I’ll be honest with you: I hate the phrase “a balanced life”. Jesus was one of the most unbalanced people in history. Seriously, who fasts for 40 days? Who in their right mind consistently challenges their religious leaders? Who stays up all night praying? Who tells people to take up their cross and choose the narrow, hard path over the wide and easy one? Balanced people? No, I don’t think so.
Jesus calls us to be slaves of God. Is slavery balanced? In Luke 17 Jesus talks about the life of a slave.
“Suppose one of you has a slave plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the slave when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink?'”
The very fact that the term work-life balance exists implies that things are inherently out of balance—that there’s something broken that needs to be fixed. And the implication, at least in Christian circles is that “work” is bad and “life” is good. The thinking is that the two are mutually exclusive, when in reality, they’re inseparably interwoven parts of the same whole.
As an entrepreneur who has started 10 businesses and 3 non-profits, I’ve grown frustrated at the way mission organizations treat B4Ters who are entrepreneurs. Surely we are the minority, a special breed, one who are set apart. There needs to be greater understanding to help the normal majority to gain a perspective on how our lives actually work. We should not be expected to conform to the rules of others, when God has created us to be rule breakers. Did Jesus break any rules? When I raise that question I am quickly told that Jesus was God. True, I am not God, but He has filled me with His presence and as a Christian we are “little Christ’s” who are made in His image.
Everyone of us is different; different gifting, different experiences, different calling. Who we are is not to be compartmentalized. Personally, I am a father, husband, business owner, team leader, basketball coach, mentor, and lover of Jesus, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I may be coaching the basketball team in the evening, but I am still a business owner. When I am at work, I am still a father. I am not any less “me” when I’m answering work emails nor am I any more “me” when I am enjoying supper with my family at home.
Wherever you are and whatever you do, you are you. Understand that work and life are not going to be separated by something as simple as a hyphen. Jesus’ day, and our days, are not arranged on a scale that is seeking equilibrium.
I love what you said in Part II of this blog post: “Stop treating your personal life as something you have to make time for and your work life as something you have to apologize for.” This concisely put into words something I felt like the Lord has been showing me lately. Thank you!
As a believer, why would we want to view things in any way other than how God sees them? We ask God to give us “His eyes” and “His vision” and should want to see the world just the way He does, which includes work.
This was a very timely post for me as I was working longer days this past week and was encouraged and reminded to not view work as something I “have” to do, but something I “get” to do as I press into the blessing of work and stewarding the specific gifts and abilities the Lord has given me as a member of the Body of Christ.
Grateful for you and praying for you Patrick!
Thanks Ross, glad it's help. Keep plowing and sowing!