Andy Stanley wrote a great book called Choosing to Cheat. In it, he makes the assumption that we all cheat certain things in life to achieve other things. We don’t necessarily think of it as cheating, but we do. For instance, when we avoid desert in order to lose weight we are cheating our appetite. When we choose to not spend money on something we want, we are cheating our desires for the sake of our budget. In his estimation, the large majority of people are often cheating their families by giving more to work than it deserves. We are overworked, tired, and often completely out of balance.
Another writer says it this way:
“Workaholism is the most rewarded addiction in our society.”
Not long ago, I heard someone make the following statement:
“Often, if things are good at work we feel like they’re not at home. And if they’re good at home we feel like they’re not at work. We always feel like we could do better somewhere.”
For leaders today, a great tension exists in finding a balance between work life and home life. It can be taxing to try to keep everything moving, achieve success, drive an organization forward, and still be home for family dinner. Believe me, I get it. I love the work I do; the problem is, there’s just often too much of it. Leading a church, coaching and consulting, writing and studying, and working with a Community Development organization are just a few of the things that I pour into and that give me life.
The problem is, sometimes I allow the things of work to become my life. And so I come home at night too tired to fully engage my family. I start to shut down when I hit the couch instead of the bed. I may be in one place, but my mind is in another. And the result? I cheat those around me that shouldn’t be cheated.
So, we all feel this right? We all recognize the need for balance and health and time management? But what do we do about it? I want to take a few posts to spell out five things that I believe can help us learn to cheat in better ways.
1 – BE, don’t DO.
Simply put, the first way we learn to cheat in healthy ways is to recognize that we are human beings, not human doings.
This is perhaps the most difficult element of bringing healthy balance to our time and energy, because we live in a culture that bases our worth on what we do and not always on who we are. I constantly fight the pressure and feelings of inadequacy based on my own performance and status. Here are just a few of the lies that build a “DO” mentality in me rather than a “BE” mentality:
If my church is bigger, I’m better.
If I make more money, I’m worth more.
If my kids don’t have any problems, I’m a successful dad.
If I work more, I’ll produce more.
If I hold it all together, I’m building a legacy.
The reality is these are just what I said–LIES.
We are made, created, and designed to BE. God never in Scripture says He judges the worth of his creation on its ability to do stuff. Instead, he calls us children, sons and daughters adopted and loved… embraced and healed to embrace and heal. And we cannot DO these things as long as we’re caught up in our own doing.
The thing is, none of this is probably new thinking for you. Most of us have heard this conversation before. The question though, is how do we do it? How do we rest in our being and not our doing? Here are a few ideas I’m trying to build into my own life…
Let Sabbath become a rhythm and a discipline. I’ll say more about this in coming posts, but the discipline of rest is a reminder that this world will go on without you. You can’t learn to BE if you don’t learn to REST.
Play well. Right in line with the idea of rest is an idea of play. Find things you love, things that bring you joy, things that you can laugh at with your family, and make time for those things. Yesterday I wandered the woods hunting for deer with a gun in my hand. I didn’t stress, I didn’t plan, and I didn’t worry. Because I was playing just like I did when I was 8 years old with a toy rifle in my hand.
Turn things off. Disconnect. Turn off your e-mail, your texts, your calls, etc. I set my phone on do not disturb from 10 pm to 8 am, and the simple knowledge of that allows me to rest more than I usually do.
Invest in relationships. Spend time and money with people. Find ways to share meals with friends. Learn to slow the pace of life by inviting others into it. When you do this, you’ll be allowing other messy people to mess up your schedule and slow down your production, and while it may be stressful at first, somewhere in that journey you’ll realize you were made for mess and life is more full because of this slower pace.
I’m praying for you this week. And I’m praying for me. Praying that we all may learn to BE a little more than we DO.
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