Sometimes we just have to seize the moment
What does faith look like in the workplace? It’s who you are more than what you do, says Liz Newton, a Gynaecology Specialist Nurse
I choose to listen to the call of God on my life and spend a large part of my time working in a District General Hospital. It’s a fast-paced, emotionally-charged and physically-demanding place to work. So when I mull over the question ‘how do I live out my faith in God at work?’ that’s just it… I live! There is a freedom in that.
Living a life following Jesus isn’t something I can turn off and on. It’s my identity, who I am, a follower and lover of Jesus. My thoughts, actions, decisions and priorities flow out of this.
In The Message, Luke 6:43- 45 reads: “The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”
When the rubber hits the road or, in my case, when the hospital trolley hits the corridor, it’s a moment by moment trusting that the Holy Spirit will nudge me to be the person of integrity who others can trust or the one to bring hope into a desperate situation, the one who demonstrates joy even when the resources are too tight, staff are too few and the tensions are running high, who is discerning and wise in leading others and taking care of those who are in my charge – staff or patients.
Sometimes, we just have to seize the moment and intervene. Yes, in action, but sometimes with words. If I am fully convinced of the significance of God, which I am, then I have concluded that I can’t ‘do nothing, say nothing, be nothing’ just to avoid criticism.
In fact, speaking out and explaining why I believe what I do, being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) or standing up for someone or something by what I say, is truly important.
I recently had an amazing conversation with a friend at work who wished she could read the Bible because she noticed how much I got out of it, but she found it hard to understand. She had never read a translation that was written in the style of our everyday language.
I took the plunge. I read Psalm 23 (familiar to her) in the King James Version (the one she remembered from childhood) and then in The Message paraphrase. When I finished, the office was silent and she was crying. God had spoken into her heart, she was responding to him and all I had to do was open my mouth and read God’s Word!
“Give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people...” (2 Chronicles 1:10). This was Solomon’s prayer. When it comes to an environment where my ethics are tested, the need for wisdom is great. The world of medicine is pushing the boundaries not only scientific but also ethical.
Knowing my boundaries, however, requires preparation; I have a duty to read and investigate ethical issues I think I may have to grapple with. Keeping up-to-date isn’t optional. Knowing a little about scientific developments in my area of work really matters. I feel a need to be ready, knowing when I must draw back and when to get involved.
In Larry Osborne’s book ‘Thriving in Babylon’ he puts it like this, “He (Daniel) drew his lines in the sand where God drew the lines.” This has been something that has determined what I do and how I conduct myself.
There are times when I choose to disregard coarse behaviour or something offensive that others express, in recognition that I can’t put my attitudes onto someone else when mine are borne out of a relationship with Jesus and theirs are not.
Osborne makes this point but I’m afraid my mum made it first: ‘Choose your battles’. Granted, she was referring to parenting but the principle is the same! So, the challenge remains: living for Jesus, loving like he did, offering this to others, wherever we are…
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