Working mom Laura Nelson explains how she tries to bring Jesus along to her workplace and everywhere she goes.
When people find out that you work at a Catholic church, they often have rose-colored ideas of what that might be like. There’s often an idea that it’s like being on retreat 40 hours a week—with prayer taking up the bulk of the workday. In reality, working at a parish has a lot of the same challenges that any workplace might have.
Long to-do lists cause stress and miscommunications occur even among the holiest of us. And while we have more access to Adoration, Mass, and Reconciliation than most lay people, we also have to get creative and flexible about our prayer lives to make sure they thrive instead of shriveling on the vine.
Not long ago, I described my prayer life at work to someone as “having Jesus in my backpack.” Whatever I do and wherever I go, I try to bring Jesus along. He’s in my thoughts as I focus on recognizing His constant presence in my life. Whatever I’m doing, I invite Him into my work and my life outside of work.
One way I do that is with visual reminders of Who’s in charge. When I started working in parish ministry, I asked my sister to make a mirror for me that said, “Be a reflection of God’s love” on it. It still hangs in my office eight years later. When I look at it, I’m reminded that my job is to let His love flow through me to the world I encounter; that it’s not me but Him that’s at work.
Like you, I’m a busy person. I don’t usually have time to set aside large chunks of time in prayer. But I can bring Jesus with me and invite Him into my life. My spiritual director has her own way of having Jesus in her backpack. She changes her interior convsersations about her day from “I” to “we.” Instead of thinking about her daily tasks in isolation, she includes Jesus. “Jesus, what are we going to do today?” “How are we going to handle this situation?” “What should we say or do for this person?” Just that simple change of pronoun changes her mindset to remind her of Jesus’ presence. And by changing her mindset, she’s inviting Jesus into the details of her life.
How do you work prayer into your busy life? Do you have Jesus in your backpack?
Copyright 2023 Laura Nelson
About the Author
Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Find out more about Laura at LauraBNelson.com.