In Luke 11:24-26, Jesus tells the following parable: “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. “Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” While workplace irritations aren’t “unclean spirits,” the analogy still holds – if you want your frustrations to quit multiplying, you need to make a concentrated and deliberate effort to replace them as the focus of your thoughts.
So exactly how do you do this? According to Lamentations 3:22-23, “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” The truth is, no matter how difficult our coworkers, how obnoxious our customers, or how infuriating our boss, there is still something to be thankful for (even if it is just the reality that when all is said and done, we get to go home). As followers of Christ, it becomes our mission to find that something and then consciously praise God for it!
Of course, this isn’t always easy… especially if we’ve already developed a habit of seeing the negative. In cases like these, there are a few things that can be done to help alter our perspective:
1. Pray. Begin by letting God know you’re sorry for focusing on the negative. Then, let Him know that you need His help to find the positive.
2. Make a list. Set aside time each day to list at least ten positive things that happened at work. (This may require more effort on some days than others, but that effort helps us learn to see the little blessings as well as the big ones.)
3. Stop the process. Each time you find yourself dwelling on the negative, take a moment to find two positive things to thank God for.
4. Find a partner. Recruit someone with whom you can share your positive workplace experiences and will hold you accountable to look for the good.
5. Don’t give up. For some of us, seeing the good when we’re surrounded by muck just isn’t our gift. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
Think of finding the positive things in the workplace as a treasure hunt: not all of the prizes will be obvious at first glance and we’re not going to find the best ones if we only focus in on that little weedy bed on the sidelines! Get up, move around, and start looking! Pretty soon you’ll be thanking God for the pennies you find in the parking lot, the new heater installed in the break room, not having to clean the bathroom, or the temperature being half a degree warmer today than it was yesterday! And what about all of those workplace mountains? Well, they were just molehills anyway.