I don’t know if it’s partly because of my personality, but I enjoy and am used to working behind the scenes. I don’t enjoy being thrown into the spotlight. I tend to cringe when my work is acknowledged. I would be perfectly content if no one knew what I did, but I have to acknowledge a part of me desires to be known and known for what I do. Do you know what it feels like to move in the unseen?
I think there is a human side of us that wants to not necessarily be recognized but to receive a stamp of approval. We all want to feel like our contribution is of value. We all want to feel like we are making a difference and that our work matters. Maybe you feel overworked and underappreciated, in some area of your life.
Maybe you feel it at home? Maybe you clean and take the kids from activity to activity and then finally get them to bed at the end of the day, and it goes totally unnoticed! Or maybe you work incredibly hard at your job and your boss doesn’t even recognize the time you put in and what it cost to accomplish what you did. Maybe you are a student and you work hard to study and get ahead of your assignments, but you continue to see bad grades and when you go to your professor for help it’s like they don’t even want to see you succeed!
I want to encourage those who feel like this and say, your work, your effort and even the joy, positivity and love that you do it with has not gone unnoticed in the eyes of our King! When we are obedient to God’s call to steward the gifts He has given us, and to share those gifts within the body of Christ and outside of it, it is transformative! There is not one action that is too small that isn’t impacting the Kingdom of God! Whatever it is you do, in whatever environment remember that it is for an audience of one, our God.
If there is anything I’ve learned in this internship and working for The Point, it is that we all have a part to play that works for a greater vision than that of ourselves. So, when I sit behind a computer all day and the doubts come rolling in, “Is this social media post even going to make an impact? Does all this matter, Lord? Are we reaching anyone?”
I can counter those thoughts with: “I am the hands and feet of My Father. I will be faithful with what is in front of me. I will do it and do it joyfully as unto Him. I will use the gifts and talents in me and I won’t hide them away. I won’t be fearful or doubt who He is creating and has created me to be. I will shine my light and I will be who He has called me to be.”
Do you know what happens when we attach our self-worth to our work? Imagine a beautiful porcelain vase that was hand painted. Picture beautiful colorful flowers carefully arranged in that vase. Have you ever cleaned out a vase whose flowers are in the process of dying? When you take out the flowers what is left is old dirty, murky water. That is exactly what happens with us when we let our hearts go uncheck. Negative emotions quickly turn into negative beliefs and those beliefs produce decay that doesn’t just hurt how we view our selves. It even begins to taint the way we view our leaders, our boss, our spouse, our professors, and those around us. We produce new things constantly, flowers that are admired but eventually they get replaced. The treasured hand painted vase is not so easily replaced. Maybe not everyone notices the vase at first. Maybe not everyone knows it was hand painted and carefully picked out but, the owner and creator (God) does. He admires it. He admires us. He sees the beauty in us not our work. We are valuable because He has given us value.
So, I want to set a challenge before you. It is so easy to succumb to the frustration and stress of not feeling appreciated or the feeling that our work isn’t valued, BUT God doesn’t call us to do that! His Word gives us the example of what our attitude should be, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 NIV).
Let us treat our doing like our being. Be the best God has called you to be. Don’t hide your light from the world. Our character and His Spirit inside you is on display—it is what you will be known for—not the accolades or the recognition! You will find purpose in what you’re doing when you shift the focus from being noticed to doing it for His glory. When we bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth, it doesn’t matter if others see us, because we know our Heavenly Father sees us, and He is proud of who we are, not what we do!
Lord, help us to shift our focus from seeking value in our work to focus on our character, our motives, and attitude. Help us examine our hearts and surrender desires for affirmation from others to you. Let everything we do be done in love and for your glory. Amen.