The question hung in the air between us. Her, wanting for a moment to grab it back, and me uncertain of whether to accept it.
Do you work?
It was only three words, yet they undid me…again. The woman who asked didn’t mean any harm by it. There was no animosity or challenge (although I have experienced both). This was an honest, and valid question.
And I never quite know how to answer.
I knew what she meant, of course. She meant a paying job. A career. Something I left my home to do under the guise of a boss or being the boss. And in that regard, I had to say “no.” I quickly followed with a smiley, “I used to be a teacher before I stayed home with the kids.” A pale effort to let my new friend know I wasn’t a slacker. I was educated. I valued work. I chose this.
Yet, still, I felt less than. The conversation got awkward for a moment as we both tried to recover. As if you can recover from questioning who you are.
The real answer is that the question is unnecessary. We all work.
Whether you’re the CEO or the stay at home mom. The doctor or the checkout clerk. The best-selling author or the journal scribbler. The house builder or the house cleaner.
Every one of us lives a life full of things we do, some for compensation in dollars, some for sticky-fingered hugs, and some that go unnoticed.
I am a former teacher, turned stay at home mom, turned writer. Not one of those titles pays right now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t work.
Every time I make a bed or do the laundry, I work.
Every time I help with math homework or read a book, I work.
Every time I write a blog post or jot down a book idea, I work.
And you do too. God doesn’t call us to a specific paying job (although supporting oneself and family is one of the foundational ways to show love). God calls us to do whatever is before us as if it is for Him.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,” Colossians 3:23, NIV
If you’re preparing a presentation, making dinner, putting in an IV, driving carpool, whatever it is – do it with all your heart. Even the best of jobs can be done with the wrong intentions. Choosing how we do the work we do matters.
I may not have a clear answer to my new friend’s question. But I certainly hope whatever my answer, I can say I do it with all my heart.
A guest post by Becky Hastings