Service yesterday at New Life, was once again, nothing short of amazing. Pastor Ron talked to us about Workaholics aka Living to Work OR Working to Live? We talked all about Kind Solomon and how he was this King who had everything anyone could ever want - all the money and riches. So what did he do with all his time and money? He worked... and he worked a lot, but in the end he has a profound realization. Ecclesiastes 2:11 shows this realization:
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all meaningless - like chasing the wind.
There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Solomon didn’t do anything immoral or wrong in his work, quite opposite really. He created parks, gardens, groves, and farms... Everything he created was useful and beneficial for many, But that isn’t the point - it doesn’t matter what benefit the work creates, it was still just work, and in his end he realizes that it lacked true value. Pastor Ron expressed that you can spend your whole life working and doing good things with morality, in alignment with your integrity and purpose, but you can still get to the end of your life and be at net zero, if this is ALL you focus on. Why is this? Because work alone isn’t enough. Takeaway #1 was that LIFE is GREATER THAN (>) WORK. He then goes on to explain a LIFE ECOSYSTEM.
He expresses that with ALL ecosystems in life, there needs to be a balance for it to function properly. OUR personal life ecosystem (which he expresses is the MOST important ecosystem in the universe) is three EQUAL parts.
When one part of this 3 part system dominates any other, then the ecosystem is destructed. Often, however, many people find themselves giving excess time, effort, and focus in category #2- WORK. One major reason this happens was explained by Pastor Ron in a service several months ago on ‘Identity’. Many people view their identity through their ROLE. They become “what they do”. They also define their worth through these roles, and what they do. Often times, their work becomes their identity (although sometimes it is another role, like being a parent becomes their identity). There are two major issues with defining our identity through our roles / work.
Therefore, it is essential that we truly focus on embracing all three components of our personal ecosystem as equal as possible, and through a God context, whereby we can then flourish and thrive. This service was hugely important for me, and couldn’t have come at a better time, as it was an important reminder for me. I used to be great at nurturing the explorer side of myself. As of late, I have noticed that I have put that side on the back burner and given way for more work. I realize that almost everything I do now or focus on is somehow work related. I have had this insane need to learn more, learn more, learn more, do more, practice more, be more, serve more, more... more... (always feeling like there is too much to learn and not enough time, finding myself stressed)
And while that is all great and it is important to nurture the fire in our bellies, and keep the flame lit - It is equally important to nurture the explorer and family as well, to maintain an appropriate balance. I have rationalized this need to learn more, and do more for work, because I feel like it is my purpose to serve as many people as I can, and fitness and my work is the outlet I choose to do so. Therefore, I felt that if I was doing my work in service to other’s to improve their quality of life and enrich their experience ultimately for God, then I needed to be super invested. However, I realize that I also need to still be invested in my personal self, doing the OTHER things I love, and spending some of my time with the family I have here (my closest friends), nurturing also my personal relationships.
The reality is I have found myself saying WAY too often “that there isn’t enough time in the day... I just need a few more hours...” But the truth is - there is enough time in every day. I just need to set more realistic expectations on what I can accomplish, and realistic expectations on how much time/focus I will put into everything, balancing it out more appropriately, so that then, when my focus is on learning something new, I can actually learn it, because I am not ‘burnt out’ or in ‘information overload’. Additionally, when I am spending time with friends I can “be all there” focused on them and our experience together, rather then on what I need to do still today or the next. Lastly, I can be more committed to blocking out fun, exploration time, without suffering a guilty conscious, feeling like “there are so many things I should be doing instead”, or worse, not even blocking the time, out of overcommitment to everything else. Time for a shift, because in balance, everything is of more quality, making it totally worth it.
Do you nurture all three parts of your ecosystem? If not, where do you find you spend most of your focus and energy and time? IF you are spending too much time in one part neglecting another, make a shift TODAY with me! :) I will set forth the same challenge Pastor Ron sent us with: Every morning ask yourself: How will I nurture the family, the worker, and the explorer in me today? (Notice the question contains ALL 3 parts- not just one) Good luck!!! <3