DAY 10 | emma
reflections of modern babylon
I had great plans for letting my creative juices flowing here, but alas, living in Babylon means I have been working way too many hours this week so have not. I had envisaged painting a picture that demonstrated the difference between Babylon and Zion, Zion was going to be full of flowers and luscious green leaves, representing the Garden of Eden, the ultimate Zion, whereas Babylon was going to be withered plants and thorns, with Babylon sapping the life and the goodness out of the beauty of God’s creation. I hope that gives you the vibe of what I was going for.
But instead of giving you a hopefully beautiful picture, you get some words instead, a brief reflection from me on what it is like to live and work in Babylon, the everyday struggles that brings, and how I’m trying to actively seek God in the everyday.
I work in financial services, my work revolves around politics and politicians, and my office (normally) is in the heart of the City of London, surrounded by some modern day Towers of Babel. It’s about as hedonistic as you can get. The culture is work hard, play harder; self-centred and focused on self-promotion. It’s the definition of a modern day Babylon, pride and idolatry at its heart. It’s a place where God is not sovereign, and it’s all too easy to be consumed by it, and let that affect God’s sovereignty in our own lives. For each of us, our Babylon will look different, it may be social media, certain friends, modern society. When I’ve been too consumed by the Babylon that I work in, it wreaks havoc, it affects my relationships, I burn out, fall all too easily into comparison, and forget who I am and that God has where I am for a purpose. It’s the danger that comes with being passive, not actively seeking God.
But as Christians, we are set apart, we may live in Babylon, but we must strive not to become Babylon ourselves, and constantly remind ourselves that there is a reason that we are in Babylon. That has been a game changer for me, realising that I’m here for a purpose has subtly but fundamentally shifted my perspective on work. I’ve realised that when I see the culture around me through God’s eyes, there are so many opportunities to show God’s love and to lead my life in such a way that it differentiates me, and makes others question what it is that is different in my life.
My life motto has always been ‘kill them with kindness’, and that approach has allowed me to show God’s love and has in many situations meant that I have more positive relationships and been able to work more effectively. When people question why I work in such away, it allows me to share more about my faith.
I’ve also started to put boundaries in place setting our more strictly when I’ll be working, setting my alarm for 6 every evening as a reminder to stop working, albeit I’ve been unsuccessful in sticking to it the last week. Just putting that boundary in place gives me some semblance of a work-life balance, allows me to remind myself that Jesus is King and to pull myself out of Babylon, setting time and myself apart to focus on what really matters in life. I’ve been starting each day by going for a short walk, and just praying over my day and that I’ll see tiny glimmers of heaven on earth, and just having that renewed focus on Christ each morning has made a remarkable difference.
It’s not all plain sailing, I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that it’s a struggle. I have to fight each day not to compare myself to my colleagues around me and watch them engage in the hedonism, wondering what if. I’m such a perfectionist and I hate letting others down that I can let the pressure of work become all-consuming and work crazy hard (hello this week). But actively reminding myself who is sovereign over my life, and realising that God has me right where I am for a purpose, allows me to hit reset and approach the Babylon around me with a new perspective.
When we live our lives in Babylon, with our eyes actively fixed on Jesus, we can see there is beauty and opportunity all around us to show the love of God to others and live out our lives as God intended, as disciples of Christ.