I once described to a friend that I was feeling like a filthy mop. I pictured myself being pushed across the floor, absorbing all the mess and the grime, working tirelessly while no one was looking. I explained feeling like everyone else was busy doing their glamorous jobs, living a life of ease and comfort, while I was covered in dirt somewhere in a broom closet.
It felt like each person walked across the sparkling clean floor without knowing I was ever there. Not much time would pass before I would be needed again to quietly clean a new mess.
I felt rejected, heartbroken, angry, and alone. I felt like the invisible servant.
The Measure of Your Worth
Our culture promotes an idea that our position or occupation is directly linked to our level of worth. The number of zeroes in your check, the number of people working under you, and the number of letters behind your name are often our culture’s measure of success. The message we receive time and time again is the higher your position, the higher your intrinsic value. Letting ourselves get caught up in this perpetual rat race only leaves us feeling dissatisfied at best and bitter at worst.
Theodore Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy. When I’m tempted to compare my journey with others and to let my dissatisfaction turn into bitterness, I find comfort in the character of Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, washed his own disciple’s feet. John 13:3-4 says, “Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
Because Jesus knew his value in God, he could humble himself and serve. He knew that doing the thankless and less visible jobs didn’t indicate that he was less important than others. Jesus was happy to serve without bitterness because he got his identity from God and not from his earthly position.
Comfort in God’s Word
If you feel overlooked, underappreciated, and invisible at your job, look up. If you feel like you have no identity outside of being the cook, maid, and babysitter at home, look up. If you work harder than everyone but you never seem to be recognized, look up.
When you’re tempted to let bitterness poison and harden your heart, you can remember Jesus’s character and look to these verses for comfort and assurance:
- We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up. — Hebrews 12:2-3 (CEV)
- Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever. — 1 John 2:16 -17 (CEV)
- Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. But Christ has no favorites! — Colossians 3:23-25a (CEV)
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