THE WORKAHOLIC

 

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.

ROMANS 8:15

Living a balanced life is evidence of a Spirit-led life. Working long hours can lead to significant problems in our lives.

One reason we overwork is that we often think we must do so in order to keep up with our workload. Like any compulsive behavior, however, there is usually something beneath this reasoning. As a former workaholic myself, I can tell you that the root of overworking is often (1) a fear of loss and (2) a need for self-acceptance created by performance.

The fear-of-loss issue is often a fear of what will happen if we don’t work long hours, and this fear is often subconscious. For example, our fear that there may not be enough money if we don’t work long hours can drive us to overwork. In addition, we often have an inaccurate view of what is enough, which drives us to greater levels of achievement because we believe that a financial reward will ensure protection against potential financial disaster. As a side effect of overworking, we’ll often find that those around us feel shamed if they do not work at the same level—and the cycle repeats itself, because others become intimidated by the unspoken directive that long hours are required. This leads to a whole new set of problems.

The second root of overworking is our need to gain self-acceptance and esteem from our jobs. It is rewarding to see something come from our efforts. However, when we begin to be driven to work, it becomes an unhealthy condition. We begin to gain self-esteem needs from our performance instead of from our position in Christ.

So, in order to avoid allowing work to become an idol and a compulsive behavior, we must maintain a balance in which we spend quality time with the Lord, our families and fellow believers.

Sometimes the greatest exercise of faith is to work only 40 hours a week. This ensures that the outcome of our work is dependent upon God, not our self-effort.

 

 

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.


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