As women in the church, we have read these words many times in reference to a woman of noble character. Her list of impressive attributes goes on painting a picture that our husbands often wish for and as sisters we sometimes joke about. I wonder, however, have we ever considered what the “Proverbs Woman” was actually like at her place of work? Did she haggle over the prices of goods? Did she take time to chat “around the water cooler” with the other women? Were there discussions of babies being born or how the kids were driving her crazy? How well did she know the people she conducted business with? Perhaps she was so busy she simply passed through the mercantile, conducted her business and never really got to know them or their families.
Many women work outside the home. We make a choice every day to just deliver our product or truly make a difference by investing in those working around us. As a woman who has worked in the corporate environment for over 17 years, I struggled to keep all the balls in the air (wife, motherhood, job). I often just wanted to do my time and leave, but I realized that God called me to do more.
As working Moms, how do we do more? We are SO TIRED! We get up. We make lunches. We crockpot. We do laundry. We write the schedules for the nanny/sitter. We frantically text whoever it is that is supposed to pick up or drop off at whatever place we have already forgotten about, because we can’t keep it all straight. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to fill out all 1,000 forms from school and check the kids’ backpacks. It is EXHAUSTING just making the list, which of course, we lose on a daily basis.
So I took the time to reflect on my corporate experience and came up with what I thought was my way of trying to be fully invested for Christ at work. (Disclaimer Alert: I fell short so many times I can’t even count so please no misconceptions!)
First, I told the truth. If something wasn’t going to be done on time, I said so. Sounds simple, but sadly, it is rare. Second, I did what I said I was going to do. It’s about integrity, which earns respect. Respect then leads to influence. Third, and perhaps the most important, I invested in the people around me – I got to know who I worked with. I formed relationships and people felt comfortable sharing with me. I never hid that I was a Christian and I took opportunities to tell my story. Many times, I had people in my cubicle talking about their personal or work life issues.
When I slowed down and realized that work was my mission field, God worked in amazing ways. I was blessed with the opportunity to pray for a colleague’s autistic son, to share my daughter’s medical journey while giving God the glory, to encourage a very driven marketing director to consider what mattered to her most as she spent over 70 hours a week away from her small children, and to pray for and love my homosexual friend through a difficult time in his life at lunch one day.
These are all moments at the market I will never forget. It is not the successful projects I will remember but these people and how God allowed me to be a part. So this is the challenge to all working women out there today. I know you are tired, and feel like you wear so many hats you are not sure which one is on right now. Put on the hat that counts; God’s hat and go to your mission field and BE. BE the light in your office, in your school, in your workplace.