Note: According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related agitation is the major source of stress for American adults (although it is certainly not a uniquely American problem). In addition to common stressors like coworker issues and workload, many of us struggle with the stress of having to fulfill a less-than-satisfying work role in order to live more or less check-to-check. We sometimes feel like we lose our identities, our spirituality, and our dreams in order to serve the mundane reality that work promotes. It is the author’s hope that this message helps the stressed worker find spiritual peace and the energy to pursue a more fulfilling future. Please share this meditation with anyone you know who is fatigued from the workplace or struggling professionally.
Avoiding Epic Meltdowns
"AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE FOR THE WORKDAY"
Copyright 2015 Michael Priebe
Security camera footage posted to YouTube shows frustrated office workers revolting against their environments.
“I am seething within and cannot relax; Days of affliction confront me.” Job 30:27 NASB
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 ESV
Have you ever felt every cell and fiber of your being twist and squirm in agitation over something that seemed minor in retrospect? Ironically, it’s often the little things in life that end up grating our patience to the point of breakdown. And the busier we are—the more stressed we are—the more easily small agitations can bend us out of shape. In the workplace—an environment where many people are definitely overstressed—the meltdowns can be epic.
If you search YouTube for videos of epic office meltdowns, you’ll find agitated men in dress shirts and ties who lash out at their environments because they can’t suffer them any longer. One video shows a worker ripping his computer out of the wall and putting it screen-down on the copy machine because the printer isn’t working. Another clip shows a worker in an open-office environment getting so annoyed by his coworker’s voice and his own lack of privacy that he smashes her telephone. You’ll also find a video of a man beating his computer screen with his keyboard (ostensibly because of a technology problem) and footage of a man jumping over a work table to wrestle a coworker.
In order to make a living, many of us have to spend our days at places we don’t necessarily like doing things that don’t necessarily interest us. We can end up feeling frustrated and trapped. But the complex agitations of life are about more than just work stress for most of us. In addition to whatever unpleasantries we have to deal with at our jobs, we often have major dramas playing out at home. We have large car and home expenses that taunt us, and we have physical and emotional sicknesses that are troubling our families. We also have to make sense of existential issues surrounding our mortality and the meaning of life; if we don’t find satisfying answers regarding the really big questions in life, we can end up really angry and depressed.
It’s understandable that our various stressors might occasionally put as on the brink of lashing out and melting down, but if we find ourselves feeling emotionally worn out too often, it might be because we don’t have enough spiritual perspective in our lives.
In the Gospels, Jesus recognizes the agitations of men and women trying to make sense of daily living on this planet. He recognizes that many people seek satisfaction and peace from disingenuous and dead-end sources, and He offers something different. He offers a lasting spiritual peace that is independent of money, fame, job title, or social status, and He promises that His peace can’t be taken away.
“Not as the world gives do I give to you,” Jesus says.
Each day, it’s important to set our sights higher than the swirling confusion of the office or shop floor. It’s also important to remember that no financial, health, or emotional problem is outside of God’s care. It’s important to set aside time each day for devotion and prayer in order to release our own personal pressure buildups.
Today, pray for comfort and inner calm, and know that no circumstance in your daily grind will be able to take that peace away.