This morning I was a guest on Iowa Catholic Radio’s morning show with Jon Leonetti, Jeanne Wells and Dowling Catholic Hall of Famer Mark Amadeo. I’ve been on the show several times in the past and really enjoyed it. We talk about various topics from time to time but this morning it was all about faith in the workplace. Something I think, it’s fair to say, many of us struggle to approach properly. After the show this morning I decided to put my thoughts down and provide a few tips for ANYONE (not just Catholics) who are trying to find a balance of sharing your faith in the workplace and not offending or overpowering someone else’s belief.
In a world that often seems so complex, or a world that we make so complex let me keep it simple here:
It starts with being JOYFUL.
Yes, it’s that simple. In the workplace, at home, in the community and with your friends. Be a joyful, forgiving and generous person. You see, JOY is contagious and inspiring. And it’s something Christ gives us too.
If your joy is apparent to others, it will be clear the source of your happiness and will likely start a faith conversation. Bottom line if you’re joyful and kind, someone is going to wonder where you get it.
I often thinks of Matthew 5:13-13 (well honestly I usually have to look it up because I can’t remember it very well – insert Catholic joke here)
“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-14, 16.
I don’t know about you but that message is clear as the light of day (no pun intended). But let’s be honest, as clear as that is, it’s not always easy! That’s where prayer and intentions come into play.
So beyond being JOYFUL – what else can we do? Below are a few tips:
1. Don’t judge: It’s not your job. I know that bible verse says you are “city set on a mountain top” but that doesn’t mean you’re better than others. Instead of preaching and judging, be loving and sharing. People will relate better to the “hope you have” and/or the “joy within you”. That may even spark curiosity and start a conversation.
2. Don’t act like you’re perfect: Because we all know you’re not. Just because you go to church ever Sunday, attend bible study or faith sharing and donate your time and talent to your church, doesn’t mean you’re perfect. If you are, I’d love to meet you!!! 🙂 Instead be honest, show you’re human. Honesty is always better than pretending to be someone you’re not. The more relatable you are the better.
3. Remember ACTIONS speak volumes: They are often better than words. St. Francis of Assisi said “Proclaim the gospel, when necessary use words.” So stop talking and start acting. You don’t have to talk about God to be and see Christ in others. Reach out to someone everyday with kindness and JOY. That opens the door for more and often challenges everyone to dive deeper.
4. Don’t forget to pray: for strength, for growth and for OTHERS not just yourself. Without prayer we are lost. It’s important. And I think we’ll find that prayer can really make a difference in how you approach your faith in the workplace.
So how can this be applied to your life today?
Take a few moments to talk to someone at work. Ask them how they are, how their weekend went and what they’re up to this week. Take some time to show that you care about them beyond the cubical in your office. Get to know them, BE JOYFUL now. I think you’ll see the impact. I see it everyday. In the good and the bad. The people who have the most influence in my day and inspire me to see god, are full of JOY.
Try it and let me know how it goes.