different than ours. They think differently, speak differently, and act differently. They can be hard to relate to, which makes forming relationships with them difficult. That’s exactly why we have to prioritize the time we spend with other believers. Because there aren’t many Christians in my workplace, it’s so important for me to spend time with Christians outside my workplace. After a long day or a long week at work, I don’t always feel like being with people, but that connection with other believers is exactly what I need.
Paul emphasized the body of Christ when he wrote, “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:15–16).
4. Ask God for strength.
Honestly, I need to take my own advice here, because I neglect to ask God to strengthen me as I navigate my worldly workplace. We often focus so much on getting through the workday that we neglect to ask God to strengthen us as we do it. But He wants to encourage our hearts, and it’s always a good time to ask Him to do exactly that. He can use prayer, the Bible, worship, other Christians, and other avenues to provide the encouragement you need in your worldly workplace.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Thessalonians, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thess. 2:16–17).
5. Remember that you have the option to leave.
I actually had a different job for four months between the time I graduated from college and the time I got my current job, but those four months were horrible due to a toxic work environment. I didn’t really have a workplace, as I worked remotely for the majority of those four months. However, my virtual work environment proved to be quite toxic—scary, really. That’s when I knew I had to quit. Within a week of quitting that job, God provided a new job for me (which I still have). Through that experience, I learned it’s okay to not stay in a job. It’s okay to not trudge through a toxic work environment day after day. Be open to God’s leading to stay or to leave your current worldly workplace—because you can be a light wherever He leads you.
Jesus taught, “‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot…. let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’” (Matt. 5:13,16).
I hope these reminders encourage you as you navigate your worldly workplace. I know from personal experience how hard it is to work in an environment where Jesus isn’t glorified. However, I also know from personal experience that your workplace holds many unique opportunities to point non-Christians to Christ. With the direction of the Holy Spirit, I believe we can navigate our worldly workplaces with grace and strength.