Are You a Workaholic or Know One?

One of the things that I respect so much about my parents is that they’re hard working. They can still out work me any day of the week. They definitely passed on a good work ethic. But, as a result of that hard working upbringing I can feel guilty if I’m resting. In fact, one of my dad’s sayings is, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

When I met Matt I could never just sit and watch a movie. I had to be doing two other things at the same time; It felt lazy to just sit and watch a movie. I’ve come a long way since then. However, I still have a hard time with being still and really resting. Do you ever feel this way?

I recently listened to a podcast (and read it again) on workaholism and have thought about it a lot since. Here are some quotes from it,

….workaholism is one of our society’s most “respected”, even admirable sins. In fact, perhaps one of the places it is most admired is in the church, and especially in the Christian ministry.

Few Christians put this sin in the same category as homosexuality or murder. Yet, workaholism has probably destroyed more souls, especially in Christian homes, and maybe especially in pastors’ and missionaries’ homes, than either of these sins. Many pastors spend their days denouncing this -ism, that -ism, and every other -ism, while seeking and accepting plaudits for their workaholism.

Being in full-time ministry I’ve experienced the overwhelming feeling that I need to be working all the time. I am a supported missionary after-all and God’s work is never done. But I’ve also seen how workaholism has in fact ruined families, caused harm and in time causes burnout. I also struggle with not feeling significant if I’m not “doing” ministry or making a difference somewhere. That too is a lie that has to be confronted with the truth that my significance is in Christ alone and not what I do.

I have learned over the last 10 years of ministry that taking a day of rest, knowing where to go to recharge, and letting God be God and realizing that I am not is crucial to a healthy walk with Christ, healthy relationships and healthy ministry. I’m sure that I’ll continue to learn these lessons over and over because I’m still not great at it. I’m still uncomfortable when I don’t have a full schedule, a daily plan and too much quiet. And perhaps that discomfort should make me realize that I have some room to grow.

Here are some great questions that were also in that podcast,

  • Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
  • Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation?
  • Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
  • Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
  • Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?

Does that sound like someone you know? Your pastor? You?

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you struggle with this? Or maybe you’re not a workaholic but feel like you should be.

In light of the fact that it’s the weekend, and ours is pretty busy, I’m hoping to take some time to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10); I hope that you can do the same.

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