I was asked to consider writing on work/life balance for this blog post. Apparently, I was deemed worthy of delving into this topic. My first reaction was, “Why me? I don’t feel like I have a handle on this. It doesn’t seem that I am the right person to opine on this topic.”
As I thought further about this topic, I decided to write about it nonetheless, not because I feel that I have a lot that is useful to say, but because I can once more use the opportunity to point to the one who has our entire lives in His care — our Heavenly Father. If anyone sees in me a strong work/life balance, it is only because of God’s work in my life — His guidance, His care, and His provision. It is through this reflection that I was led (go Holy Spirit!) to identify a few thoughts that I hope might be helpful to others.
So here we go. You want work/life balance? I humbly ask you to consider the following:
BALANCE?: Is there really such a thing as work/life balance? Shouldn’t our entire life be devoted to His praise and service? I have often wondered whether work/life balance is even an appropriate goal. It seems to me that God leads us through seasons that are often unbalanced. Think about Moses, who had three distinct seasons in his life — as an “Egyptian”, as a desert shepherd, and as a leader. He certainly didn’t have “balance” at those different times of his life. He was called to trust in God’s provision in all circumstances. And when God saw fit to raise him up as a leader of the Israelites, he certainly did not have a lot of balance throughout the next 40 years as his energy was consumed with God’s calling.
For us today, God leads us through different seasons as well. As a first-year teacher, my season was in spending enormous energy in preparation and nurturing a long-distance relationship with my fiancée. Upon marriage, the season changed to growing as a professional but investing time, energy, and care into a new marriage. Raising children was another season. With our children grown, I am in a season where God has provided me the blessing of nurturing some personal interests. Many of us have experienced a season when our intensity is focused on the illness of a loved one, or even their subsequent death. Indeed, there is no way to have true balance in these circumstances, and perhaps that is just as well because our gracious Lord uses these events to draw us closer to Him. This leads directly to the second point I offer….
PRAYER: As I thought about how I was viewed as someone with work/life balance, I believe I can directly attribute this to the power of prayer in my life. I am not successful from an earthly perspective because I have figured out some sort of magic formula, but only because of Christ working in me. I believe that I have become better at understanding how God is working through me and how I am most effectively deciding to use my time by adding a habit of regular journaling along with deliberately looking back on what I have written periodically as a companion to regular prayer. This spiritual discipline has led me to a greater understanding of my sins and my many imperfections and has helped me to focus on God’s work in and through me in the various seasons of life.
While a work/life balance may be challenging and perhaps even an unreasonable goal, through this desire, God calls us to turn to Him first for His love, subsistence, and guidance. As the psalmist writes, “Cast your cares on him, and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22a). In the end, this is what a work/life balance is all about.