How to Shift from Surviving to Thriving at Work

by | Jun 15, 2015

Surviving to Thriving Blog_edited-1

How do you feel at the end of your work day? At the end of the work week? Is your work uplifting and energizing, or does it leave you feeling drained, exhausted and overwhelmed?

If you answered the latter, you’re certainly not alone.

According to a Deloitte 2014 Human Capital Trends Study, two-thirds of today’s employees feel overwhelmed at work. A Gallup poll found that over 68 percent of employees are either not engaged or completely disengaged in their work. Many people start their careers pursuing their dreams, only to find themselves dreading Mondays and looking forward to the weekend week after week. I think you’d agree, this is NOT a great way to spend over 50 percent of your life!

So what can we do about it?

First, we need to stop and recognize the common motivations that drive our work.

For me, work became about surviving at a very early age. Having been raised in a single-parent home from the age of 11, I decided I needed to take care of myself to survive and the way to do that was through hard work. The purpose of work in my mind was to avoid being in need – period – and I had to be in control.

I was being run by the need to survive financially. Some people are run by ambition, or a drive to win. Others are run by a need to please others, and so on. But when we’re controlled by those desires, we miss out on God’s best for us – we miss out on flourishing at work.

As Steve Graves puts it in his book, Flourishing, our motives can knock us off course. We can fall into the trap of doing our work under our own strength and for the wrong reasons.

Second, we need to realize that Christ didn’t die so we could just get by or drive ourselves into the ground. He came that we could experience life in abundance, until it’s overflowing (John 10:10) – and yes, that includes our work.

The “magic” to flourishing at work is trusting God.

God created work as a means to partner with us. His part is to direct our steps and do what we cannot do (the BIG stuff). Our part is to seek Him first, put our trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6) and then do all we can do with excellence to bring Him glory. He has a plan for each of us that He will help us achieve when we turn to Him. (Jeremiah 29:11)

It’s taken me a while, and I’m still a work in progress, but God has patiently – and not always gently – taught me to let go of control over my career (and life), and put my trust in Him.  He truly has done superabundantly above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20) and led me to the life I have today – a life I could NOT have created without Him.

What do you need to trust God for? Where do you need to give Him control so you can experience greater peace, joy and flourishing in your work?

We also recommend:


How to Walk with God at Work
Trusting God with Career Even When You Don’t Know Why


Walking with God at Work – David Roth, President, WorkMatters
Trusting in the Work of His Hands – Shelley Simpson, CMO; EVP; President, ICS; J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.


Photo of Catherine Gates

Catherine Gates

Catherine Gates is Executive Director of Women in the Marketplace, a nonprofit marketplace ministry that equips working women to confidently pursue their faith and career for the glory of God. She is also the author of The Confidence Cornerstone: A Woman’s Guide to Fearless Leadership. Learn more at womeninmarketplace.net.