This article is by Amanda Lawson and published by Faith Driven Entrepreneur
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
“I can’t tell if meeting someone on zoom actually counts as meeting them.” I heard this on a zoom call a few weeks ago and it struck me. Video calls and conference calls existed before COVID-19, and international business necessitated distanced communication, but now that the world is opening again, statements like this beg the question: do we remember how to be social entrepreneurs? What has the pandemic taught us, forced us to reconcile with or reconsider when it comes to our interpersonal interactions? What comes next?
As we enter into a season many initially expected to come last summer, but perhaps more recently wondered if it would ever arrive, the world is beginning to open. While ebbs and flows of mask mandates and restrictions of public gatherings may continue, we are finding ourselves at a point where we need to consider what it means to be “social” again, both in business and community. Regardless of what the last year and a half has looked like for your job, odds are, you’re starting to see more of your coworkers again…even if it’s just the bottom half of their faces.
Change is hard. To some degree, we’ve acclimated to remote or hybrid work, wearing masks in the office, the joy of wearing sweatpants 7 days a week because video calls only require partial professionalism. So, as we begin the transition back, how do we do it? More importantly, how do we do it in a way that glorifies the Lord, especially amidst varied and emotionally charged opinions about life after COVID?
The short answer: grace. Lots of grace. That includes grace for yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with the concept of grace for myself. It makes perfect sense that God has grace for you, and it’s pretty easy for me to extend grace to you, too; I just don’t have a particularly solid grasp on grace for myself. We are all in uncharted waters. So what does it look like to grow in grace and re-establish the social connections we have with our coworkers and community?
Remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
We are all kind of making it up as we go, trying our best and seeking wisdom and counsel, but nevertheless, winging it. None of us have ever come out of a pandemic before. Fortunately, where we don’t have all the answers, there is grace. We cannot forget that He is the source of wisdom, comfort, and peace. His grace is enough in all circumstances, especially as we walk in unknown times.
Keep coming back to the Source.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
The world has changed. God hasn’t. Your boss or coworkers may be hard to reach. God isn’t. Your schedule and to-do list may be ambiguous. God’s Word is clear and consistent. In every season of life, especially in times of transition, we have to stay close to the throne of grace. The beautiful news is, we can. He is always accessible to us. Whether it’s listening to the Word on your commute or taking a few minutes over lunch to open your Bible app, staying connected to the Word is foundational to loving and working well.
Speak life into your work and coworkers.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
We’ve all been there. Gossiping or bad-mouthing a coworker or bashing some policy seems to be a tried and true way to bond with coworkers. Except that the bond you form is entirely negative and, when brought int the light, can be devastating to those around you. So instead of getting into heated conversations about the company’s mask policy or your thoughts on your (un)vaccinated coworker, start a conversation about the unexpected blessings you experienced working from home (there are some, however small they may seem). That way, you set the tone of encouragement rather than heaping additional complication and stress on yourself and your coworkers.
Seek unity at work.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
Part of having grace for others (and yourself) is understanding that some things are out of your control. A coworker who simply refuses to engage in positive conversation or a boss who stresses competition might be beyond your influence. But as far as it depends on you, seek peace. Know what you can and can’t control. You may not be able to improve a situation, but you can be intentional about not adding to it. Don’t add to the tension by joining in on the gossip or by “submitting” to the boss passive aggressively. Remember that your joy comes from the Lord, not your work environment.
Be intentional with those around you.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
God is sovereign. He has you in the job you have for a reason, with the coworkers you have for a reason. Finding ways to cultivate community, to encourage each other in all of our work, is crucial to living out the calling God has placed in all of us to glorify Him. This could be as simple as inviting a coworker to share a meal in the break room, buying your administrative assistant coffee, writing a short note of encouragement to an officemate who is struggling.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:8-10
What the world needs now—and always has, and always will—is love. As faith driven entrepreneurs, we know that the core of that love is the gospel. As we return to some semblance of “normal,” we need to do so with the love that comes from God, that we have experienced through His grace. Part of that is stewarding the gifts we’ve been given, materially and socially, to serve our neighbors. Perhaps that means buying a meal for the single parent who has spent the last year working, taking care of kids, and homeschooling simultaneously. Maybe it’s organizing a happy hour, a Bible study, or a carpool. One thing is certain, as we stay connected to the Lord and seek His will for our gifts, He is faithful to lead us in how to love people well.