Sometimes it is better to face it than to deny it; work can become all-consuming. It happens to the best of us. We have priorities and we reset our priorities over and over. God first, family second, work third. And then what happens is that someone who cares for us either gently (or angrily) points out that “we’ve done it again” and our priorities have turned back into, work first…work second…and work third. I’ve had it happen to me so many times in my career that I can’t count the conversations and the looks in the mirror. I also see it happening around me all the time. Right now I have a very good friend who just started a new job and he is already all-consumed with work. He loves the new job and company so he is happy and his wife and kids are happy that he is happy again, but everyone knows that this honeymoon period of never letting the Blackberry out of his hand or not having anything to talk about other than work, just can’t go on for long. I’m even giving him the six-month grace period to get settled and then if things aren’t different, it will be time for the “talk”. Why is it that we let our work take over our lives? The same work that we can’t wait to retire from or get a vacation away from, we allow to creep in and infest every waking moment and thought? It’s almost self-punishment, but I would venture to say that nearly all of us have had this happen to us, more than once. Last year a young man, who is wise beyond his age, asked me what to do to keep from having work take over his life. My advice was that because work is always additive (more to do, more to take on, etc.) that thinking that one can subtract work and fill the glass with something else will never succeed. Instead, other things need to be poured into the life glass that are important enough to displace work. Like the glass that is already full, drop some pebbles in to get rid of some of the water. As believers we have the great additive to displace our obsession with work. Our minds that are full and flowing with thoughts about our jobs need to be freed by adding in other thoughts. God calls this prayer. Read along in 1 Thessalonians: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Note, “never stop praying”. If you suffer from the all-consuming obsession of work and you find yourself caught in the priority spiral of work first and all other second, then begin to replace the obsessive thoughts with prayer and watch what happens. Start today with the top of your prayer list being a request to God to have His thoughts and His words replace the thoughts of work and then say that prayer over and over throughout the day. God wants us all-consumed with Him first and from there He will take good care over of us and over our work. There is no better time that today to let God be the one who rearranges our priorities.
Reference: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New Living Testament)