Christians are called to face pressure and it is only when they are under pressure that their true character is revealed, according to YouTube sensation Eddie Woo.
Mr Woo gave one of the keynote presentations at City Bible Forum’s Life@Work conference on Saturday.
The conference, which ran online for the first time in its eight-year history, was on the topic of pressure in the workplace.
“Like so many things in the past 12 months, what looked like a negative actually turned out to be wonderfully positive. With the conference online it meant people from right around Australia, not just in the capital cities, joined us on the day,” Life@Work national manager Andrew Laird said.
Over 1000 delegates tuned into the conference, with most gathering in homes around the country to hold “watch parties” to stream the event.
According to Mr Woo, Christians face many challenges in the workplace, often crying that it’s not something they signed up for, but the Bible says otherwise.
“The Bible tells us that all Christians are to face pressure from the non-Christian world, and we can see this very clearly in the letter of 1 Peter,” he told online delegates.
Mr Woo unpacked the passage in 1 Peter about earthly masters, who may not be perfect but Christians are called to respect them out of respect for their heavenly Father.
“Sometimes your faith will only become visible to others when you are placed under pressure.” – Eddie Woo
Mental fitness key to managing pressure
Dr Jenny George, who gave the other keynote session at the conference, believes that resilience is key to managing pressure.
Working with her team at Converge, a mental health care company, they have constructed a model called “mental fitness”.
“Mental fitness grows from doing very practical actions in areas of mind, body, spirit and community,” Dr George said at the conference.
To explain the difference between mental fitness and mental health, she used the example of training for a marathon.
To improve fitness levels before a marathon, one would go to the gym and train for a long time, however, if they had a broken leg, they would need to see a doctor first.
“The mental fitness that I’m going to be talking about is good for everyone but it’s not a substitute for getting professional help if you have a mental illness,” she said.
“Don’t try and run on a broken leg, don’t look at mental fitness as the solution for a different problem.”
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Importance of small choices
Wellbeing comes from mental fitness and is a result of the small choices made in life that become habits, Dr George said.
This was put to the test last year when Australians were thrown into lockdown as a result of the pandemic.
“What made it hard, in part, was the disruption that we had in many of these habits that protect us and provide us with the resilience we need,” Dr George said.
Sleeping habits changed, exercise routines disappeared and eating patterns were affected.
“What made [last year] hard, in part, was the disruption that we had in many of these habits that protect us and provide us with the resilience we need.” – Dr Jenny George
“We may all need to be a little more intentional about getting ourselves back on track and putting habits back in place in our lives,” Dr George said.
Small choices are important but it is important to not overthink every choice. Instead, people should focus on choices that form habits, she said.
“While building a habit can be quite conscious, what you’re aiming for is something that is so ingrained that you are no longer expending lots of mental energy to think about it,” she told Hope 103.2.
Discussions surrounding the big issues of mental health, resilience and pressure often focus on big picture things, such as clinical depression, but people usually do not ask the simple questions.
“What we don’t always think about is did I choose to eat the vegetable instead of the packet of chips, and how can that tiny choice be related all the way to my mental health?” she said.
“All those little habits that I have are the thing that ultimately determines some of the really biggest questions that we have, and the biggest influences that are in our lives, and allow us to either withstand or crumble under pressure.”
Pressure reveals true character
The pressures that Christians face will reveal their true character, Mr Woo said.
“Sometimes your faith will only become visible to others when you are placed under pressure,” he said.
“Your kindness can become visible when someone on your team lets you down, and you have the choice of helping them at your own cost or letting them deal with it on their own.”
According to Dr Sam Chan, who also spoke at the conference, pressure is an opportunity for Christians to perform at work.
Unpacking the story of Daniel in the Bible, Dr Chan talked about how Daniel dealt with the ultimate workplace challenge in interpreting the dream of the Babylonian king, who refused to provide details of his dream.
“We should see fear and pressure as mainly a good thing, a challenge and opportunity to perform,” he told delegates.
“Just like Daniel, we can pray to God for Him to give us His wisdom, and His strength, so that we can perform under the pressures that we find ourselves in in the workplace.”
“We should see fear and pressure as mainly a good thing, a challenge and opportunity to perform.” – Dr Sam Chan
Strength to endure pressure
According to Mr Woo, Christians can be strengthened by the knowledge that they have been placed in their workplaces by divine appointment.
“The strength to endure pressure comes from knowing that Jesus was crushed by the pressure that we deserved so that the pressure that we are called to face will not destroy us but will refine our character and reveal God’s character,” he said.
Steve McAlpine also gave a talk on the Book of Daniel and said Christians can persevere knowing that their identity is not tied to their work.
“When something like a really good job is everything to you, you cling to it for your identity,” he told Hope 103.2.
“But when it lets you down, you’re devastated. And, I think, neither cling to it nor be devastated by it liberates you to be a true non-anxious presence in the workplace.”