Why you feel awkward when people ask what you do
My first job out of college was for the Houston Astros Baseball Club, my most prestigious job by far. It was cool because I was a woman in a predominantly male field, and I worked for one of only 30 ball clubs in the United States.
I had a job that everyone seemed in awe of, and it prompted responses like, “So cool! Ever met any of the players?”
…yes. Yes I had.
Back then, I loved to tell people what I did, but my current work leaves me feeling awkward and shy even though I feel called to it. I struggle telling people that I stay home with our girls and that I’m a writer and speaker.
Why does our work sometimes make us feel awkward?
When I’m asked what I do, I say it as quickly as possible. Then, I blush, change the subject and hope you drop it. This is the response from a woman who loves what she gets to do—but why? Why do we feel uncomfortable sharing about what we do?
After giving it some thought, I came up with five reasons I think we feel uncomfortable in our work:
We compare ourselves to those more established.
We look around and see someone in our own industry, with more seniority and success, and we feel awkward labeling ourselves the same way we label her.
We doubt our assignment.
Every day my head whispers, “Who do you think you are?” I write about grace, not because I’m a grace expert, but because I struggle with it. My inner critic tells me I have no business doing what I’m doing.
We are fearful.
We fear success. And failure. We’re fearful of putting our work out in the world to have it judged, or worse, ignored. We fear imperfection. We fear the unknown.
We feel like we’re destined for more.
Let’s face it: no one would describe sandwich-making, toilet-cleaning, and word- typing as glamorous. And so we wonder, “Shouldn’t we do something bigger?”
We’re concerned about what other people think.
As I write words about Christ, I worry that people will think I’m holier-than-thou or that I have it all together.
Friends, we feel awkward about our work because of comparison, doubt, fear, identity confusion, and a bad case of people-pleasing…Are you kidding me?!?!?!
Will we really miss out on God’s good work because of these things?
I’ve had enough with timidity about what I do, and I’m tired of Christ-followers listening to lies instead of truth. My heart rails against the notion that I should become less than what God has asked me to be.
Not on my watch. Not with this generation. God’s people don’t live in timidity.
It’s time to live out what God has put in us.
God created us with hope-filled futures in mind. Let’s go live this life without fear and with mistakes, without apology and with obedience, without people-pleasing and with joy. Let’s be adventure-takers, hope-givers, and endurance-runners. Let’s accept that God designed and placed us for a very specific purpose: so that we can love, enjoy, and glorify Him and love others.
The glory of God is a human being fully alive. He died to give us freedom from comparison, doubt, fear, identity confusion, and people-pleasing. Let’s not give them power.
Let’s take back our work from the grips of awkwardness.
As Jesus spoke with the crowds in Matthew 5, He talked of salt and light and glory. He called us light and then expanded on what light does. Light can’t shine if it’s hidden, so we must share truth, do good work, and let the world see what God’s called us to do.
Our good work glorifies God, and Jesus calls us to radiate so brilliantly that people (1) notice our good work and (2) glorify God as a result of it. Your people, whether the littles in your playroom or your boss in the boardroom, know what goodness looks like, and good work leads to praising God. Let’s not rob God of His glory by not shining our light.
Not all work is glamorous, but all work can be good.
None of my jobs have come close to the glamour of my first job at the Astros. And that’s okay. I’m reminded of what David said in Psalm 34:5,
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
When we look to Christ, when we see Him as sovereign over our work and in our work, we are radiant and unashamed. I’ll take the work God has called me to over the thrill of baseball any day of the week.