Living to work or working to live?

A question I have recently begun to better understand is “Am I living to work or working to live?”  For most of my adult life I believe I was so focused on work and my career that I had actually forgotten why I was working so hard in the first place.  I think hard work and dedication are very important to one’s success no matter their profession.  However, there is an unhealthy extreme to which we can allow ourselves to be when we consider those in our lives such as family and friends whose relationships require our attention, dedication and commitment as well.

The work and life balance that we hear about and some of us wish we had is actually something that can only be achieved with the right efforts in the right places at the right times.  At least this is my opinion.  It is not something we can place after the common “Once I (fill in the blank)” thought that I have held onto as my excuse for so long.  You cannot wait for your ticket to be called in order to be happy and achieve a healthy work life balance.  Frankly, you have to step up and take it.  This requires effort on your part and it just can’t happen any other way.

The sooner we can accept that balance in work and life can only be achieved by our own efforts and, of course, our God-given strength and courage to do so, the sooner we can begin working toward achieving and sustaining a healthy balance.  My father always told me, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”  This is true for just about everything in life.  It’s also true when considering how we can achieve a healthy work and life balance.

If you find yourself living to work, I think you need to consider this question and do so honestly:  how long will your family, friends and those who love and care about you get only what’s left of you instead of the best of you?  If your dedication to your work is that of an unhealthy extreme, it’s hurting you and those you love even if you’re smart enough to convince you self otherwise.  I have had to rid myself of the victim mentality I carried for so long that kept me convinced that if I didn’t commit myself 100% to my career I would have nothing once it was gone.  This belief kept me from experiencing so many things with my wife and children, but I gave it all away without a fight because I had fallen victim to this untrue belief.  The truth is and always has been that God is my provider, not my job.  I work for Him first.  Although it seems simple, it’s true and sometimes it’s the simplest of things we struggle most to overcome in life.  In this case, your life is worth living and it’s worth living happy.  If you want to know what it takes to work to live and not live to work, you have to make the decision to find out for yourself.  Your circumstances and the hand you’ve been dealt can’t be what determines this for you.  If it is, only you can change it.

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