Please take note that we did NOT title this post “Work/Life balance”. As if there are only two goals in a well-rounded life…as if work itself is contrary to life! In truth, a life well-lived balances work with several other important activities that give us depth and meaning, help us to live out our purposes and feed those deep, soul longings we all have within us. It can be helpful to do regular “self checkups” and take an honest assessment of priorities and how we spend our time, in order to be sure these are all being lived out in a healthy way.
We were created to do work, it’s not a bad word! It is also definitely not the ultimate reason for being either. There is a happy medium that for nearly all of us is achievable, and it requires a healthy and fair view of our work and its place in our lives. I believe striving for excellence, being a lifelong learner in your field, and representing yourself and your company well are things everyone ought to do. Honesty, integrity, and a positive attitude should be evident in your workplace interactions, both with customers and co-workers. But I don’t know who out there needs to read this today- WORK HAS a TIME and PLACE! It is not your spouse, child, or best friend. Allowing it to consistently bleed over into other areas can cause undue tension, conflict, and even health issues. Draw boundaries and STICK to THEM.
Service is something that comes easier to come than others, but is essential to a well-balanced life. Real service requires a heart of humility and does not do anything for kudos. Using your gifts to bless the lives of others gives each of us the opportunity to respond to needs and truly connect with others in our community or the community at large. Doing so allows us to form real relationships with others as we work side-by-side to accomplish goals. The ultimate aim should never be to just “drop in” and paint someone’s house in a day- but also meeting and interacting with the family you are serving. Allow your kids to participate and see you serving others, and it’s more likely they will make it a regular practice as well.
Human beings were created to be in community with one another. The strength and nature of our interpersonal relationships has a direct and profound impact on the quality of our lives. Choosing healthy associations and being someone healthy yourself are crucial. Employing kindness and forgiveness is not a weakness, rather it is the “oil” that keeps the engines of our relationships running. And remember- others are flawed works in progress too. Don’t hold people to ridiculously high standards that you can’t meet either!
Relaxation is another one of those things a lot like work- we tend to do way too much of it, or entirely too little. Very few people naturally establish rhythms of rest in their daily, weekly and yearly lives; but there are real benefits to doing so. Get in tune with your body and mind, try to understand when you’ve had enough of any one thing and need rest. Understand that we need moments of rest in our days, hours of rest in our weeks, and days of rest in our years. Trust me, there is no badge of honor waiting for the most overwhelmed and stressed out person there is. So can we all stop trying so hard to earn it?
Moderation in all is really the key point here. Overdoing it on any of these things, or placing any of them in the place in which God belongs, or neglecting proper self-care in favor of their pursuit- well, that’s a recipe for disaster. Left unchecked, these disasters can leave us exhausted, defeated, and full of regret. At the end of life, there is a sharp contrast between those who have lived purposefully and contentedly and those still chasing the “should-haves” and “could-haves” of life. As much of a cliché as this is, there is truly next to no one who wished they had spent more time at work. There are a myriad of other longings expressed and opportunities missed, but these usually focus on other goals- time with family, seeing the world, or becoming proficient at something difficult; just to name a few.