Influenced by Faith: 6 Values I Strive to Live By at Work

My values for work and my work ethic have been influenced by many,

some through direct experience and demonstration by great and horrible bosses, and others through minds in books: Ernest Hemingway on the attractiveness and persuasiveness of brevity; Ray Dalio on embracing the natural bents, strengths, and weaknesses of others, Shane Parrish on the many mental models I could employ to make smarter decisions, and Marcus Aurelius’ father on how to treat your co-workers, to name a few.

I give credit to the Bible for most of the underlying values in work I’ve cultivated in my professional life; They are things I strive to abide by and commit to at the age of 28.


Here are some lessons I learned from the Bible on how to live as a Christian in work:


Rest and relaxation must become a familiar presence in your life. 

Having work physically, emotionally and mentally consume one’s life and identity is against the character of a Christian life.

As a Christian, participating in the Sabbath is an act of obedience, a reminder for me that I am not a slave beholden to my work (“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12)), and a demonstration that I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I say I believe God is sovereign, at the center of my life and my purpose for being.

It’s also an healthy act of rest: to rejuvenate, restore, and re-center myself in the things that matter most to me in life.

So, we keep the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14):


Listen and actively seek and embrace guidance and counsel from others.

Be humble and open minded in the counsel and feedback of others.

Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Proverbs 24:6 on being a wise and successful king: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.

What these verses do not imply is to accept the guidance of anyone, or to always embrace the guidance of close counsel. They simply state the value of taking into deep consideration the counsel of one’s advisors. Who do you see as an advisor in your life? Hopefully someone close, who reflects principles and values you respect, and someone you trust and respect.

Despite demonstrated differences in values, principles, and/or opinion, have respect for and be respectful of placed authority.

It is important to show a level of respect to those placed in specific positions as they have been “elected” and placed there by people, whether it be by the board of your company, or by your nation’s people. (Romans 13)

While I struggle with showing deep admiration for someone when his/her principles are at odds with mine, regardless of position, I learned that is different from being able to show thoughtfulness and respect for the dignity and position of another.

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, has also savvily quipped once: “you can disagree without saying anything.”


Engage in and pursue work that has purpose and meaning.

Being involved in work that is “beneficial,” “constructive,” or benefiting the “good of others” is in close character with Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:23


Celebrate and compliment your colleagues’ strengths and accomplishments. Mentor your juniors; actively give credit to them.

Lift up your peers [hype them] when there is any true opportunity to do so. BUT avoid flattery.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:18)
“For there is no truth in their mouth…. their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” ( Psalm 5:9)

Bises,

Soo

On Respecting Authority or Differences in Opinions and Considering the Harm Done If We Choose Otherwise

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote... for the person they judged more worthy.
2. Speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side." 
- John Wesley, English cleric, theologian, and philanthropist
The following are questions I entertain and often, given the current climate of our country:
  • What does it mean to really respect instituted authority, respect entities, and respect individuals despite encountering drastically differing opinions, values, or personalities?
  • What does it mean for our mental and emotional states when we choose to do the opposite?
Surely the thoughts we express can be of potent criticality without adding to toxicity.
I wake up this morning desiring to understand how to do this better and authentically in all circumstance… how about you?

My Faith Grounded Musings:

Romans 13:1 on Submission to Governing Authorities

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

As a Christian, I can rationalize the validity of this command or “rule”. When one considers the grounding tenets that define Christianity, a quick survey will reveal some very constant albeit complicated narratives that frame our faith: an everpresent dance and balancing act between the subject of God’s sovereignty, having free will and its impact, and the concept of time that is not linear or as we see it according to modern physics. Following God is not about always having the answers and the whys to everything from the start (I would say I struggled with this question as a believer my whole life until maybe about last year!). Sometimes a situation requires obedience before we are able to see and understand 20/20, even with a controversial verse and command such as this that many Christians either outrightly ignore or struggle with (including myself!)

The fact of the matter though is that God’s word is God’s word. When we say we give our life over to him, we are surrendering our right to picking and parsing things we like and dislike, accept or reject, and that includes where we stand on the merits of the Bible’s commands. When one accepts the truth of the Gospel, the only requirement for being “Christian,” this implies a full and total acceptance of the Bible as the living word (Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”).

*For context, the word of God referred to the written or spoken word of God, and the Bible is accepted as the word of God.

