Having a faith-based conversation at work might seem like a huge challenge depending on your environment and your mindset. The culture today would prefer we leave the faith stuff at home and just focus on the job at hand. In my own experience, there seems to be 3 reasons why people miss the opportunity to speak openly about their faith.
One reason is fear. In our minds this often sounds like, “I have no idea how to start a faith conversation and what if they ask questions I can’t answer?.” This can also sound like, “What if I offend somone, or what if they judge me because of what I say?” Either way, the fear of what mighthappen often prevents people from taking a bold step to share their faith. Fear can be so debilitating because it projects this picture of the future that is often based on a worst-case scenario. For some reason, we anticipate negative reactions or some type of humiliating outcome. Oftentimes, the terrible future we are envisioning is based on a past experience, but isn’t it crazy how we assume that same bad thing will happen again? Fear is powerful, but doing things in the face of fear is superpowerful! Fear is one of those things that loses its grip on us the more we take action against it.
Over the years, I have watched many Christian friends who were afraid to share their faith slowly conquer their fear by taking small steps towards whatever held them captive. In some cases, it was a simple statement about faith during a conversation with a co-worker. They didn’t engage in a dissertation of any evangelistic concepts; they gently encouraged someone with words from the Bible. Small steps lead to bigger steps that take the power away from fear.
Another reason is we hold back from sharing our faith is doubt – we don’t think it will make a difference. Often this is the result of never seeing the impact of your efforts. Maybe you have dabbled in faith-based conversations in the past and nothing really came of it. However, God reminds us in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.” None of us can see the work God is doing behind the scenes in the lives of people.
I remember a friend of mine inviting me to coffee to share what God had been doing in his life. During the conversation he reminded me of something I had shared with him several years back about the separation we all have with God until we surrender our lives to Jesus. He went on to describe how the words I used captured his attention and how they changed the way he viewed his life. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember the conversation! For some reason I couldn’t recall any of the vivid details my friend remembered. God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are definitely way bigger than mine. I realized that I may never know the impact of what I share with someone, but I can trust that God is at work in the lives of everyone.
The last reason, which is the one I struggle with the most, is distraction. It’s being so caught up in the busyness of the day that we forget the purpose of our lives – the purpose of sharing the message of Jesus every chance we get. The demands of difficult customers, hard-driving bosses and confrontational co-workers can be exhausting. On top of that, loads of emails, back-to-back meetings, and the pressure to perform may not leave much room for sharing our faith. How many times have you gotten to work, jumped into the activity, and realized it was time to go home? The day flew by before you even realized what happened. That fast pace keeps our minds occupied which prevents us from focusing on the God who is waiting for us to invite Him into every part of our day. Fighting distraction is tough, but it’s possible.
I have seen people who rely heavily on their calendars so they block off time to pray. In other cases, friends scheduled time to have lunch with someone who shares their faith so they can encourage each other and be refreshed on their purpose. They helped keep each other accountable for sharing their faith and looking for people to pray for. When we are intentional to place our faith as a high priority in our daily lives, we can begin to break free of distractions and open up opportunities to talk about our faith in a God-honoring way.
The essence of obstacles is that they are to be challenged and conquered. God is ready to be the source of whatever each of us needs to more boldly proclaim the message of Jesus Monday through Friday!