I admit it: this blog post is both a confession and request for prayer. I’m a workaholic, and I know it. I’m prayerfully seeking the Lord’s help to learn how to rest and play – and give myself permission to enjoy it. In that process, I’ve begun to realize what workaholism is costing me:
- Enjoyment in my work. Workaholics like me often work hard in order to get personal and psychological affirmation from others. When you work for that purpose, you never really enjoy the work for what it is.
- Focused time with God. I’m faithful in my Bible study and prayer time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always taken sufficient time just to be with God and meditate on His goodness. That’s hard to do when you’re always thinking about something else to do.
- Time to think. As I write this post, I’ve actually spent the last few hours just relaxing – no phone, no computer, no writing. I’m realizing how much I need more times like these so I can focus and think more clearly when I need to do so.
- Time with my wife. I’m embarrassed to admit this failure, but I’ve not spent nearly the time I need to just walking with my wife, holding her hand, and talking about life. When work gets in the way of these things, something’s clearly amiss.
- Retreats for writing. Of course, I write these blog posts every day. What I haven’t done is set aside intentional time to finish a couple of books I’ve started. Instead, I’ve allowed other work to get in the way of projects I’d really rather be doing.
- Genuine rest in God. Few things are as sweet as really resting in God – having complete peace with Him in the daytime and sleeping deeply in His arms at night. Because we always have something else on our mind, we workaholics seldom get there.
- Time with others I love. I’ve already mentioned my wife, but I add to that list my extended family and the men I’ve mentored through the years. I’ve too often missed opportunities to hang out with them because of my work commitments.
- Blessings of God. This issue is the one that is most challenging me today. God’s been incredibly good to me, but I’m aware that my workaholism is, at its foundation, idolatry. Unless I confess that idolatry and turn from it, I lose God’s blessing.
Please pray for me. And, if you’re a workaholic, too, let us know how we can pray for you. Thanks for lending an ear to me today.
Chuck I seldom comment but this post struck a chord with me. It has my name written beside every single point. It is a sin our society actively encourages. We boast of our busyness. It is indeed idolatry. Prayers my brother. I need them as well.
Let’s then pray for each other this day, Kathy. Thanks for your honesty.
Chuck – I always apprecaite the transparency in your posts. Today’s was particularly timely. Thanks for a great early morning admonition as I start my day. Our workaholism is not a virtue to be praised but a vice to be brought under the Lordship of Christ. I’ve had to repent this morning and by God’s grace am going to do better today than I did yesterday.
Dr. Lawless, thank you for the post. I appreciate your sharpening thoughts.
I am currently learning the necessity of reviewing my priorities weekly as I set my schedule. I used to primarily review my written priorities annually as I set my annual goals; however, I am learning that I need that weekly refocus. I am also just leaning that I need to begin scheduling key priorities at the beginning of the year (a year in advance) to ensure they are not over-run by the “tyranny of the urgent.”
Thank you again for the post.
Thanks for the ideas, David.
What a great and much needed post. There is no doubt that I am guilty of all of them except for number 5, it would be retreats for reading (other than the Bible) for me. I could definitely use some extra prayer in this department because at this moment in my life workaholism is getting worse. I am currently a full-time student at SEBTS (which being out for summer has relieved some stress), a part-time youth minister, and I work a full-time job. All of this added with trying to be a good husband and father make for a very difficult schedule (one with lots of missed quite time), and to add to it my place of employment just informed me this week that my 40+ work hours aren’t enough and that I must start pulling 50-60 hours a week. Needless to say I am worn out and definitely in need of guidance. Before my family and I made the move to SEBTS I made a promise to my wife that I would not travel down this “no family time” workaholic lifestyle again but it looks like I have a front row seat again. Thank you Dr. Lawless for this article.
Praying for you, Kyle. Let’s talk sometime.