Work-life balance is a bit of a buzz-word, isn’t it?
You may find yourself asking, I wonder if I have good work life balance? Well… just ask your spouse, your family, your friends. They’ll be able to tell you! 😉
If you are in one of those more stressful seasons with work, I have so much compassion for you – I have been there! But what do you do? Well, in our jobs there are seasons where we get busy, where deadlines happen and we get preoccupied. It’s our job to firstly prioritize our time with Jesus and then, I believe it is also key to communicate to our partners what’s going on. When you explain that you might be a little preoccupied, a little tired, working some extra hours – you demonstrate that your priority is to protect the connection and the relationship. This is something that Lauren will tell you, I didn’t used to do very well! But I have really grown in my communication and it really helps me to navigate the work-life balance well now.
For us to know how to achieve a work-life balance, we must first understand the why behind it!
In Luke 10 we have the story of Martha and Mary, with Martha scurrying around hosting, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. They both loved Jesus deeply, but there were some different priorities there. Jesus used the opportunity to teach us that God’s priorities are different from what society expects. It may be difficult, but we have to prioritize.
Martha put her work and momentary stress above her relationship with Jesus. Like Martha, it is so easy for us to be distracted by the noise around us at work – the expectations of others, last minute demands and fires to put out. We all have a tendency to try to get things done and be busy when a lot of the time what God is calling us to do is to sit at his feet. Work life-balance helps us to understand what our priorities are. We say that our priority is Jesus, our spouse, our family, our children. But perhaps these priorities aren’t reflected in our choices, or in our schedule. All of us can relate to times when we have been at work a lot of the time, or even when we’re not at work – we may still be preoccupied with work!
What can we do to work through the distractions that can keep us from choosing Jesus, loving ourselves and those around us well and choosing peace?
The most important discipline we can develop is to spend time with Jesus and abide in Him. We abide by starting our day reading and reflecting on God’s Word. We can abide throughout the day by praying and listening so we can discern what God wants us to do. And we can pause and pray when we encounter stress. When we abide, Jesus gives us strength and helps us recenter on what’s most important.
Jesus praised Mary’s discernment to make the best choice for that moment. Her priority in that moment was her relationship with Jesus, not what others thought she should do. Jesus demonstrated through His own life that everyone needs to take breaks from work to remember their dependence on God. The crowds sought Jesus out for healing and teaching (both good things), but “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a time for everything. But, do you make time to connect with Jesus? As we spend time with Jesus in complete submission, it becomes easier to know what is best in the moment. Then we can set our priorities accordingly.
What is God saying to you about your priorities? Take time to listen to Him for wisdom on what to put first. We want to serve God and love Him with all our hearts and we want to be someone who serves our families with all of our hearts. We want to be a person who is giving compassion and empathy to others. These are the things that people are looking for, especially in these times of anxiety where we really don’t know what’s going to happen next. What I am encouraging us all to do is to put our eyes on Jesus, look to him in the morning and trust in Him to direct our path through the day. Truly then the work life-balance (and everything else) will flow from that.