Unless you are a stay at home parent, which is a full-time job with its own unique challenges, a huge portion of your life will most likely be spent in the work place. No matter how much you love your job, there will always be challengers in this area of life trying to steal your joy.
Sometimes our struggles at work our outside of our control. When this is the case, we must remember we can only control our responses to the people and challenges trying to steal our joy at work. Most of us think this first category is usually the problem, but in reality, many times we are the variable causing issues for ourselves.
Either way, thankfully the Bible gives us clear instructions on how to thrive in the workplace and find joy on the job. Here are five things you can to increase your joy at work.
1. To Find Joy at Work, We Must Respect Our Bosses
The majority of workplace complaints revolve around the boss. People cringe inside when they see an email from him sitting in their inbox. They roll their eyes when they see another missed call from her. When they get home, the first words out of their mouths are often a negative statement about their authority figures at work.
Respecting your boss is difficult for a variety of reasons. First off, leading is hard, and most people are not good at it. People want to be led well. So it’s easy to become angry at the boss. Additionally, even when your boss is a good leader, following leadership is as equally hard. Because of our sin nature, submission is not a natural response for us anymore. It doesn’t matter what the boss told you to do, a lot of times the anger towards your boss is that he simply has the power to tell you what to do.
If we hope to find joy in the workplace, we must learn to respect our bosses whether they deserve it or not. Respecting others is less about them and more about you. If you only respect those who never make mistakes, you will be a very disrespectful person. Respect doesn’t mean you follow directions mindlessly. If your boss is being cruel or unethical, follow the proper path of confronting these errors, but do everything in a respectful way.
If you can’t stand your boss, you won’t’ be able to stand your job for very long. Work on respecting authority, not taking shots at them behind their backs, and developing your own character even if your boss is deficient of her own. This is a sure way to increase your joy at work.
(Romans 13:1-14, Ephesians6:5-8, 1 Timothy 6:1-2)
2. Stay In Your Lane If You Want to Find More Joy at Work
Much like respecting your boss, to find more joy at work we must learn to stay in our own lanes. By this I mean we must have a clear definition of what our roles are and what are roles are not. So much inner turmoil is created because we look around our workplace and say something like, “That’s wrong. They should do it this way!”
When all you see is problems at work, it will be very difficult to find joy in the workplace. But what if there really are all kinds of poor policies, disorganization, and inefficient people at your job? You can try to find a better work environment, but many times your new workplace will have just as many issues, perhaps different, but issues nonetheless.
One of the best ways to produce more joy in your workplace is by owning your responsibilities and allowing other people to be responsible for their areas of authority, even if they are doing it wrong in your opinion. Sometimes we even need to ask our employers to make our work objectives clearer so we have a firm understanding of where our emotional, mental, and physical energy should and should not be spent.
(Colossians 3:23-24, Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 9:8).
3. Execute the Plan Given to You to Increase Your Joy
If leadership gives you a vision for your department or your job functions that you think it stupid, there is nothing wrong with respectfully stating your concerns. But after you do, problems arise if you continue to buck authority by ignoring their instructions. Ironically, you are only adding to the chaos that you are complaining about when you operate outside of your role at work.
If you are not invited to the board meetings, it is not your job to set vision. If it is not your role to tell others what to do, don’t do it. Stress occurs when we worry about things outside of our control. Anxiety and frustration are often created when we try to change things we have no business changing.
It’s helpful to realize that many times the plan is not the do-or-die variable in the equation of success. Rather, the execution of the plan is often the most important thing. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you do it this way or that way, it just matters that you do any plan the best way possible.
For example, if you work in a church but the head pastor’s vision for numerical growth is different than yours, you will never know if that plan would have worked if you never gave it a good shot with the best of your abilities.
If you learn to stay in your lane, do what you can do, and let people be responsible for their roles while you focus on yours, often times your work environment may stay the same but your attitude will be so much better. While it’s just as important to have boundaries between your work life and home life, it is equally as important to have boundaries around what you do and don’t do at work. When we stay in our lane, our stress decreases and our joy increases at work.
(Colossians 3:23-24, Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 9:8).
4. To Find Joy at Work, Obey God By Not Complaining or Gossiping
Whenever groups of people are formed, complaining and gossip will happen. Even if you work in a Christian environment, it is still all too easy to start daily conversations with, “I’m not trying to gossip, but did you hear about . . .” or “I’m not going to complain but . . . .”
The worst part of gossiping and complaining is the effect it has on your own soul. Not only are you making the environment more toxic for everyone else, you are also infecting your own inner state of being and mind.
Complaining is so damaging to our joy because it only puts a magnifying glass on the problems. It does not solve anything. Often times we work ourselves up so much by gossiping and complaining with others that we create problems that aren’t ever real, “Did you see how Jerry looked at me when I made that comment in staff meeting?” Perhaps Jerry meant nothing of it, but now you have judged his motives and are assuming the worst. It’s very difficult to find joy when we do this consistently at work.
(Matthew 5:22, Philippians 2:14-15, Proverbs 15:18, Proverbs 17:27-28)
5. Find Joy at Work By Glorifying God at Work
In closing, perhaps the most important piece of advice about finding more joy on the job and being happier in the workplace is to work on having the right motivation. If we don’t know why we are working hard, why we get up every day to be a good employee, and why we should be respectful even when others are not, we will not be able to do these things.
Ultimately, true joy is not tied to our external circumstances but to our willingness and ability in choosing to glorify God in every situation. If you can learn to glorify God at your workplace, regardless of the specific challenges you face, your joy will increase. Work is an important part of our human existence, but our hearts were not made to find joy in the workplace primarily but in God first and foremost.
(Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Philippians 4:11-13)