Facing the Lion’s Den

“Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.” (Daniel 6:4 NLT)

Are you working in a high-stress work environment? Work-related stress is not new. One person who worked in a high-stress environment was Daniel. His problems with his co-workers escalated to such a high level that his life became endangered. In fact, his co-workers instigated the whole drama that led him to the mouth of the lion’s den. That’s a high-stress work environment!

I have worked in many high-stress work environments. Here is my short list of workplace and work-related stressors:

*conflict with co-workers
*conflict with a supervisor
*difficulties managing a team of co-workers
*heavy work load due to an expanding, successful business
*workplace downsizing
*personal/family issues that threaten effectiveness at work
*work deadlines that are not in alignment with available resources

What can you do to relieve the stress? Here are a few strategies that have helped me over the years:

1. Take God with you. Start your day off with prayer and meditation on Scripture. Pray for your co-workers and your place of employment. Recognize that God is going with you into your workplace. He will take care of you just like He took care of Daniel.

2. Do your job with excellence. In Daniel chapter 6, we can read about Daniel’s experiences at work. Even though he was under tremendous pressure, he did his job with excellence. The verse above says he was “faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.” Emulate Daniel’s workplace ethic, no matter how tough the environment.

3. Take care of your body. When you find yourself in a high-stress environment, resist neglecting your body. Avoid food that isn’t good for you. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. One website that I refer to for information on health, exercise, nutrition and how to address stress is Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. You might find some information that will help you there. Take care of yourself so you can be strong in the midst of your stressful situation.

4. Nurture your personal identity. Remember that you are a child of God first and an employee second. Don’t allow your workplace stress to affect your self-esteem. Even when life is at its worst, your value in God’s sight never diminishes.

5. Determine when it’s time to move on. In Daniel’s case, he was exonerated and promoted while his co-workers were punished. He continued to excel in the same workplace for many years after he faced the lion’s den. But your situation may be quite different. Only you can determine how much stress you are wiling to endure. Carefully consider your options. It may be time for you to move on to another job or explore starting your own business.

How do you relieve workplace/work-related stress?

About Linda Freeman

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Linda Pulley Freeman combines her specialized training in environmental and chemical engineering with her deep ministerial commitment as she serves mission fields at home and abroad.

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