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.
FIGHTING GROUNDHOG DAY
"AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE FOR THE WORKDAY"
Copyright 2015 Michael Priebe
Millions of American workers can relate to the monotony-induced sorrow and frustration of Bill Murray's character in the comedy classic Groundhog Day.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NIV
“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17 NIV
One of the great comedy movies of the 1990s is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. In the movie, Murray’s character, Phil Connors, is a Pittsburg weatherman put on assignment to cover the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil is annoyed at the assignment—he considers it well beneath his level of intelligence and miles below his big-market aspirations—but his situation goes from bad to worse when he wakes up to discover that every day is Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney for him. Locked in a repetitive time warp, Phil is forced to find creative ways to deal with living the same day over and over.
Sometimes work can feel a lot like the movie Groundhog Day, especially if you’ve been at the same employer or in the same career for years or even decades. The alarm might ring at the same time each morning, the landmarks and frustrations of the commute might never seem to change, and the faces and problems at work can seem basically constant … week after week, month after month. Some routine is good in our lives, but monotony can breed lunacy. The same stale existence can actually make us impervious and resistant to change. Too much love for our routines can lead us to reject new experiences that would actually benefit us.
A stubborn reliance on the status quo is not healthly. Some of society’s worst problems of prejudice and intolerance often result from a blanket rejection of anything new. When people are unwilling to explore and change, both personal and societal growth become difficult. Scripture reminds us that an uncompromising reliance on the familiar can make spiritual development difficult as well.
Jesus preached about breaking complacency. He told us that we can’t fit His radical vision and fresh knowledge into old containers—such efforts to make sense of His message based on old parameters prove futile.
Jesus’ detractors tried to attack His message by saying, “But that’s not the way things have always been done.”
Jesus answered back with eloquent variations of, “Exactly. I’m here to show you something new and improved.”
Each day we need to remind ourselves to invite fresh perspectives and new knowledge into our lives so that our hearts and minds remain open to growth. Today, take a look at routines that might have become a little too comfortable for you. Take deliberate steps to make each day something new.
If you’re feeling stuck in the monotony of a certain job, a career change could be beneficial, but there are more immediate ways to change your situation as well. You’ll be surprised by how small tweaks to the day can improve a tired situation: you might start a conversation in the office about a topic you’ve never heard anyone approach before, or you could drive an unplanned route on the way home from work and see where it leads.
Today, ask God to bless your efforts to get out of ruts, and trust that He will guide and protect you in new adventures.