At the inaugural Catholic Assembly for Business breakfast Monsignor Stuart Swetland spoke on the Theology of Work. The Theology of Work is exciting for Christian women entrepreneurs because it demonstrates how our approach to work is in alignment with God’s will and on the cutting edge of our culture.
Here are some some general concepts around the Theology of Work from the talk. I invite you to assess yourself and your relationship with work with some simple questions.
GENERAL CONCEPTS – The Theology of Work
Everyone works in some capacity. This philosophy applies whether you are single, married, a homemaker, a mom, employed full or part-time, inside or outside of the home, or have your own business. Only humans can work. Animals don’t work, because work is a choice. People can decide not to work.
Monsignor Swetland highlighted that the proper relationships with work would solve many of the ills of our society. Work has two dimensions: affective and objective. The affective dimension is what the work does for the worker. The objective dimension speaks about the powerful unleashing of creativity work has the potential to do, particularly with capitalism. This creative force provides those you serve with greater value.
Depending on your approach to your work in your life, you provide varying degrees of worth to those you serve. By assessing yourself in light of the affective and objective dimensions of work, you will discover your strengths and challenges around work.
Work and its value are not just about money. For example, it’s been a high priority of mine to be with my kids when they need me after school. The value I am giving them is the sense of security and regular good stress release they can count on most days. They are able to relax and decompress from their days in the comfort of our home. I feel good when I structure my work to make that possible.
Living the Theology of Work as a Christian Women Entrepreneur
In the Christian women entrepreneur movement, female business owners consciously design and manipulate how, when, what, and why they work to maximize the benefit both to themselves and their families as well as those they serve. Here are 5 steps to help you evaluate the work you do:
1. Embrace the Work You’ve Chosen – Are you a frustrated housewife, or someone who always talks about owning your own business but never takes action toward the goal? Or are you a business owner regularly doubting and questioning your jump into entrepreneurialism? Do you work for someone else, and constantly complain about what goes on in the office or your hours or your co-workers? Listen to your inner voice as well as the Holy Spirit to see if you need to deepen your embrace of your current work or make a shift in what work you have chosen to do.
2. Be Honest about How Your Work Is Affecting You – Do you feel a sense of joy and energy burst about your vocation? Or are you feeling more depressed and overwhelmed? Your work should be uplifting to you. If not, make modifications about how you approach your current work. If that doesn’t work, pray for clarity about a bigger move the Holy Spirit might want for you.
3. Utilize Your Gifts to the Fullest – List the gifts God has given you and evaluate how well you are using those gifts in the way you are currently working. See if you might tweak what you do or even make time for a hobby or a way to serve, say in the church, that utilizes those gifts. Joy follows when you put your gifts to good use.
4. Structure Your Work Around Your Vocation – As much as possible make sure that you “work” around the high payoff activities you do in your vocation. The fewer times you have to sacrifice missing those important moments, the more peace and satisfaction you will feel around the work you need to do. For example, work on being present during meals, at key transition points of the day, and during your own prayer time. Even if you work less because you are putting your attention on people at critical time, your work time will be more productive.
5. Look at the Numbers – A home with an out-of-balance budget as well as an unprofitable business is signs you are not adding value in the work you do. Take a hard look at how you do things and ways to get back into alignment with spending less than you make as well as taking funds to invest as you go to increase your wealth pot. Our Creator knows how we are made and what we need to operate properly. Applying the Theology of Work in your life leads to peace as well as prosperity.
The Christian Women Entrepreneur’s Business and Life Tip: Assess your approach to work with these 5 steps and make one resolution to work on over the next month to be in better Divine work alignment.