Labor Lessons

Today we celebrate the labor of the American worker.  It doesn’t matter what type of work we do, there is something built deep in us to reach for work that matters, work that brings significance – we long to make a positive difference in the world.  The word “work” in this post is defined as labor whether it occurs in or outside of the home.

Labor Lessons


Work will give us many character building days.  When my children were young I had the privilege of staying at home with them.  I would say the best education I ever received was learning skills and discovering my talents while my two little ones grew up.  (One of those skills was making cupcakes.) Many times I came to the end of myself – there is a reason childbirth is called labor.  In fact, I often state that I helped my children grow up but God used my children to grow me up.  It was when my daughter headed toward college, with my son a few years behind her, I placed my foot back in the employment pool.  I did this in baby steps – first a part-time job in a small business, then a 9-month a year job at an elementary school and finally where I have been for the past 10 years  – full time employment with a university.  

One particular job was not a great fit for me – it was the reentry part time job after 14 years away from an office environment.   My first clue I had some catch-up work ahead of me was when I asked where the pink While You Were Out pads were to take down a phone message and discovered there was something built into the phone called voicemail which allowed me to  transfer the person directly to someone’s virtual mailbox where they could leave their own message.  Who knew?  It was an uncomfortable place to be and I often felt relieved when my 5 hours were over.  It is exhausting walking on eggshells in a work environment.   Although I am grateful the small business gave me a chance to build up my skills,  the day they “let me go” I found myself skipping down the grocery store aisle – Note:  the skipping happened after a few tears had been shed due to the fact I had been fired for the first time in my life and my pride was hurt.  I knew in my heart I’d be leaving that job soon but it’s always easier when you are the one saying goodbye first.  Oh well – another character building teachable moment.  But during those days in this job there were a few ideas I kept in the forefront of my mind to keep me motivated, dressed and there on time each day:

  1.  Give the best to the task at hand –  Strive for a high standard of excellence.  
  2. Choose to bring a level of engagement and joy into each task and remember there really are no small tasks – those small tasks allow bigger tasks to be accomplished.
  3. Keep the ones who you are doing this for as a constant beacon.  Knowing who will benefit from our  labor is empowering whether it is our children, family, community, country, church or another person.
  4. Work to live – not live to work.

Sometimes we get discouraged that we aren’t doing what we think is “important work.”  But everyday we have opportunities to do work that impact others  lives.  A simple smile to a stranger, wiping messy little fingers, a kind word to a coworker, encouraging a new mom, learning a new skill that can be applied to your work and personal life, placing a card in the mail or picking up the phone to say hi.  We can give our time to organizations that are waiting for exactly the skills or teachable heart we each possess.

Because I am older, I have the advantage of looking back through time and recognize the good that came out of that bad part-time situation.  My skills increased so I could land at a job that I loved working with teachers and administration at an elementary school and still have my summers off.   After four years in that job, my husband lost his job and I needed to help our family out a bit more than my current job could provide.   Because of the skills I had learned in this job I was hired at Arizona State University and have been able to provide medical insurance and a tuition discount for my children’s college educations. 

I still do my best to apply to 4 ideas listed above and have learned to create areas where I touch the world outside  of my job – this blog for example and being able to come alongside others to build healthy habits.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1st Corinthians 10:31

Deliciously Inspired’s mission is to inspire healthy habits in an environment of continued learning. One of the greatest components of being successful in our nutrition, fitness, health, home, family, emotions, relationships, and walk with the Lord is the ability to grow and search for the resources that fit today’s need. We think of resources as a variety of 3 x 5 recipes cards, ideas that have the ability to enhance life one day at a time. Our goal is to enable individuals to take care of themselves so they are in a better position to positively touch their circle of influence which in turn has the potential to make the world a better place.