Being Your Whole Self at Work: A Guide for Marketplace Christians

By Kneisha Sanders

This post was written by Kneisha Sanders of Resolution Coaching. To connect with Kneisha, see the information in the bio at the end of this post.

In the current workplace environment, there is a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As part of the DEI initiative, emphasis is placed on encouraging employees to bring their whole self to work. Often, the phrase “bring your whole self to work” means that you should be your authentic self, fully seen and heard. It’s an invitation for people to feel comfortable in their own skin and show up to work in whatever way they choose. There is a lot of debate around this topic, but that’s not today’s focus. I want to discuss this idea of being your whole self at work.

When I think of our whole self, I think of us as a three-part being — spirit, soul, and body. And to be whole you must understand wholeness.

What is Wholeness?

So, what do I mean by wholeness?

Wholeness is the state of being where each part of who we are is perfectly woven together, operating as a complete function. This was God’s original design for our life: that each part of our three-part being work together as one. Before we became a soul and body, God created us in his image according to his likeness.

Genesis 1:26-27 says,

Then God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (ESV)

In God, wholeness exists. Therefore, we know that because we are created in his image, we have nothing missing.

A white woman stands outside with her hands clasped together, eyes closed, and face toward the sun.

God’s Likeness is Triune

The likeness of God is triune, which is an adjective to describe a three-part being. In the Scripture mentioned, “us” represents the triune Godhead – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When he created us in his image, we were also created as triune beings. 

However, we were created before we had a physical body and soul. Looking at the Trinity — God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — they operate as one, perfectly interwoven to function. That’s how we were created and how God intends for us to be (perfectly interwoven) and what God intends for us to do (function).

Being Our Whole Self at Work

Now using this breakdown of the meaning of wholeness as our operational definition of what it means to be our whole selves, I want to look at us as three parts with our spirit, soul, and body. Spirit is the part of you where your faith, hope, reverence, prayer, and worship reside. The soul is our mind, will, and emotion. This is where we have imagination, conscientiousness, memory, reason, and affection. The body is made up of flesh that allows us to function in the earth; it can also be seen as our five senses.

We are accustomed to tapping into our soul and body in the workplace; however, the struggle is leading by our spirit. Being spirit led is important because God leads us through our spirit. Proverbs 20:27 says that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts (ESV). We are called to be the salt and light of the world. Matthew 5:14–16 states

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

When we lead with our spirit first, our light shines brightly and attracts others. Being our whole self at work requires us to integrate our faith and work. We do that not by focusing on whether people see the parts of us that we want them to see, but by being salt and light. 

How do you walk out the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace? Do you spend time in worship, inviting the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you throughout your workday? These are questions to contemplate as you think about what it looks like for you to be your whole self. If you are interested in learning more, tune in to The Spirit-Led Leader podcast.

Featured photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels; in-text photo by Ben White on Unsplash


What Would You Say to Other Like-Minded Believers?

What would you say if you met with other like-minded believers from all over the world? How would you encourage and pray for them? Our Follower of One community offers a space for believers to gather virtually and share about their faith. You can receive and give prayer, join monthly community gatherings, and even sign up to join a Marketplace Mission Trip — online, of course!

To join our community, visit the Community tab and request a spot in our online community.

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