new yearToday is the day.  The first day back to work in the New Year.  How do you intend to ring in the New Year at your place of work?

Facebook blew up yesterday with New Years Resolutions, or One Word for 2014, and one bible verse to focus on.  But today… well, today is reality.  Back to the grind.  No more holiday festivities to look forward, no more paid time off, no more quick shopping trips over the noon hour.  Nope, today, it’s back to the grindstone.

And, as idealistic as many of our New Years thoughts are, let’s be honest… it’s hard getting back into the groove of things.  And no one did your work while you were away, so you’re likely overwhelmed.

If you’re like me, when you’re overwhelmed, little things can turn into big things.  And before you know it, all the positive thoughts that you had going for the 2014 year, well, they may not be so positive.

So how do we do it?  How do we step into the office door this morning and keep our perspective for more than one day?  (Or maybe one hour?)  I have two bits of advice.

First – focus on your strengths.  Take five minutes and just jot down a list of 5 things you are good at, or that you see as your strengths.

It’s easy to point out our weaknesses and to say – “I need to work on that.”  It’s a lot harder to remember our strengths when we are feeling overwhelmed.  If we focus on our strengths and work from our strengths, it becomes much easier to stay positive!

Second, write out 2 things at work that you can pray for.  Be brave and write down the name of that one person who you most often struggle with.  We all have one.  Jot their name down.  And then write down one major reason you are blessed to work where you work.

Now, put these two lists someplace that you will see them regularly.  Throughout your day, look at your strengths, and just whisper Thank you to Jesus – for how he created you, for the unique abilities he blessed you with, and for how he allows you to utilize your strengths at work.

And pray.  Yep, at work – pray.  Each time that “person” is getting a bit under your skin, stop your thoughts, and just say a prayer for them.  Maybe you’ll pray – Jesus, give me eyes to see her like you see her right now.”  Maybe you’ll pray, Jesus bless her and her family, whatever it is  – just pray!  If you commit to a heart of prayer for the hardest person, you’ll be surprised how it changes your perspective when you need it the most.  You may be surprised at what you learn about this person by silently standing with Jesus and praying for them.

And give God thanks.  Whatever it is that you are most thankful for at work, let him know.  It’s true, you may not be in your dream job right now.  That’s ok.  You still have something to be thankful for.  Thank him for having a job.  (Many are without!) and ask him to use you where you are.

5 strengths and 2 prayers.  Maybe, just maybe they’ll make a difference.  I’m praying today that you go home tonight with a smile on your face and a passion for encountering Jesus at work in 2014.