For many years I have faced anxiety and stress in the workplace, and over those years have sought counsel several times from trusted Christian brothers. One of them, a mentor, once told me God is “building my character” and preparing me for something. This was a couple of years ago, and after all this time I sometimes ask God “how much more” are you building Lord?!
Have you ever felt anxiety at work?
Frustration, anger, bitterness, jealousy… these are not qualities I strive for in my Christian walk, yet these are emotions I find myself lost in when I’m at work. Now this is not every day at work, but most days I feel a few of those emotions… and some days all of them in spades! This reality has been very troubling for me as I try to find a spiritual balance in my life, between home, work and church.
So last night, my boss calls me around 7:30 PM and tells me some big shots from Washington are flying into town, and visiting our office in the morning. So she instructed me to get to work and start getting the place cleaned up and presentable. She also gave me a long list of expectations for our crew… most of which seemed a little far-fetched, given the time constraints.
Immediately after this call, the enemy started throwing fiery darts my way, and I was just a sucker for the thoughts. I started to dread what was going to happen in the morning, started thinking of calling in sick, which I cannot do in my position. The anxiety of the next day began to overwhelm me like it frequently does. So I started talking to myself (I do that sometimes) and asked why don’t you just find another job? Then responded with you’re too old… besides the new job will probably suck just as much! I really know how to pump myself up don’t I?
After all this, I had to go to my men’s Bible study… where another mentor Rajesh listened to my woes. He’s a good listener. He prayed for me that night, but more importantly helped me formulate a battle plan for work the next day.
That’s right, surrender. You see the key to winning any spiritual battle or otherwise in the Christian life is to surrender (Matthew 16:24-27). Not to the enemy, but to Jesus Christ. So when I got home I prayed before bed, I asked God to take control of my day tomorrow so that I could give him all the glory. If I went to work the next day and tried to “handle things” on my own it would have been a disastrous day. It usually is, because I suck at handling things.
But you know what happened? I went to work today, praying the same prayer on the way there… and ended up having an amazing day… ALL GLORY TO GOD! Thank you Jesus. Was there a spiritual battle waiting for me at work, you might be asking. You bet. Fiery darts started as soon as I walked in the building and never stopped the entire day. But I can truly say I was wearing the Armor of God today, I was prepared… and just as the Lord always does, he was faithful (Psalm 33:4) to carry me through to victory.
This was a very important victory in my Christian walk, because it showed me what God is capable of doing, if I am willing to let go. Like Dr. Phil would say, I’ve been doing things my way for 46 years… how’s that working out for me? The honest truth… my way leads to pain, fear, anxiety, hidden sin, destruction, failure, misery, anger and more. God’s way is the polar opposite and produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
So my Battle Plan going forward is to stay Armored up (Ephesians 6), stay connected to my fellow brothers in Christ or Battle Buddies and to stay serving the Kingdom of God
(1 Corinthians 15:58). We have a common enemy that roams about like a roaring lion and wants to tear our lives apart… to steal, kill and destroy. It is my prayer that you understand how real our enemy is, and that you take the time to put on your Armor each and every day. It’s a battlefield out there.