How many of these statements describe you?
â€¢ You pride yourself on working 50+ hours a week at the church.
â€¢ You frequently miss personal and family events and cancel plans with friends.
â€¢ You say, â€œLet me just finish this one thingâ€ all the time.
â€¢ You check email after midnight and/or the second you wake up.
â€¢ Your kids have to holler at youâ€”several timesâ€”to get you to look up from your laptop.
Believe me, this is a test you donâ€™t want to ace. You need a break. You need to â€œgo darkâ€ once in a while. Itâ€™s not good to be â€œonâ€ all the time. Two reasons we resist this are:
1. Unhealthy expectations. Often we donâ€™t turn it off because our senior pastor or supervisor doesnâ€™t let usâ€”or at least thatâ€™s what we think. We assume overworking is a sign of good job performance, when it really drives us to a dangerous place and perpetuates unreasonable expectations. If you manage others, set an example by going home on time. If youâ€™re job-hunting, inquire about typical work habits. And if youâ€™re in a bad situation, get out or nudge the culture toward health.
2. Brokenness. Itâ€™s easy to fall into the trap of self-importance, even outright arrogance. Will the world really fall apart if you miss youth group one week? It feels nice to be noticed when youâ€™re gone, but we take it too far. Pray that God will help you fight against personal insecurities and mold your heart into healthy balance.
Thereâ€™s hope, but it starts with some tough changes. See below for a few tips for fighting back against unhealthy expectations and brokenness.
Go + Stop + Go = Health!
â€¢ First, pray for your heart and health.
â€¢ Start every day in time with God.
â€¢ Track your hours and see where you can gain back some time.
â€¢ Take a day off every week.
â€¢ Turn off email alerts on your day off.
â€¢ Donâ€™t bring your laptop home.
â€¢ Limit the number of nights youâ€™re away from home each week.
â€¢ Find a hobby that fills you up.
â€¢ Have a frank conversation with your boss about hours and expectations.
â€¢ Practice saying no.
â€¢ Schedule vacation time right now for the next two years.
â€¢ Invite accountability in this area.
Originally appeared in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of Group Magazine. Donâ€™t get the magazine yet? Hit this link to subscribe and get in on the action today!