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A couple weeks ago, we finished a sermon series called Vocation: At Work with Jesus. We talked about the impact our culture has on how we think about work and vocation, and how God wants to break through societal norms to teach us how to live first for His calling. I would describe this as looking "side to side" - we're looking around at our neighbors to see how we're all measuring up when we should be looking to the Lord.  

But I also think many of us have other internalized lessons about work that we need to dig out and examine, and this involves looking back. What did we learn from our families about work, work/life balance, prioritizing, faith, and how they all tie together?  

I grew up in a home of Traditional American Values™, where my dad worked outside the home and my mom "stayed home" with the kids. (I use quotation marks for stayed home because as we kids got older, I don't think my mom got to be at home very much... but that's for another day's writing!) I really thought that I wanted to grow up and be a stay-at-home parent just like my awesome mom. But then I grew up, got married, started having kids... and learned I was not cut from the same cloth! Yes, I get called my mom's name all the time, but God made me in His image and wants me to be part of His family doing the work He called me to! How great is our God that He made each of us to do our own special work (Ephesians 4:16), even when it breaks earthly tradition? I am loved, called, and accepted by my heavenly Father, just as my mom is, and we did not have to do anything to earn that from Him! But I did have to grow into acceptance that my life wasn't going to look how I grew up thinking it would. 

Maybe some of you learned other lessons from your family. Phrases like "nose to the grindstone" and "work comes first" come to mind. Maybe you grew up with an absent parent because their life was at the office. Maybe you had a sibling who tried to follow the American Dream, so you did too because the idea seemed shiny! But the idea has since lost its luster... Or perhaps you grew up with instability due to a directionless parent, and you either have that same foundation of aimlessness or developed an intense need for control and hyper-stability. There are so many ways - good, bad, and neutral - the home we grew up in can influence our thinking. Have you taken the time to figure out where God is in all of that? Because He is way too big to fit in the box of expectations this world programs us with!  

Living with family values is good, but as people who have been chosen to be adopted into God's family (Ephesians 1:5), we should be adopting His family values! Don’t be afraid to dig deep and do needed soul work with God, who created you.  

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:1-4 

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