I think one problem I had when I was working was that I seeked the approval of my bosses and colleagues. I worked hard and when I was praised for a good job, naturally I felt validated and ny mood was good. But on some bad days when things weren’t going well my mood took a nosedive. So in that sense, my feelings of self-worth and mood were dependent on these external factors.
I was insecure. I wanted the praise and approval of people. Maybe it had a little to do with self-esteem too. I worked really hard, and put myself under so much stress that my body revolted. I had hair loss and acne outbreaks.
After that, I stopped to reflect. Why was I so stressed? Why does my mood swing up and down? I came to the conclusion that I was placing the approval of people above the approval of God. I think I was insecure too because I wasn’t confident or sure of my identity in Christ. When we are insecure, we depend on the praise and approval of people to validate us.
We are to work as unto the Lord, not unto men, but what does that mean practically? To me it means to work, knowing your true identity in Christ : you’re a child of God, saved, redeemed, precious in his sight, loved, accepted. And all these will never change from day to day based on our performance. God is so amazingly full of grace, to give us all we don’t deserve and to love us unconditionally.
Henceforth, I worked in a new way. I no longer did it for the sake of gaining the approval or praise of my bosses or colleagues. Furthermore, my mood improved too because even if things went sour at work, I kept reminding myself of who I truly am in Christ. And my identity in Christ will never change based on circumstances.
Our work alone should not define us. So often we say, I’m a lawyer, or I’m a doctor, or insurance agent, or pastor, etc. We let our work define who we are. But it should not. Because if we were to lose our jobs, then does it mean we’ve lost our identity? Hence our identity must stay rooted and centered on who we are in Christ.