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Are You About the Business of Being About Your Business?

Melisa Stanford Oden
Melissa Stanford Oden

Greetings, Fellow NACSW Members!  

As a confirmed Night Owl, I find that I do my best work in the evenings.  In fact, I operate best between 10 PM – and roughly 12:30 AM.  Sadly, I have been unable to convince the powers that be that workdays should be so flexible.  So, I left the world of the 9-5 workday and began an incredible entrepreneurial journey almost two years ago.  This journey has been the most frightening – yet thrilling – pursuit of my life.  Why would I subject myself to this kind of roller coaster ride, you ask?  It’s simple.  The work that I do is not simply a job.  It is my vocation.  It is my calling in this life.  It is the reason I was put on this planet.

“Vocation” is defined by the dictionary as a particular occupation, business, or profession; a calling; a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career; a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life; a function or station in life to which one is called by God.  The reason I am happy to spend many long hours building a business and teaching social work students is because it is my vocation.  When we are driven by our vocation, everything changes.  So, let me ask you: are you about this business of being about your business?

One of my very favorite teachers was Jack Boland.  Jack was the founding minister of The Church of Today in Detroit, Michigan. In one of his lessons on goal-setting, Jack said that he had been at rest from moving his life forward for too long and he said, “I need to be about this business of being about my business.”  Jack was the very epitome of fulfilling his vocation in this life.  He went into the ministry later in life and lived out his vocation until the day he died. In his lessons, Jack often used his favorite quote by a man named Richard Fillmore who would pop out of bed in the morning and say, “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm as I spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me!”

Is this how you feel about your role as a social worker?  If not, why not?  Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (NLT).  Is this how you operate as you face the daily grind and wade through the mud and the muck of each day as a social worker?  I would encourage you to examine your professional life and if you are not springing out of bed every morning with the zeal and enthusiasm Richard Fillmore talked about, ask yourself why.  Our Heavenly Father has given you the skill set to be a social worker…now go glorify Him with it!  Blessings to you as you live out your vocation!

Melissa O., DHEd, LMSW-IPR, MPH, CHES, is President and Professor-In-Practice of Health Education Resources Network, as well as  an Adjunct Professor of Social Work for Tarleton State University. Melissa has been a member of NACSW since 2011.

6 thoughts on “Are You About the Business of Being About Your Business?

  1. Thanks, Melissa for such an uplifting and challenging reflection. If's good for us, as Christian social workers to be reminded to live out our passions and celebrate the gifts that our Creator has blessed us with. One resource for readers who want to do that, but do not know how to go about it is the book: 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. Dan Miller is a Christian entrepreneur who enjoys helping others find their passion in their work life. Who better to experience that than Christian social workers! All the best in all of your endeavors, Melissa.

  2. Thanks, Rene! I agree that as social workers we need to be reminded to live out our passions and gifts. This is difficult work that we do, and we need people around us who are cheering us on and who we, ourselves, can cheer on! I will certainly take a look at that book. Thanks for the recommendation! And blessing to you as well!!

  3. Dear Melissa,

    Thank you so much for allowing God to use you via your post. I had just prayed for clarity and confirmation from the Lord about some decisions that I need to make, and your post confirmed some things I need to launch into the deep on. Thank you so much!

    1. Oh, Jennifer, this is wonderful news!!! I am so glad that your heart is listening to God and what He has planned for your life. I will pray that you will continue to have clarity and the courage you need to move forward. Blessings to you!!!

  4. Dear Dr. Oden,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I am a Christian and I am excited to hear/see my professor go public with her Christian faith. I praise God for the work He is using you to accomplish. My spirit is uplifted. Thanks.

  5. Elizabeth!!!! I didn't know you were a member of NACSW! So glad to see you in this forum! Thank you so much for your encouraging words, precious woman of God!! I am so glad that your spirit is being refreshed! Blessings to you…

    Dr. O 🙂

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