Work gives people something to do;
hard work can even bring some satisfaction,
but meaningful hard work gives purpose to life.
Priority Number Four: Work
In order to get the most out of your life you need to understand priorities because the priorities you choose are the foundation and frame upon which you build your life, and if your priorities are unsure or you build your life around things that are superficial, how will things hold up to the challenges and storms that will come? In short the priorities are 1) your spiritual life (read about Priority Number One here), 2) your spouse (read about Priority Number Two here), 3) your children (read about Priority Number Three here), 4) work, and 5) free time/fun time. Today we’ll discuss priority number four: work.
Work is something we all must do. It pays the bills, keeps the house clean, puts food on the table, and when done well, brings much satisfaction and purpose to life. Doing good work is an important part of living an adventurous and fulfilling life yet many of us miss out on the great blessing of it because it’s not in the proper balance.
Some stress themselves out by working too much while others feel purposeless because they feel like they don’t get anything done.
But don’t worry, there is a middle road where you will learn to do your work in the most effective and efficient way to get things done, be able to check all those boxes off your to-do list, while also being able to rest, enjoy life, and make your work a blast!
If you want to get the most out of your work and make it an adventure, getting things in order, serving your family, and totally crushing your challenges, then keep reading because this will bring you one step closer to that.
When the Priorities are out of Whack
There is a fine balance between work and the other priorities: your spiritual life, family, and fun time. It’s a balance that has unfortunately been horribly squed in the past decades years. With the rise of the modern industrial age and large corporations the drive for a successful career has also risen. Men and women alike have become almost singularely focused on building a successful career. All their energy goes into the job and when they come home there is no energy left for their spouse, children, or spiritual life.
Now I know you’re not a full-time business woman, but this mindest of “work, work, work” has pervaded our entire culture and even us stay-at-home wives and mothers can fall into the same trap! We see this in women becoming consumed with house work and projects.
I know I’ve had this problem. Do you?
Priority number four: work. The way you know you’re priorities are out of whack is by the problems and stresses you’re having in life. Is your marriage stressful? Then he’s probably not in his rightful place as your first physical priority. Or maybe you’ve got a lot of internal issues. That means you’re spiritual life isn’t where it should be on the priority list. Are you so focused on your work that something else in your life is suffering?
Do you run away from your struggles by immersing yourself in work? When you’ve had a fight with your spouse do you storm off to wash the dishes? Maybe you get lost in organizing or impulsive dusting. Maybe you don’t, but I know I have. Because the dirty dishes don’t talk back, right?
But that’s still not the right course of action. If you don’t put work in it’s rightful place all those other important relationships will keep on wearing down and wearing away with every painful blow until there’s no relationship at all.
Hard work done with diligence and excellence is so very satisfying and without work life looses purpose, but all the joy and satisfaction one may get out of work will never fill the cracks left by broken relationships. I know you don’t want that, and I don’t want to see that happen to you either, so let’s look at how to take care of your relationships and while taking care of priority number four: work.
1. Make a Work Schedule
To keep your work in it’s rightful place a good strategy is to schedule it. Set hours for yourself: when you’re going to work, when it’s time for the family, when it’s time for your spouse, and when you’re focusing on your spiritual life.
A good place to start is to schedule out your time in the morning with God, then your husband and kids (having breakfast and getting them off on their day), and then your work starts. While everyone else is gone to their job or school you are also “at work” with your home and other projects. When the day is done and everyone’s home in the evening then it’s family time and fun time. Now take some time to look at your own life, set your working hours, and stick to them!
2. Focus on the Family
Obviously there will be some work that spills over into “family time”, like making food and washing dishes. In these cases the way to keep your kids a higher priority than work is to include them and focus more on your children than on the task. Use this time to talk with them, ask them questions, draw out their heart, and compliment them. Sure you’ll still be working but your kids will know that they are more important than the dishwasher being emptied or the pot their stirring.
3. Use Excellence
During the times you have set aside for work do your absolute best. Give your all. Exercise your muscles of excellence and diligence. That is the most sure way to be truly satisfied with what you do and also to get the most accomplished. Make the most of your work time!
4. Let Go of Perfection
In our zeal to be amazing homemakers it can be tempting to strive to keep our homes perfect. Perfectly organized, no smudges on the mirrors, and no marks on the walls. But perfection has a price and it’s most often paid by our family. They will constantly be worried they’ll fail the standard and we’ll miss out on precious, precious time with them because we’re busy working. The price of perfection is that there’s little security in relationship, limited trust, and a constant fear of rejection.
Putting Work in It’s Place
All that said, I don’t want to paint a bleak picture of work. Having meaningful work is awesome! Work gives us purpose in life and working diligently brings so much fulfillment and satisfaction that the wisest man who ever lived even said, “There is nothing better for a person to do than take joy in their work and accomplishments, because that is their given portion; for who can show them what’s going to be when they’re gone?”
We can’t see the future so we must take satisfaction in the things we have and do today.
And how do you do that? By keeping your priorities straight.
Keep your spiritual life and your relationship with your Father in Heaven first. Love and honour your husband, teach and play with your children, work hard with diligence and excellence, and take your rest. Enjoy your life!
And there you have it, priority number four: work.