Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dream Big - Are You a Workaholic?

It was market day. Canvas draped poles in the crowded street. Farmers, bakers, artists, and vendors displayed their wares. I walked by slowly, inhaling the scent of warm baked bread with golden crust and the impending rain that is a familiar friend in this country. A couple more blocks and I had arrived at Harriets, a quaint tea house.

I wasted little time in ordering the famous afternoon tea and scone. An overcast sky, an English village, the tones of a British clip echoing around me and a yummy treat on the way - perfect. Only one thing missing. I pulled out my lap top and got to work.

As soon as the waiter brought my tea, I knew I was breaking some unknown rule. He scanned me, smirking at my open lap top, and without a word, sat the tea and scone on my tiny, round table and left, surely to make me the laughing stock of his fellow servers. As I glanced around Harriets, I noticed other amused looks, a few disgusted. I was breaking the time honored tradition of tea time. My crime?

I was working.

Everyone around me chatted with friends or read the paper. A pianist played in the corner, caught up in his fingers tickling the ivories and the sound of content people taking a short time out of their day to stop. A red sign blinking on my forehead couldn't have been more obvious - stupid American.

Hi, my name is Kariss Lynch, and I'm a workaholic. Or I used to be. Or I struggle not to be. On a daily basis. 

In the last couple of years, I have realized how much value I place in work and in my work ethic. I magnified it so much that it became an idol in my life.

In an article studying work trends in America, this writer made this statement: "What makes workaholism such a difficult issue to address is the fact that it's one of the only addictions where sufferers receive rewards and validation. Being perceived as a "go-getter" and financial compensation both legitimize such behavior in a way denied alcoholics and drug addicts, though the effects of workaholism might very well prove almost (or just) as physiologically and psychologically destructive."

Wow! That's a punch in the gut. Don't get me wrong...work is a good thing! It shapes us, makes us better, builds character and provides. But it should never be EVERYTHING. It should never be our source of dependence.

Since starting this new job a few months ago, I have really wrestled to balance work. I want to work to live and not live to work. During work hours, I will work my butt off to do my best and get the job done. When the work day is done, I want to leave the stress and to do list at my desk and focus on whatever activity or person I'm with next. Many days, I feel like my real job starts when I leave my office.

"Love God and Love People"- the most important things in life. How are you doing in those arenas? I can do both in my job, but there is more left when the job is over. The Lord will never ask how many hours I worked, but I what I did with the time I had.

In pursuit of my dreams, I want to work hard, but I want to have the right perspective about work. I want to invest in people and autograph anything and everything I do with excellence, both at work and away. And no matter what, I want this to be said of me: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23. All for His glory!

Are you a workaholic? Take a "tea time" today, and then jump back on the job refreshed.

3 comments:

  1. Henry McLaughlinJuly 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Kariss, Thanks for an excellent and very timely post. I still find myself slipping into workaholicism occasionally. Starting early, working late, and feeling that a bunch of stuff is left undone at the end of the workday. The Lord has been working on me, reminding what my priorities should be: Him first, family, His calling (writing). He's given me insights into managing my time better and I'm getting more done without feeling stressed at the end of the day.

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  2. Henry McLaughlinJuly 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Kariss, Thanks for an excellent and very timely post. I still find myself slipping into workaholicism occasionally. Starting early, working late, and feeling that a bunch of stuff is left undone at the end of the workday. The Lord has been working on me, reminding what my priorities should be: Him first, family, His calling (writing). He's given me insights into managing my time better and I'm getting more done without feeling stressed at the end of the day.

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  3. I'm with you, Henry. It's good to know I'm not alone in this. I'm still figuring out the balance, but I get a little closer every day. I'm praying I see work the way the Lord sees it, and balance everything else accordingly.

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