All of us have to work. It takes money to live.
I often wonder though and reading Reggie McNeal’s book A Work of Heart got me thinking even more of the addiction of work. Maybe not so much the addiction of work, but the addiction of being busy.
Many of us are too busy, running from work, kids games and practices, church programs, exercise, eating in the car, etc. I will often hear people say, “I’d like to do ______________ (usually something that would enrich their marriage or relationship with God) but I just don’t have the time.” The reality is, we don’t have the time because we don’t make the time.
But why are we busy? You can’t simply fix this without fighting the symptoms. Many of us are busy, work too much, run from activity to activity because we don’t want to stop. We don’t want to be with our family, spouse, alone with ourselves, with friends, whatever because we don’t want to stop. We are addicted to the adrenaline that comes from being busy.
This is a big one: we also don’t want to stop because of what we will have to do if we stop. It is easier to stay busy at work or run kids to different things than being honest with your spouse, working on issues in your heart or dealing with past hurts. Many people overwork because of the accolades they get from it. This often stems from an approval idol in their hearts. They didn’t get approval from a coach, parent or teacher at a young age, so they will try to get that approval from someone else now. Often, this is one of the main reasons that push young mom’s to work after having kids, it isn’t to get more money for their family or because they like it (although that might be true), but it is often to feed an idol in their heart. Here is how I know, when I will talk with a couple you can see the fear on her face when she thinks about the prospect of being alone.
Men do the same thing, just for different reasons (and idols). We are busy for more power, prestige, control, you name it. Pastors overwork so their church will love them, compliment them, so their church will grow. Mostly Godly reasons, but at the end of the day it is often to feed the idol in their heart.
If you are curious about what the idol in your heart is, here is a short list of questions to look at.
The sooner you can identify what pushes you, what idol you are feeding and worshiping with your life. The sooner you can have an honest conversation with yourself, spouse, friends, etc. and see how the gospel replaces that idol.