Consider the following insights from Days of Deepening Friendship’s Vinita Hampton Wright:
It can take awhile—sometimes many years—for a person to sort out all that she’s been taught, told, and in some cases manipulated to believe and value. Many people of faith must work through a period of rediscovering and redefining their faith, and quite a few of us, after a long process of interior sorting and pitching, reestablish ourselves in the faith that formed us. Only now it is faith we have examined, owned, dusted off, and refreshed.
And when we reassess all that we’ve been taught and all that we’ve simply picked up over the years, it can be a wonderfully clarifying experience to identify once again what is important. We look with intent and prayer upon our relationships, our work, our possessions, and our pastimes.
Also, we take another look at the “good work” we are trying to do in this world. We try to answer a few questions:
- Does this activity truly reflect what I want to get accomplished, or is it a distraction?
- Am I wasting effort, or must I be patient and keep working, having faith that I’m on the right track?
- Does this organization, faith community, or workplace live out the values I hold dear?
- Could I be doing something bigger and braver?
- Am I still waiting for other people’s approval and reward, even though I know what must be done?
- Should I be doing this same good work but possibly with a different group of people?
- Have I found a good fit for my own gifts and desires as I do God’s work in the world, or do I try to be like other people whom I admire?
- Do I have mentors? Can I point to people who inspire me forward as I do God’s work?
For the sake of simplicity, I use “good work” and “God’s work” interchangeably. Anything that truly comes from God will be good for the world. But not everyone is comfortable with the term “God’s work.”
- How do you know when you are doing the work you should be doing?
- What has helped you sort out the beliefs and values that are at the core of your life?