“So, how are things at work?”

It’s a common question for folks who haven’t seen each other in a while. And everyone works, right? We work at home, work in the community, work in the marketplace. Whether you work at home, or as a senior executive, everyone works.

I haven’t seen you in a while, so, how are things at work?

There’s such a strong sense of meaning attached to the work we do. Meaningful work is essential to the human spirit. Much of whom we become is a result of the energy and output that comes from our effort.

Ever had a work-related season of feeling like you were stagnating, in a downward spiral, a rut, stuck or even going backwards? Perhaps a time where the work lacked significance, purpose or meaning?

Talk about a buzz kill. These seasons are tough, and we have all had them.

We go through times of desolation and we go through times of consolation in life. Desolation is a season when listen intently to what we need to survive or sustain and we move toward that. We move toward self, away from charity and a generous spirit. Everyone goes through it. No one likes it. Consolation, on the other hand, finds us moving toward faith, towards charity, towards community and trust.

I am learning to appreciate having guidance during both seasons and the best guides do not attempt to bring consolation during the desolate times. Instead they bring presence and empathic listening.

Their guidance is not there to make us feel better but, rather, to reflect reality and orient us toward the truth of our deeper needs. They direct us to listen well, to resist making changes, to being open to comfort and perspective from God and those who care most deeply for us.

Most of us have meaningful work filled with challenging aspects. They trigger us and we seek to fight, flee, appease or even freeze up. These are often the gateway to desolation.

If you are in a season of desolation now, you are not alone. Consolation is coming but it is not the reward of enduring the valley. Rather, it is the gift of God as we learn to trust. He is the one who guides and carries us out and up. And he sends good guides to aid us.

If you need a guide during this season, there are good ones out there. I encourage you to seek one out. Great counsel is available. Shoot for the moon here! Ask for help from someone who understands both the desolation and the consolation seasons.

If you are in a time of consolation, I strongly encourage you not to abandon guidance but to press in.

Wherever you are today, I ask and hope God’s blessing over you as you seek to do meaningful work.

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