Are You Working Too Much?

Is being a workaholic a good thing?

A person works forty hours per week and it’s considered full-time. Yet some people actually choose to work up to eighty hours per week. Some for money, others to avoid home life, and still others to feel competent. Workaholics will defend their mindset listing all the benefits, but is being a workaholic a good thing?

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.  

Proverbs 23:4-5  NIV

Itʼs useless for you to work from early morning to late at night just to get food to eat. God provides for those he loves even while they sleep.

Psalm 127:2 NIRV

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on
There you are tirelessly breaking your back,
not accepting the time that you lack.
Given your objective you strain to achieve,
not willing to accept the worker's reprieve.

Unwavering, since you answered the call,
weary, but determined never to fall;
Your hands move feverishly through each detail,
mindfully purposed to always prevail.

The hours of each day never suffice;
With determination you'll pay the price.
Weighing the cost you see the fine line,
and the goal, sweet victory, truly sublime.

All those who watch are completely amazed,
admiring your work as you push through, unfazed.
In the frenzy they whisper, pointing out this and that,
trying to figure out how to tell you with tact.

In the midst of their amazement they can't help but wonder
how you have failed to notice your blunder.
And now ruthlessly trying to get your attention,
you barely notice that it's you they beckon.

Reluctantly, you set aside your precious work
and look around to find the family you shirk.
With longing they call you back to their fold,
and you stare and wonder how you've gotten so old.

The above is a poem I wrote back in 2006 reflecting on how people in the working world sometimes have the tendency to lose themselves as the years go by.  Priorities are shifted.  More time is spent away from home in the hustle and bustle of industry and commerce while less time is spent in the home where relationships fail to be nurtured.

Often it starts with a passion for what you love. Youʼve dreamed of doing what you love, what you were born to do. Youʼve spent so much time and money training for it. And now you pour your heart and soul into it. Work dominates your thoughts; itʼs the first thing you think about when you wake up and your final thought as you lay your head on the pillow.

For others the long hours on the job are dedicated to the debts that never seem to go away. You dread waking up and heading off to work. Thereʼs no joy in it anymore. Youʼve lost all your enthusiasm and are left only with the looming impossibility of ever being free from all you owe. At the end of your double shift you come home to find everyone asleep and the loneliness overwhelms you once again.

And sometimes, in order to avoid the stress of home life, many prefer the extra hours at work, fooling themselves into believing that creating a distance from home will make the problems go away.

Signs You’re a Workaholic

Are you a workaholic? See if you find yourself in this list of workaholic habits:

“The workaholic maintains a frantic schedule. He is consistently preoccupied with performance. He finds it difficult to refuse additional responsibilities. He is unable to relax. If someone you know exhibits these characteristics, he or she is probably a workaholic.”

Bill Hybels

To put it simply: working too much is bad for you. Itʼs harmful for you and the important relationships in your life. Work should only be an aspect of your life, not its primary focus. By working too hard you lose a healthy perspective on life. You miss out on so much! Itʼs time to shift focus and to start living – really living.

Why do workaholics work so hard?

  1. To make as much money as they can
  2. To get out of debt
  3. To avoid being home
  4. A sense of accomplishment
  5. Recognition
  6. Ambition
  7. Striving for success
  8. To avoid dealing with personal issues

I’m sure there are more reasons, but we get the point.

“Iʼve heard that hard work never killed anyone, but I say why take the chance?”

Ronald Reagan

Dear Workaholic: Give it a rest!

Most workaholics fail to see the necessity and importance of rest. Not just getting your eight ours of sleep every night, but resting from work for a full 24 hours per week. We neglect rest because thereʼs so much to do and “so little time”. Or, we bypass rest because someone else will get ahead. Or, “If I donʼt do it, nobody will”. Or perhaps we donʼt rest because somebody else needs something from us. Everything is urgent.

God rested from work (Genesis 2:3), and ordained one day a week for his people to rest (Exodus 34:21). He commands it. Why? Because, well, we need it! We are not invincible. We need rest so that we can recharge our batteries, so that we can be refreshed physically, emotionally and spiritually.

We need rest because our families need us – and we need them.

Letʼs face it, we grow weary. Often. Work – and life – can be overwhelming.

Thatʼs why Isaiah said the following:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak. 
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Itʼs okay for us to rest, because God does not grow tired or weary. He is more than capable of working out the things we canʼt handle. “For those who hope [wait or rest] in the Lord will renew their strength”.

We need a consistent reminder to turn our thoughts back to Him. Resting one day a week really isnʼt a bad idea, is it? It helps us to reorder our priorities. It helps us to see that our family is more important than our work. Letʼs not let passion for work take precedence over passion for family, and most importantly – passion for God.

We live in a world that demands so much from us. Our thinking has become warped. Weʼve believed the lie that if weʼre not working weʼre not being productive. Meanwhile, our personal relationships suffer and our priorities are out of whack. Many turn to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of poor decisions and failing relationships instead of doing the hard “work” and making things right.

Donʼt allow the desire for wealth and recognition perpetuate the lie that by gaining them you will be fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from “seeking first the kingdom of God” according to Matthew 6:33. Let go of that desire. Ask God to set you free from it.

Finally, if youʼre killing yourself at work because youʼre in a financial bind, stop it. Look for godly counselors to help you make some decisions what will allow you to work healthy hours and enjoy your family while minimizing your debt.

Donʼt drown yourself in your work.
Look up, and see what youʼve been missing.

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29 thoughts on “Are You Working Too Much?

  1. This is a great post with some honest truth! I find I fall prey to the “I’ll be able to relax when I get such and such done.” Or drift through days in absent minded professor mode because work is all I can think about. Not good habits!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this. I definitely know that I sometimes work too much. There is a temptation to try to do it all in my own strength and make everything dependent on me. But as Psalm 127:1 says, ““Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain.” Choosing to rest and not work is an act of trust in God that He is the one who makes us bear fruit. It is not our own efforts or labour.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Working hard on something that you are passionate about, or to provide for your family is a great thing. Sometimes it’s too easy to blur the line between that and being a workaholic!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, yes I am… I become a victim of the.. I can rest when I push through all this… ugh and I work from home – often late into the night… I am working on resting and taking some time to care for my soul. Such a powerful post that really convicted but in a good way. Thank you Summer. 🙂 Blessings… I’m sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a great post and reminder that we need to balance work and rest. And that when we are unbalanced and begin to work more than we rest we can tend to loose sight of what is important. “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” Proverbs 23:4-5 NIV God calls us to take Sabbaths, rest periods which can be moments throughout our days, a day a week and a period of days, to rest and focus on the things that are important. Yet, somehow this is a command that we do not tend to obey. Instead, we work long hours, seldom take Sabbaths and end up being workaholics focused on obtaining the things of the world that in the end do not matter. We come into the world with nothing and we will leave with nothing….

    Liked by 1 person

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