Practical tips for every day
Obstacle 1: Silos
Does the earlier statement, “I just leave my faith at the door when I get to work,” resonate with you? Having lived a compartmentalized existence for most of my life, I have learned how to recognize these “silos” in others and it is very common. Yet, I would suggest that deep down many of us desire a more integrated life, a life in which Christ is at the center of our daily thoughts and actions at both work and home.
I believe that promoting this integration will help us all become better Christians and reverse the negative effects—moral, emotional, and spiritual—of keeping our faith separate from the rest of our lives.
Overcoming this obstacle will not be simple or easy, but we must follow the guidance I shared earlier from Pope St. John Paul II in Christifideles laici and see our daily activities, including our work, as opportunities to join ourselves to God and serve His divine will. We all play multiple roles in life: fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, leaders, employees, students, and so on. But the most important role and responsibility we have is to be faithful Catholics. Being faithful Catholics in thought, word, and deed at all times will allow us to unify our lives and rise above our natural tendencies towards compartmentalization and silos. I know this is easy to say and possibly difficult to do, but it is necessary nonetheless.
Obstacle 2: Time
Do you have challenges, like me, with having enough time each day? Most days my work calendar is completely filled with meetings and phone calls. Outside of the work day, I am focused on helping my wife get the kids ready for school, family dinner time, evening time with the kids, youth sports, bed time reading and prayers with the kids, time with my wife, infrequent exercise, answering emails I couldn’t get to during the day, and then falling asleep exhausted after reading two pages of the book that has been on my nightstand for months! Sound remotely familiar?
Where does our relationship with Christ fit into our busy day? The key here is to recognize that Christ should never compete for our time and that living our busy lives and putting Him first are not mutually exclusive! He is not to be considered an addition to our lives. He is the reason for our lives. Let’s stop viewing the daily practice of our faith as adding more time to already packed schedules and instead focus on integrating our lives with Christ at the center of everything we do.
Obstacle 3: Surrender
If we refuse to surrender, sincerely giving up control of our lives to Christ, we face an enormous obstacle to living out our faith in the workplace or any other place. I know full well what my life was like before surrendering to Christ in 2005. I said “no” to Him for over two decades and the effort was exhausting.
Now I say “yes” and that has made an enormous difference in my life. All I had was family and work prior to my conversion and I thought I was in charge of my life and future. I thought I was being the strong husband and father that my father had been when I was growing up. I thought I was in charge. I still struggle every day with pride and making sure Christ is first in every aspect of my life. I have the same challenges as many who are reading this post, but knowing that He will forgive me, love me, and guide me keeps me coming back again and again to the place where I pray the words, “Lord, I surrender. Please lead and I will follow.”
The key to overcoming the obstacles of silos and time is surrender. You may face different challenges to being Catholic at work, but these obstacles have consistently been issues for me and countless others who I have encountered. The question to answer for ourselves is simple. What will we do differently to be fully Catholic in the workplace and not leave our faith at the door?
Six Practical Lessons for Integrating our Catholic Faith with Work
I have always been drawn to achievable and actionable ideas and I would like to share these six practical lessons for living out our Catholic faith at work, which I am trying to follow.
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