Thursday, October 12, 2006

cos(Ben) = stress

My fun level at work has increased over the past week because I am getting to know my co-workers. Nothing makes work better than laughing with the people around me. A lot of this is simply because I've been there long enough now to start establishing some relationships. But it's also because I've "earned" the right, through my hard work, to be included in the employee group. I've proven worthy of their companionship.

I think stuff like this is part of the reason most of us hate work. Early morning alarms and boredom are no fun, but it seems this hovering stress of constantly having to prove ourselves simply flattens us. Even when we succeed, when boss acknowledges good work, when co-workers begin to offer respect, that only serves to place more pressure on not only continuing to succeed but improving, so as to garner further notice.

What a stressful grind, I'm finding out. Who I AM matters naught; what counts is what I have DONE, and lately at that. The most charismatic, warm-hearted, loving employee won't survive if she/he is unproductive. John Bunting will soon find this out. Being does not matter, only doing.

Maybe this is the way it has to be in the business world. I, afterall, want Bunting fired too.

However, this serves to remind me of how God views me and, consequently, what my identity really is. I don't have to work to earn God's companionship. I don't even have to please him - which is good because I usually don't. His grace and mercy suffice. What freedom there is in that, especially when contrasted to the burden I feel at work.

God identifies us as his children, "marked in Jesus with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (Ephesians 1:13-14). The imperishability of the word "guarantee" is a beautiful thing. My real, spiritual identity as a beloved child of God doesn't change. I don't live under the stress of trying to earn favor. Unlike at work, my worth doesn't oscillate up and down like a cosine function. It is constant, eternal, and freeing.


Jenn Pappa said...

That's interesting... this is what Grey's anatomy was about last night... Baileys answer was that what matters is having someone who loves you... think that's true?

Ben said...

I don't think that's true, so perhaps my comment about Bailey was flippant and misleading. The attitude of her comment that there are things more valuable than work was refreshing though.

I haven't watched a tv show consistently since "West Wing" in high school, but I'm learning that it's hard to engage them because television has its own set of rules. For example, relationships in Grey's A are utterly harmful and immature (examples abound but Torres and McSteamy are the most recent example). Thus, it is difficult for me to engage and analyze the show because we seem to play by different rules. In more than one discussion about it, I've been told I'm too much of a realist, that this is just a tv show.

That being said, if what Bailey said is true, then our reason for living depends on other people which is fleeting, given things like transient emotions, moves and relocations, and death. There has to be something more faithful that "matters," something more constant which gives us purpose in life. Otherwise, life is a cruel, cruel joke.

Tammy O said...

I agree, unless you recognize that "someone" as God. His love is unconditional and unchanging. It's the only relationship that is constant. And returning that love with all our being is the only ultimately fulfilling purpose in life. My guess is that is what you were hinting at.