Learning how to balance work and life isn’t easy. You may manage a business, work from home, or commute. Your entrepreneurial spirit may motivate you to start a new venture. Whatever the goals, it’s essential for Christians to “get” the importance of work-life balance.
Definitions of work-life balance change as your life changes. When you’re out of work, you work hard to get back in the game. When business thrives, you adjust to new demands. When you’re short-staffed or a crisis comes along, you meet pressing needs.
Achieving Christ-centered work-life balance requires faith, flexibility, and frequent reality checks. There are only so many hours, days, and years in your life. What really matters to you? Do your goals and schedules reflect that? If roles conflict, you can’t care for yourself or those around you. It can drain your energy, rob your peace of mind, steal your joy, and crowd out more godly goals.
Your work-life balance matters to God
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
[Matthew 6:33, ESV]
How can you achieve, maintain, or improve work-life balance ? God understands that we’re only human. He blesses our efforts while warning slackers. There are over 35 Biblical references to sluggards – the habitually idle or lazy.
Paul warns, “If anyone is unwilling to work, let him not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10, NKJV).” God sets a high bar. Still, Christ also reminds His disciples to step aside and rest awhile when crowds press in, and there’s literally no time to eat (Mark 6:31, NKJV).
God wants us to work diligently, while also taking time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. He calls us to worship and rest on Sundays (Geneses 2:2-3, ESV). Work matters, but relaxation and relationships matter, too (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV). Whatever life brings, Christ assures us we can always turn to Him:
“Come to Me all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
[Matthew 11:28, NIV]
The high costs of work-related stress
U.S. Department of Labor studies confirm that demanding schedules and work expectations add to worker fatigue and other serious problems. Top stressors include:
- Long hours
- Low pay
- Lack of job security
- Extended, irregular, or random “on-call” shifts
Related costs include:
- Decreased alertness
- Lower work quality
- More errors
- Productivity and income losses
- Increased illness and injury risk
- Sleep, eating, and health disorders
Relentless pressure causes problems ranging from headaches, back pain, depression, and anxiety to high blood pressure and heart disease. For some, it can lead to anger, abuse, violence, or even suicide. Harvard research shows that suicides are often impulsive.
Most survivors who got help didn’t attempt suicide again. The takeaway? Humans aren’t invincible, but – whatever the heartbreak – life gets better if you get help, make changes, and stay hopeful through hard times.
There are only so many hours, days, and years in your life. What really matters to you? Do your goals and schedules reflect that?
Biblical work-life balance tips from an insect
The tiny and unassuming ant masters the art of work-life balance. Proverbs reminds us to “consider her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6, ASV). What do we know about ants? They’re smart, social creatures who love the light. They’re organized, focused, and disciplined. They operate elaborate farming systems with clear job descriptions for ants of varied talents, skills, and callings.
Specialized scout-ants find new food sources. They teach others where and how to find the food. Colonies of ants gather, carry, and compost leaves. They sow, fertilize, weed, and prune crops. They harvest and eat their produce. They set aside seeds in underground storehouses.
You might see a neat line of ants carrying one leaf per ant, on a mission. Leaders and followers pace themselves. If a follower lags, the leader slows down. If a follower closes in, the leader speeds up. Other followers watch and adjust their speed as they go.
Ants share talents, divide labor, work hard, and stay together. They respect and help others. They save for a rainy day and enjoy the fruits of their labor – a worthy example of work-life balance.
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