Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Failure

I have read back over my goals for 2012 to remind myself of what I intend to do to make 2012 my healthiest year ever. For the most part, as the quarter pole of 2012 nears, I feel I've done an acceptable job. Except for one thing. There was one item on my "mental health" goal list that I'd forgotten all about it. As I read it, it screamed one word to me: "FAILURE!" (Not "good effort" or "nice try" or "needs improvement". Those words would have painted a too-rosy picture of my actual behavior.)

What have I failed at? Let me quote myself: "To take one day off per week and do things I find refreshing on that day." FAILURE!

So, here we go. "Hello. My name is Dave and I'm a workaholic." I exhibit all the classic signs of an addiction to work. I think about work issues almost all the time. I have a hard time ending my work day, even with my self-imposed "no work after 10 pm" rule. I find myself, all too often, being emotionally detached when talking to family and friends because work issues are on my mind. And I can't take a day off. Check that. I won't take a day off. Even when commanded by God to do so. (I had a hard time typing that...)

God hates laziness. Time is short and the stakes are high. When people are unwilling to routinely make sacrifices and put forth their best efforts to become the kind of people God wants them to be and produce the fruit that God wants them to produce it is unloving, irresponsible and self-centered. This is true, and I can preach it all day long. But as for the proverbial ditch on the other side of the road...

God hates workaholism. People are finite and their energies are limited. When people are unwilling to let go of their work and take time to refresh themselves, when they believe that the secret to success is more dependent on their effort than God's blessing, then they are proud, irresponsible and self-centered. I don't like preaching that message. Too convicting.

I'd rather burn out that rust out. God, however, finds both options unacceptable. He would probably say something like, "How about burning brightly for a long time?" (His questions always have a way of opening our hearts and bringing enlightenment all at the same time.) Taking a day off is one way we honor God with our work. It helps us to stay healthy and productive. It helps keep us from worshipping our work and helps us to keep our priorities right. Workaholics like me need to surrender to these realities and live accordingly. Please pray that I will.

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