I hit “post” on Twitter and looked up from my phone to scan the bus around me.
Two weeks into my first ad agency job, I felt like a failure. I knew God called me there, but I never knew I would feel this lost. Riding home from a work event, feeling unable to connect with my coworkers made me miss life in college.
Relationships seemed easy to build at the University of Washington. I had a supportive community in Cru encouraging me and classmates willing to talk about life and spiritual things. I left school feeling empowered and able to bring that ministry experience into the “real” world.
However now that I was actually there, set aside big questions about God or faith, I felt unable to even chime in about my favorite Parks and Rec characters.
After talking to some good friends and an emotional time of reflection, as well as repentance, I realized: I had made reaching my co-workers about me.
It's not about me.
Questions like: How can I love these people today? had distorted into How cool would it be for someone to know Jesus because of ME? and Am I making as big an impact in my office as my missionary friends abroad?
People became projects, and that pressure derailed any chance I had at genuine relationships.
I truly hoped my co-workers would experience the love of Christ and want to come to know Him, but that process was not mine to control.
Instant connections and naturally spirit-filled conversations can happen, but often reaching people means simply loving them as they are, and praying conversations shift from weekend plans to eternal ones.
Relationships take time. That’s ok.
This is what I’m learning that looks like:
- Connect with a local church and serve in that community. You can’t live the Christian life on your own, you need community.
- Invite people to mentor you and keep you accountable. We need those who have gone before us to encourage us to when times get tough.
- Complete tasks with excellence and integrity. The way you do your job and treat your co-workers matters and says a lot about the God you follow.
- Spend time with the Lord daily, pray over your workplace and the people in it. Don’t separate your work life and prayer life. Bring God into the day-to-day.
- Be patient. Relationship building can be a slow, long process. Respect co-workers who are hesitant to open up. Be intentional to spend time with others outside the office.
- See people as people, and not projects. Ask questions, listen and care about your co-workers responses.
- Trust GOD to bring victory. Give it all back to him: your job, your ministry and your life. It’s not yours to own.
Lately, work has been a completely different experience. Trusting in the Lord’s plan is the greatest career move I have ever made.
About The Author: Allie Jones studied Business Administration and Marketing at the University of Washington, where she was also a student leader in Cru. Since graduation, Allie has worked as an Account Manager at a top-rated ad agency in Seattle. Outside of work, she most enjoys coffee and a pastry on slow Sunday mornings.