All of us have to face challenges at work. No matter how hard you try or how many hours you put in, you are bound to come up against obstacles from time to time that threaten your ability to meet a deadline. You may have a very critical manager, or have to deal with unexpected budget constraints. Or you may not be able to get the resources you need when you need them. Any of these scenarios can leave you feeling depleted, discouraged, and believing that your biggest efforts will never be enough.Feelings of frustration can cause even the best of us to react.
But what if we could respond in a more positive way? What if we took a different approach when challenges occur, one that reflects the character of God and leads to a much better result?
Here are six biblical responses you can apply when you face a challenge at work.
- Be Still: This is rarely the first response we have in frustrating situations. It’s much easier to react based on the emotions we feel. God has a different way. Instead of running to complain or vent with a coworker, He asks us to still ourselves in His presence. When we’re obedient in that practice we’re reminded of His power and control over the situation. It releases us of the burden to carry it all on our own, and provides space for God’s truth and wisdom to shine through. “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” (Psalm 46:10)
- Pray and Seek Guidance: We can’t stop at simply being still. We have to actually ask God for his perspective. We can have confidence that He will be faithful to bring light to the situation and illuminate the next step when we ask Him. We often think that God isn’t helping us in our tough situations, but in reality we’re not obedient to ask and then listen for a response. Be honest with God about what you’re facing and feeling, ask for His help, and then make note of any possible solutions that come to mind. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
- Seek Counsel: Another important way God speaks to us is through other people. Sometimes the shift in perspective we need can come directly from a friend or mentor we trust. God created us to do life with other people, so take advantage of the community God has graciously given you. Make sure you connect with someone who has an active relationship with the Lord and will advise you to take steps that reflect your faith and values. “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)
- Respond with Humility: Most people aren’t wired to exercise humility. Humbling ourselves to truly listen to feedback, especially if it is counter to what we think, can seem counterintuitive. However, when we demonstrate humility we show others that we value their feedback, and that our ultimate goal is to reach the best solution, even if it’s not our preferred one. Acting with humility also means that we recognize our own constraints, which always leads to a better solution. “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Peter 3:8)
- Choose Joy and Peace: It’s easy to allow worry or fear take over when challenges occur. But, God asks us to choose joy and peace when we face difficulties. He wants us to trust Him with the outcome. A peaceful and joy-filled mind allows you think clearly and creatively when problem solving. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
- Be Brave: Of course, we have to take action when facing a challenge. Even if we’ve received clear direction from God, moving forward might not feel comfortable or easy. We have to choose to be brave. Step out onto the water and keep your eyes on Him as He guides you through the waves. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Ultimately, facing challenges with a biblical perspective means you trust God with the outcome. You recognize that doing things His way, while uncomfortable, is the only way to truly overcome any challenge and find the best solution.