Taking Control Begins with Surrender
Taking Control Begins with Surrender
Sunlight enters through the window awakening us. We stretch and turn towards the alarm clock. The children are sleeping, the telephone and emails are silent. You get the kids up, fix breakfast, and marshal them to neutral corners so they can start their school day. You start going through your mental to-do list; no doctors’ appointments, trash and recycle are curbside, the pets are fed, the car is being serviced and grocery shopping and laundry are complete. Your feet have barely touched the ground and you’re already tired; now you have to log in and begin your workday. Ecclesiastes 3:9, (CEV) asks, “What do we gain by all of our hard work?”
The day is just beginning, and you already feel the stress of the demands on your time. The 40-hour work week just doesn’t exist anymore. Technology was supposed to help us better organize our lives and achieve a greater work life balance. “But rather than technology helping people work less, allowing for more downtime and time off, nearly half of office-based workers say technology has actually increased the amount of time they spend working (Pew Research Center, 2014).“ Megan Cerullo (CBSN, 2019), citing a LinkedIn survey, reports that “nearly 60% of workers surveyed engaged in work duties while taking time off, amid mounting pressure to always be on the job.” In today’s reality, we are always on the job, even when we’re sick or vacationing. We seem to have gotten lost in work, unable to distinguish what we do from who we are.
This mindset has been termed Workism, “the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work (Atlantic, 2019). ” Author Derek Thompson claims “some people worship beauty, some worship political identities, and others worship their children. But everybody worships something. And Workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants.” Reading this, like Bruno Mars, “I had to stop, wait a minute.” I asked myself, did he just describe Workism as a new religion?
The term Workism reminds me of another term, “idolatry.” Merriam Webster defines idolatry “as the immoderate attachment or devotion to something, the worship of a physical object as a god.” Simply stated, an idol is “anything” that replaces God. Matthew 6:24 (MSG) cautions us about the effects of idolatry:
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.”
There is nothing wrong with hard work, the Bible encourages it (Proverbs 12:24, 14:24, & 18:9, Colossians 3:23, 2 Thessalonians 3: 10); but, in allowing work to define our purpose and identity, we not only minimize ourselves, we minimize God. We are pulled in so many directions, and there are so many activities cramming our daily schedules that we don’t seem to have, or have forgotten about, time for a relationship with God.
Workism, or anything else, that minimizes or restricts our relationship with God creates an imbalance in our lives. Lewis Mark (2019), citing the World Health Organization (WHO), reports that a healthy life requires the balance in the “six essential components of health”; which are physical health, social health, cognitive health, emotional health, cultural health, and spiritual health. Workism attacks our life balance affecting our social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual health, which are relationship based. We get so wrapped up in work that we neglect our relationship with God. Sure, we make time for a quick prayer before dinner or a road trip, but we can’t seem to find the time, or at least give priority, to maintaining a deep connection to God.
If Workism is an illness, surrender is its antidote. God wants us to experience balance, He wants us to experience joy. “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live (Ecclesiastes 3:12, NIV).” The only way for us to reconnect with God and recalibrate the balance in our lives is reclaiming control over it.
Spoiler Alert! Taking control of our lives means surrendering more of it to God. Taking control starts with “Exalting God Only.” The LLJ Podcast, Exalting God Only reminds us we exalt God “when we recognize Him as the sole object of our worship, as the source of our security, self-worth and wisdom, and as the audience and judge of our life decisions.“ “The more areas of our lives we surrender to Him, the more room there is for the filling of the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we exhibit traits of His character. The more we surrender to God, the more our old self-worshiping nature is replaced with one that resembles Christ“ (gotquestions.org). Doesn’t this sound like a prescription written for Workism?
Challenge: Reclaim your life, find balance. It starts with a simple prayer, a prayer of surrender. Try this one from Get Your Life Back (Eldredge, 2020):
“I give everyone and everything to you. I need more of you; fill me with more of you, God. Restore our union; fill me with your life.”
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