Dissatisfaction or divine discontent

When work starts getting you down, especially in a way that it hasn’t before, you have a great opportunity to reflect and decide how to respond. It may be that no significant response is necessary, but taking the time to pray can put what you’re seeing and feeling in perspective and provide you with a clear path forward.

If you find yourself spending more time complaining and griping about the situation where you work than you do in performing your actual work, consider it a signal and take a closer look. When the complaints overtake constructive efforts, you’ve crossed into the area known as dysfunction junction, a bleak and frightening place that can wear you down to a thread in a very short time.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself yearning honestly for a different kind of work, reflect on that also. While the former line of thinking may lead to destructive behaviors, an honest longing for a different occupation or profession may be God’s call for you to serve him in another capacity.

The difference between the two may be indiscernible at first. With contemplation, prayer and quiet time, you can find the answers to questions about whether you’re where you belong in the working world, or how you can be sure you’re working where God wants you.

If your dissatisfaction deals mostly with money or the lack of it in your current situation, that could be your ego at work on you. Ask yourself if you’d be happier in your work if you could just make more money doing it. If your honest answer is yes, this is more likely a personal desire.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to increase your compensation and provide for yourself and your family, a preoccupation with more money can signal the presence of an idol in your life, one that demands your dedication 24/7/365. And if you succeed? Beneath the glamour, glitter and trappings of a high-income lifestyle, you’ll experience emptiness. Soon you’ll ask yourself, “Is this all there is?”

Conversely, if you find you have a heart for something at which you’re not currently employed, and it’s not really about the money, that may be God calling you. Invest time in checking the possibilities of moving your employment into that particular area. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and words that can come in prayer time, through Scripture, via family, friends and coworkers, or by circumstance.

When what you’re considering has some interesting coincidence surrounding it, such as both the week’s Gospel reading and a comment from someone connect to what you’re considering, dig more deeply into that. It may well be God inviting you to serve him in that particular occupation.

If grumbling has turned into a team sport in your workplace and you’re a leader or active participant, it may well be your ego in action. When griping rises in three-part harmony and you’re carrying the melody, that’s human dissatisfaction and a behavior that you need to change, at the very least for your own peace of mind. Get away from the grumblers who will bring and keep you down. Misery indeed loves company, and they’ll love you forever as long as you sing their dirges of doom and gloom.

On the other hand, if you find that your longing is more of an individual thing, one that doesn’t lend itself to joining in the chorus around the water cooler, take that to God in prayer. Look to see where he’s working. Ask God where he is calling you to join him in that work.

God is always at work in manifesting his purposes. There’s no greater adventure in life than to join God in his ongoing work. Since we can’t always understand his purposes, our role is to spend time with him, get to know him better through his Word and apply what we learn to our daily, normal, routine lives at work and at home. There’s nothing routine about God or where he is actively involved. Look for him, seek and you will find him. Align your life, your thinking and your choices to what you see him doing in and around you.

Carroll is an entrepreneur based in Mount Pleasant. Contact him at jcarroll@uperform.com.