What does work-life balance mean?
Work-life balance is a popular concept with highly personal definitions. Defining work-life balance varies with the seasons of your life, the nature of your work, and the shared goals of individuals, families, and organizations. Generally, you have a healthy balance if you can work hard and enthusiastically but still have time and energy for the rest of your life.
What does work-life balance mean for you? It’s a balancing act. You may have a growing family. You may earn good money or have financial setbacks. You may manage a household, pursue a degree, take up hobbies, or volunteer. You may launch a start-up, manage a business, or try new work-from-home ideas for Mompreneurs.
It’s important to consider why work-life balance matters to you. To achieve and maintain a work-life balance, you’ll need to set clear priorities, make hard decisions, and give up or delay some of your favorite things.
A servant’s heart: essential to balance
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”Colossians 3:23, ESV
Work is a blessing, a burden, and a calling, no matter how humble the task. Whether you’re folding laundry, driving a forklift, fielding calls, closing sales, or leading corporate teams, you’re helping people who matter. If you have an entrepreneur’s spirit, you’ll wear many hats. You crunch numbers, pitch ideas, and pinch-hit as needed.
At work and after hours, balancing roles requires a servant’s heart. When work seems thankless or overwhelming, remember who’s really “the boss of you.” Does your work glorify God? Ask Him to keep your goals in line with His will for your life and the greater good of others.
Wise work-life priorities pursue lasting treasures
Sometimes, work-life balance is a mindset. During difficult times, consider your motives for working. You may dream of flashier cars, designer labels, and show-homes, but their beauty is fleeting. Chasing “the next big thing” can breed personal frustration and neglect of your family and others who matter to you.
Worthy priorities include earning enough to care for your family, pay off debts, save for a rainy day, stay healthy, help others, enjoy life, and guard family time. It’s not easy, but it’s doable with focus, discipline, and flexibility. As you set goals, be mindful that work-life balance keeps God in the driver’s seat.
No task or role is insignificant – especially in God’s eyes.
In today’s digitized world, boundaries blur and technologies distract. Achieving work-life balance means deciding not to check your devices randomly or be “on-call” for work or frivolous pursuits 24/7.
Unless you’re responding to emergencies, balancing work and life means narrowing attention and availability. To maintain work-life balance, take a cue from Elijah. Ignore the media’s metaphorical earthquakes, windstorms, and fire. Quiet your mind and listen for the still, small voice of God in the gentle breeze (1 Kings 19:11-13, NASB).
Don’t “white-knuckle it”
If you’re chronically stressed, you’re working too hard. Clenched fists and white knuckles are literal and metaphorical signs of internal tension. “White-knuckling it” can happen when you grip the steering wheel of an out-of-control car or cling to a roller-coaster’s protective bar.
During extreme stress, you may grasp an object so tightly it breaks. It’s tempting to ignore work-related stress and push forward. This may get you through a crisis, but chronic stress drains energy reserves. It leads to burnout, poor productivity, strained relationships, and other problems. Work hard and do all you can, not more. Draw on the strength that God supplies for His glory through Christ (1 Peter 4:11, NIV).
Pencils can teach us about work-life balance
As you work, remember that you’re part of something bigger. In his iconic book, “I, Pencil,” Leonard Read cleverly demonstrated the tremendous financial potential and mutual benefits of cooperative effort.
Thousands of people come together to create something as simple and useful as a pencil. The graphite lead, cedar wood, brass trim, yellow paint, black letters, eraser, and even the glue that holds everything together require contributions from near and far.
No task or role is insignificant – especially in God’s eyes. He chose a carpenter as Christ’s earthly father. Jesus chose fishermen as His disciples. Faithful work contributes to and reflects a higher purpose. Whether your business is hauling logs, designing furniture, building homes or painting, decorating, and selling them, it matters. You may catch, package, distribute, cook, or serve fish. Whatever your calling, do it for the Lord.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta worked with a servant’s heart. She didn’t seek honor or riches. She said, “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything, and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil, and He has to sharpen it a little more.”
To achieve true work-life balance, let God be the CEO of your plans, the author of your work, and the One you can trust – especially when your pencil is broken.
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