It's so easy when I spend 40+ hours in one place to put my identity and my hopes, and maybe if not to that extreme, my daily comfort, self-worth, and happiness on my work, my performance, and on the opinions my colleagues have of me.
But thank God that He is faithful to me. I lose my way and I get distracted and forget that my life, every part of it, is meant to point to Jesus for people to see. Matthew 5:16 says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” I know that Jesus was mainly talking about doing good deeds for others, but I think this includes doing good work in your job. In all things when we do good, we give glory to God.
Because I’m not perfect, I will fail to do that, and in those times He uses those parts of my life to point myself back to Him.
Last week I had to give a presentation to get approval for a change we're making on one of our products. I clearly didn't know what I was doing, even though these presentations are standard and common, which made me feel even more like a complete idiot. I was embarrassed and worried about the people who saw and reviewed it, knowing that they probably considered me as not up to par for someone at my level. For about a week my heart really struggled as I reminded myself that my self-worth isn't based on my work or on other people’s opinions. I know that is the truth, but because of my sin and my pride, it’s not easy to let it be true in my heart so that it defines how I respond to these situations.
Today I had to give another one of these presentations for a different project. It was a totally different story. I felt and spoke confidently, I definitely knew what I was doing, and I walked out of the room smiling inside. I could have easily just patted myself on the back and gone on to find confidence in myself at this job, but nope, God wants to show me more of who He is so that I put my confidence in Christ. Which, to be honest, is way better.
For about five minutes after the presentation, the word that stayed in my head was “redeemed.” I had bombed my first presentation, and had now redeemed myself with how I did on my second. I felt amazing and it was a slightly euphoric feeling, to know that even though I did horribly and embarrassed myself before, I showed myself and everyone in that room that maybe I’m not a sad excuse of an engineer after all.
And with this elated feeling, what God revealed to me is how great is the redemption that is the heart of God’s work in Christ. If I feel this great thinking that I was able to change someone’s low opinion of me (all assumed in my head, of course), how much greater is it that despite my sinfulness and ugliness in light of God’s perfect goodness, while I was still a sinner, Christ, who is perfect and beautiful, died for me to change God’s opinion of me. He redeemed me.
Even more so, not only am I thankful that in Christ God redeemed me, I am humbled because I could never redeem myself. At work, yes, I can redeem myself in front of my colleagues. I can do the job and put in the effort to show people that I am a decent engineer and not a waste of resources. But when God is the judge, nothing I can do or say will ever be good enough to change my status from sinner to saint. Only by the blood of Christ am I washed clean of my mistakes and sins from the past, and only by the righteous life that Jesus lived and credits to me am I able to stand before God as a saint.