Pretty much every human on earth overworks, and I’ve recently found myself overworked to the point of making myself sick. As I stepped back and looked at what I’d been doing, I realized I’d lost focus on what really mattered.
This morning I was arguing with God “Let me write this blog post, and then I’ll do a Bible study”. As I waited for the internet to load (which it didn’t), I tried to think of what I would write about. I knew the theme was “working too much”, but besides the fact that I work too much, I didn’t really have anything to write about. Then it hit me that maybe I didn’t have anything to write about because the source of my writing (my Bible studies) weren’t happening.
So, I flipped open my Bible and landed on one of the Thirty Sayings of the Wise. It was Saying 12, Proverbs 23:12 — Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Wow, that hit me hard. I quickly said an apology to God for pushing His wisdom away and valuing work more important than my Bible study. I’ve been so focused on creating content for My Happiness Project, that I began treating it as a series of posts instead of a series of Bible studies.
With my focus back on God and my Bible studies, I flipped through my Bible again and landed on Psalm 81, and God continued to rebuke my negligence. In Psalm 81:6-16, God is calling to the Israelites, telling them of what He’s done for them and asking them to listen to Him. Eventually though, He “gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (v.12). After that, God says that “if my people would only listen to me”, He’d take care of their enemies and provide generously for His people and they would be satisfied. That last word sticks out to me because often when I’m over-working, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction. Either I’m not satisfied with my work or my life, or someone else isn’t satisfied with me. Oftentimes it’s both. To try and gain that satisfaction, I’ll work even harder, and pretty much everything in my life goes downhill, especially my health. Whenever I push myself too hard, I get sick. Really sick. And whenever I get sick, I become absolutely miserable.
The thing I had to realize is I am more important than my work. Getting a monstrous amount of work done is not worth being sick and miserable and dissatisfied. The majority of the time, I will give near 100% of everything I’ve got at that moment. And I need to be satisfied and content that I am enough. It’s one of the lessons I learned from one of my favorite books, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. In everything I do at all times during the day, I need to think “I am (strong, beautiful, smart, etc.) enough”. God sees me as enough too, and looking at myself through God’s eyes allows me to love myself better. I am a flawed, sinful human being who sometimes overworks, but I can love myself because the God of the universe loves me just the way I am.
So to help remind myself that I am enough and I am more important than my work, I’m going to be more conscious of how much work I’m taking on and if I’m letting it define me. If I’m super stressed out, I need to take a break. If I’m solely focused on my work, I need to go do something I enjoy doing. Do you feel stressed out or like your work is defining your life? Take a break. Work is not the most important thing in your life. You are the most important thing in your life. Take a break, doing something you enjoy, and live your life a little.