Written By LN, Singapore
I was not excited to start my journey as a working adult. People had been giving me tips on how to succeed and be more outspoken—and it wearied me.
My fears materialized when I eventually started work in June this year. I disliked being in a new environment—the office—where I had to be cautious about how I presented myself. I knew people would form impressions of me based on what they saw and heard. I felt like my personality was being assessed based on the comments or funny jokes I made, and my competency as a worker was being measured by what I said in passing.
Every day was spent not only trying to complete the work assigned to me, but also “doing well” in my interactions with these new colleagues. I was constantly striving to gain the acceptance of my colleagues. I wanted to be seen as a capable, diligent, and humble worker.
I was also wary about the comments they made about my personality, dressing, and abilities. I once bumped into a familiar face in office, but the reunion turned sour when a fellow colleague got the both of us to compare our capabilities to “see who’s better”. I felt judged and drained at the end of each day—although I acknowledge that some part of it had to do with my oversensitivity and insecurity.
Over time, I grew increasingly insecure of my abilities. I beat myself up over careless mistakes I made, or unnecessary comments I gave. Soon, my worth became pegged to my successes or failures in the office. I felt like I had no value apart from my job and the things I did for the company. All this took a toll on my self-worth. I cried every Sunday because I was so overwhelmed by feelings of insufficiency, and dreaded each coming week of work.
God’s Counter-Cultural Gospel
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
All along, I had the “head knowledge” that I did not have to seek man’s approval, and only God’s—but not the “heart knowledge”. It was only when I struggled in my workplace that I had to intentionally choose to embrace this truth daily.
I reminded myself that Christ had saved me and called me to be a child of God without me having to do anything. All I had to do was to put my faith in Him. I didn’t need to prove that I could live a life that was worthy of His saving. I didn’t need to present any skills before Him, neither did I need to earn His grace. By God’s grace, I was chosen and loved.
No matter what people think of me, I knew that my prize would never be taken away. I was worthy before God because of Christ the Savior—my worth was not pegged to my success and failures at work, but the worthiness of Jesus! In Christ, I realized, I was freed from the world’s expectations to prove myself worthy of men’s approval.
Knowing My Worth In The Workplace
Of course, knowing this truth did not change the fact that I still faced judgment in my workplace. But I realized that I could change the way I responded to it. So, gradually, I stopped calculating my every move and measuring my words in fear of what others would think, knowing that in Christ I was always worthy. I stopped letting my successes and failures in the workplace determine my self-esteem and worth, knowing that they did not have any effect on my inherent value as a child of God. I took heart in the fact that my worth to God would never change.
This has freed me to work sincerely and joyfully for God without fear of judgment. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is a Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Let’s pray that we can hold on to this unchanging truth and that it will sink deeply into our hearts and provide peace, freedom, and joy in our workplace.