How to Measure Your Success as a Working Woman
- Thursday, February 06, 2014
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Carolyn McCulley’s new book The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, and the Home (B&H Publishing Group, 2014).
Hard work is something you undoubtedly know well as a woman, since women perform a myriad of vital tasks that help people function in every sphere of life – the business marketplace, the home, the community, and the church. But you may also be acquainted with discouragement, because women often get pummeled by confusing and stressful messages about how to be successful in their work.
The only perspective on success that really matters is God’s perspective. Thankfully, you can count on God to empower you to be successful in your work whenever you place your trust in him. Measuring your success by society’s standards is unreliable and frustrating, but measuring it by God’s standards will help you work to your highest potential. Here’s how:
Define yourself by who you are rather than what you do. Resist society’s pressure to base your identity on the type of work you do – whether paid or volunteer. From God’s perspective, what’s most important is who you are. Keep in mind that your true identity is as one of God’s beloved children (not the various roles you fill while working – from employee to mother). So do your best each day to use your God-given talents and opportunities to invest in what will have eternal significance, focusing on your permanent relationship with God rather than on the various jobs you do temporarily as your circumstances change.
Approach work as a blessing, not a burden. Realize that God created work as a good gift to people to help us all discover and fulfill his purposes for our lives. Even though work is hard (as a result of humanity’s fall in the Garden of Eden), it’s meaningful and can lead to good results. So instead of dreading work or trying to avoid it, answer God’s call to work and trust Him to work through you to accomplish good purposes through any type of work – even the most mundane tasks. God knows that you’re doing the best you can with the resources, opportunities, and responsibilities that you have, and he will maximize the results of your work when you trust him.
Restore your capacity for work through rest. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you incorporate enough rest into your schedule so you’ll have a healthy balance in your life. Aim to spend about a third of your time working, a third for engaging in non-work activities, and a third for resting. You can be most productive when you’re well-rested. So observe a Sabbath day every week, get the amount of sleep your body needs each night, and spend some time regularly in silence and solitude so you can peacefully reflect on your life.
Prioritize different types of work wisely during the different seasons of your life. The amount of attention you devote to various jobs (from working for pay in the marketplace and volunteering in your community to caring for your family at home) should vary as your circumstances do. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you about what types of work to take on and how best to manage your work schedule at different times in your life, such as when you have young children or when your children grow up and leave home. But keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits all plan for how to prioritize; since your circumstances are unique, your priorities should fit them uniquely. Stay in touch with the Spirit often to freshly evaluate your priorities and base your work decisions on those priorities.
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