How Do I Identify the Work That Matters?

woman in green shirt wearing glasses and holding files, looking confused - photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

It can take awhile—sometimes many years—for a person to sort out all that she’s been taught, told, and in some cases manipulated to believe and value. Many people of faith must work through a period of rediscovering and redefining their faith, and quite a few of us, after a long process of interior sorting and pitching, reestablish ourselves in the faith that formed us. Only now it is faith we have examined, owned, dusted off, and refreshed.

And when we reassess all that we’ve been taught and all that we’ve simply picked up over the years, it can be a wonderfully clarifying experience to identify once again what is important. We look with intent and prayer upon our relationships, our work, our possessions, and our pastimes.

Also, we take another look at the “good work” we are trying to do in this world. We try to answer a few questions:

  • Does this activity truly reflect what I want to get accomplished, or is it a distraction?
  • Am I wasting effort, or must I be patient and keep working, having faith that I’m on the right track?
  • Does this organization, faith community, or workplace live out the values I hold dear?
  • Could I be doing something bigger and braver?
  • Am I still waiting for other people’s approval and reward, even though I know what must be done?
  • Should I be doing this same good work but possibly with a different group of people?
  • Have I found a good fit for my own gifts and desires as I do God’s work in the world, or do I try to be like other people whom I admire?
  • Do I have mentors? Can I point to people who inspire me forward as I do God’s work?

For the sake of simplicity, I use “good work” and “God’s work” interchangeably. Anything that truly comes from God will be good for the world. But not everyone is comfortable with the term “God’s work.”

  • How do you know when you are doing the work you should be doing?
  • What has helped you sort out the beliefs and values that are at the core of your life?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

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Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright edited books for 32 years, retiring in 2021. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places and spirituality books Days of Deepening Friendship, The Art of Spiritual Writing, Small Simple Ways: An Ignatian Daybook for Healthy Spiritual Living, and, most recently, Set the World on Fire: A 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church. Vinita is a spiritual director and continues to facilitate retreats and write fiction and nonfiction. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and a cat in Springdale, Arkansas.


  1. How do you know when you are doing the work you should be doing?….. that’s the million dollar question. I struggle with this especially lately.

  2. Hi Vinita,
    You have hit the nail right on the head. I agree fully when you talk about reflecting and identifying the work that matters. It is a wisdom that comes with time accompanied by the desire to do “good work” without labeling it “God’s Work.” It simply shows that God’s work/good work has become the pervading mode of operation in our lives.
    Thank you for sharing your distilled thoughts from the chaos of our sometimes superficial existence of the day.

  3. Love your writings, Vinita! You are on my list of people I’d like to share a meal and conversation with. So – if you’re ever in the KCMO area let me know! 🙂

    Michelle Morris


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