When we dream about and plan for what our future might look like, rarely do we allot time for painful, uncomfortable, or completely unanticipated events. For Christians, when these situations enter our lives, we often seek strength and renewal from our church and God. While this may satisfy our longing souls on Sunday, how do we continue to live this God-focused life when we show up to work on Monday? Author Nancy E. Nauman shares with us her advice for going “Sunday to Monday.”
4word: Tell our readers a little about your background.
Nancy: “Say it with Flowers.” Not only was I born in the Garden State, New Jersey, but my family had a flower growing business. Robert Nauman & Sons was started by my great-grandfather and supplied local florist shops with fragrant carnations; elegant iris; playful tulips; crimson geraniums and snowy white chrysanthemums. The home I shared with Mom, Dad and a younger sister was built right next door to those glass greenhouses bursting with flowers.
Every Sunday I attended church with my mom and sister. I dutifully attended religious instructions and received the sacraments. But the study of the Bible was not the focus of this denomination. Graduation from grammar school, high school and college all happened in New Jersey. I chose a college with a two-year program because I wanted to get out into the “real world” and attain independence as soon as possible. When I left for college, I attended church occasionally. When I stepped into the “real world” with adult responsibilities my church attendance dropped to Christmas and Easter.
I had a plan for my life. My plan included a “live happily ever after” marriage, a sumptuous home, two kids and a family dog. And, of course a career because that is what the culture in the 70’s told women. We could have a career, marriage and personal fulfillment at the same time! This is what I wanted. I had a plan for my life and with gusto and perseverance I went for it!
I married a man sprinting on the corporate fast track. Two months after our June wedding, he accepted a job in a suburb outside Chicago. My new home was now hundreds of miles away from family, friends and familiar territory. Relocation was never part of my plan.
Interesting events unfolded in my new home in Illinois. My plan didn’t include a husband walking out of the “happily ever after” marriage. My plan didn’t include careers flipped and upended by technology and economic forces. My plan didn’t include the fact that kids aren’t delivered like a hot pizza to the door. My plan didn’t include the absence of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins enjoying the holidays and picnics together. None of this was part of my plan, but I know now it was part of God’s plan.
4word: You had a life altering event at a Starbucks that literally threw you onto a new path. Can you tell us about this?
Nancy: It’s March 3rd, 2004, and I’m enjoying coffee and conversation with a business acquaintance at a local Starbucks. We select a table next to the plate glass window and door at the front of the café. Suddenly, I hear glass and metal “popping” and turn to see a car coming through the glass window and door into the Starbucks. I couldn’t move. It was surreal. Everything appeared to be in slow motion as I tried to “make sense” of what was happening. As the right front wheel of that car closed in on me my last thought was, “Who will take care of Philip?” (My son.)
At that moment, I felt my chair gently “lifted.” It was as if two hands grasped the seat of my chair. The chair was lifted and I was “tossed” out of the path of the car, a Jaguar driven by an elderly man who hit the gas instead of the brake. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t part of the driver’s plan. But, it was God’s plan.
That day my life changed. I knew it was God that kept me from going under that front wheel. It was God who was in control of my life. And my heart knew my life isn’t about my plans – it’s about God’s plan.
God speaks to us in many ways. He speaks to us through the Word, prayer, other people and circumstances. I believe God uses circumstances to get the attention of the hard of hearing – the hard of hearing (like me) driven to accomplish self-created plans. Circumstances that prove He loves you enough to make you stop and listen to what He wants for you. God has a plan for you.
After that day in Starbucks, my life changed. I joined a non-denominational church with an excellent pastoral staff focused on the teachings of the Bible. I joined Bible Study groups and small groups and studied. With gusto and persistence (I now recognize as God-given gifts) I was “tossed” onto a new path!
4word: How did your book “Sunday to Monday” come about?
Nancy: Sunday brought me fulfillment from my pastor’s teachings and fellowship with other believers. I felt enveloped by a blanket of peace. God had my full attention.
What also brought me peace and a sense of God’s presence was the “alone” time I spent with God each morning. Each morning I was filled with anticipation and gratitude for that special time. And, each morning I felt like a young child being separated from their parent that first day of school. I didn’t want that special time to end.
But that inner peace and fulfilled heart would soon evaporate. I was now sitting in my cubicle at work, logging onto my computer and feeling my stomach turn and my throat tighten. My peace was gone. My quiet time with God was gone. There were finger-pointing emails and office doors closed to facilitate soul-tearing gossip. I saw people who were kind and competent stagnate in their careers while management waited for the slightest opportunity to get them out the door. I saw people who cared nothing about others promoted to higher positions. And, if you were to ask – the majority would call themselves Christians.
It was 2011 and this had been my workplace since 2007. I had to earn a paycheck to support myself and my son. But, today was different.