Little Practices That Improve My Mental Health

  1. Take the time to tie my shoelaces before slipping my feet into my shoes, instead of slipping them or cramming them in using my thumbs to open up the foot hole.
  2. Manually uninstall Instagram for a couple hours to a full day. I do this regularly to encourage a keeping of healthy, controlled Instagram use. Because I love Instagram! And it’s very apparent to me that I can become addicted to it. It’s like other medias, and I worry that there are others don’t see it as such. Imagine if you were in your 20s watching 4 hours + TV a day and also not sleeping from it. This is a value based opinion, so I’m not suggesting someone is wrong by doing that (and maybe you’re the kind of person who can do everything in 24h and still feel really good with little sleep, etc!). I’m just saying I personally don’t want to watch 4 hours of TV a day as a working woman who has limited leisure time, when I can be using that time to do something like being present with people I love or reading or taking my sleep or what have you.
  3. Like homework, and regardless of how awesome I’m feeling, look up at the sky once after work to remind myself in good AND bad circumstances just how vast, strange, and beautiful the world is and just how small, I, my circumstances, my colleagues and my businesses and all the things like that are in contrast. It gives me added perspective when I don’t need it ( who will complain about that), and that way I have perspective when I do. Perspective that’s built into me like a layer of mental armor.
  4. Go to the gym even when I feel like THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS GO TO THE GYM and time is just ticking away and it’s approaching 11pm (the closing time for my gym, I go to Equinox) and even when there’s less than an hour left for me to take my bum off my bed because I literally had rather-ed killing time on my bed scrolling on my phone for an hour instead of going. And somehow, I finally just go. Even it’s for clocking in’s sake and I really can’t handle lifting a weight (because I’m lazy or moody or whatever). I go.
  5. Verbally or mentally ask myself how I am feeling every day to check in on myself. Really check in on my self. Meta, I know. But we’re always pressured to be productive, go zoom zoom zoom, and think while we move etc etc,– I mean how can that encourage positive, smart, reflective thinking in many people? It doesn’t for me. I also started asking this of people I care about instead of saying “how was your day?” when I inquire after them. I find I can get to the source of the things I ultimately care about by asking “how are you,” or “how are you doing,” or “how are you feeling”, instead of asking how was your day? Because with how was your day, someone can just list everything that happened without mentioning once that they’re not doing okay emotionally.
  6. Pray. I pray diligently for all the great things in my life, and am also honest in prayer with the things that are not going in my life, internally or externally. By facing those truths every day and during it as frequently and regularly as I can, I stay away from the threat of encouraging and welcoming untruths or narratives that will contaminate the thoughts of my head and the understandings of my heart.
  7. Reflect, often, often, often. Particularly in regards to my interpersonal relationships. While I do know I have a disposition for thinking in excess, I do think _THINKING_ done in moderation is healthy; I revisit [a little too often perhaps, I don’t know] whether I have any rotten branches (people or things) currently chilling out in my life– this I do very often, like weekly homework. Particular emphasis on people evaluation for me. I am fortunately aware of myself, and I know I immediately engage at a deep emotional level with literally anyone who enters my life and as a conversation with me by even 1 degree. I kind of just open-door myself once I let a new acquaintance in (which can be good, and also bad). I don’t do that “let’s leave the door slightly ajar and stay emotionally aloof internally and then open it 90 degrees” thing. So, when someone negative enters my life, it does make an impact somewhere in my life and my overall wellbeing, even if it doesn’t reflect immediately in the mental compartment.
  8. I eat with intention, which visually manifests itself with me eating more slowly than I naturally would prefer.
  9. I also practice sharing with individuals I trust or have identified have a certain level of authority in wisdom over me on x, y, or z. Sharing is a way to share in my pain and joy with others, but it also helps me 1. measure my life and my thoughts more accurately because there are people that are not experiencing whatever is going on in my head or my heart, which means they can give objective feedback on what I am feeling or experiencing, and also act as mirrors when/if I ever reach the point when I can not perceive things clearly and I am skewing experiences, messages, everything.. and it 2) holds me accountable in the healthy desire to always want to be working on getting to that “the better place”.
  10. Self care, mental health self-care, emotional self-care never stops. There is no ceiling, or at least I haven’t found it and I am a pretty! happy person right now. 🙂

Take care yourself. So you can give proper love to others, so you can give proper love to yourself. How can you love thy neighbor as yourself if you don’t know how to do it yourself? Is the question I ask myself.

 

xSoo