Inside me I heard a whisper, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” These words were the seed for “Sunday to Monday.” The seed took root when I started to ask myself some “What if?” questions. What if Christians were Christians at work? What if we were Christians Monday to Friday? What if we brought our Sunday hearts to work on Monday?”
That started my new purpose – to bring more Sunday hearts to work on Monday. To encourage and equip Christians to be followers of Jesus Christ in their workplace. To bring light to their workplace.
4word: What are “Cubicle Christians?”
Nancy: Cubicle Christians have been led to believe three lies. The first lie is that we live in two worlds – spiritual Sunday and secular Monday. We are told to leave Jesus at the workplace door and play by the secular world’s rules.
The second lie is that we work for the name on our paycheck and not God.
The third lie is that unless we serve as a missionary in a far off land or in full-time ministry – our only service to God is to share our paycheck.
But, the truth is that light, God’s love, can be brought in by every Christian heart when we let Jesus walk with us into our workplace. God has a greater purpose for us than a paycheck.
4word: In your book, Sunday to Monday, you discuss five attributes a heart of a servant needs in order to bring God’s light and love to the workplace. Can you talk us through these five attributes?
Nancy: These attributes are based on Jesus Christ.
- H- Humility is the first. Humility connects you to God and others. Pride separates you from God and others. We know what happens when pride removes God and places self on the throne. How you treat people (all people) will show if you are modeling the attribute of humility or pride.
- E- Excellence is the second attribute. When we work for God we have an internal motivation to “give our best.” When we work for men our motivation is driven from the outside. The carrot – praise and recognition, or the stick – fear and intimidation.
- A- Attitude is something we choose to wear – like picking out an outfit for the day. What attitude should we choose to wear today? Gratitude? Compassion? Peace? The attitude we wear is noticed in our workplace. Let it be the attitude of the heart of a servant.
- R –Relationship is the fourth attribute and is built on three pillars. The three pillars build harmony in all of our relationships. The pillar of “Acceptance” embraces others for who they are – God’s creation. The pillar of “Watch What You Say” creates harmony because words can create harmony or discord in any relationship. The third pillar is “Care about Them” which means kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
- T-Time is God’s gift. Look what Jesus accomplished during the three years He began the work of His Father to the time He gave the ultimate sacrifice – for us. Our time here is finite and our eternity is infinite. We model the time of the Heart of a Servant by making God our priority; accepting that God is in control of timing – not us; and use time to the fullest.
4word: What do you hope to accomplish through Sunday to Monday and your other book Unboxed!?
Nancy: I want more Sunday hearts brought to work on Monday. My desire is to encourage and equip Christians to bring light – God’s love – to their workplace. I want readers to turn to their hearts and question, “What if Christians were Christians in my workplace? What would happen to me; my Christian co-workers; my colleagues who don’t know Jesus?”
I want readers to say, “I can refuse to participate in lunch table gossip. I can stand-up for those who have no voice. I can do what is right even if it means risking my job. I can walk alongside a colleague who is hurting. This is what light looks like and I can do this!”
God does the heavy lifting. We’re not responsible for results – God is. We’re called to bring light to a darkened world so others by seeing our actions will glorify God. I want Christians to soften hearts because of the light they bring to their workplace. God will continue to work in those hearts with His love. Don’t be surprised to see that one of those hearts will be your own.
4word: Do you have any stories of readers who have gone through your book and been able to bring light to their office?
Nancy: One story is of a woman whose motivation and job satisfaction depended on the praise and recognition from others. She had previously worked with management who always praised her work. When she was transferred to another department she found herself working with management that provided “zero” recognition or praise. She became angry and lost her motivation and desire to do her work.
After reading Sunday to Monday and understanding she works for God and not men – everything changed for her. She began focusing on pleasing God and only God. Her management still doesn’t provide praise or recognition – but, now it doesn’t matter to her. She feels peace. Her motivation came back driven by a new purpose. The barrier preventing her from bringing light to her workplace was torn down. She is free to shine bright!
Have you struggled with bringing the joy of Sunday to work with you on Monday? Using Nancy’s words of wisdom, consider how you can start being a light in your office and living to please God rather than men!
What are some examples of being a light in your office?
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Nancy E. Nauman lives in the Chicago metro area and is the mother of a son. She has been in the business world for over 35 years. Her work experience spans across Fortune 500 companies; mid-size to small privately held companies; and as an entrepreneur she launched two business service ventures. Since 2007 to the present – she has been a contractor at AbbVie, a global pharmaceutical company.
In September, 2011, Nancy launched a blog – the Heart of a Servant to encourage Christians to be who they are – followers of Jesus Christ in their workplace. Writing the blog and listening to her readers responses deepened her commitment to encourage and equip Christians in the workplace. In 2012 she began writing the book, Sunday to Monday and published it in August, 2013.
Nancy is the founder of Sunday to Monday an organization purposed to give Christians the resources and encouragement to bring light to their workplace. Visit www.sundaytomonday.com and see how, together, we can flood the workplace with God’s light!