Knowing when to dedicate yourself to something is a skill, as it can require letting something else slip. Remember that this isn’t always a bad thing — it is an essential part of navigating the ups and downs of life.
There will be times when your family must be your main priority and other moments when your ministry needs you. Managing these can feel like a balancing act, but there are ways to ensure you stay on top.
Keep reading for guidance on how to establish a healthy work-life balance.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Neither working to live nor living to work is ideal. In a perfect world, our jobs would be fulfilling, and we would have enough time to enjoy our personal lives. Living at each end of this extreme can be damaging, as it clouds our perception of what is truly important.
Finding a career you enjoy where your time and work are valued will bring you happiness daily. But when it goes too far, it is easy to forget that there are times when you need to prioritize your personal life. Letting yourself become too wrapped up in a job is harmful, as it can cause exhaustion and burnout.
How to Set Boundaries at Work
Setting boundaries at work is challenging, as we want to show our employer that we are dedicated and hardworking. We don’t want our bosses to see us as lazy, so we over-fill our cups with work, leaving little room for much else. So know your limits, and learn when to decline a task.
There are polite and professional ways to do this, whether you are a church leader with meetings that consistently fall outside your working hours or a volunteer with an unmanageable workload. Offer the manager alternatives that free up your time, or practice delegating tasks to others if you can.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
If you don’t feel heard and the problem keeps recurring, know when to say “no”. Whatever your job or profession may be, putting yourself first is essential. Remember that whenever you reject a task that falls outside of your skillset or responsibilities, you make space for the things that matter.
Instead of rushing through 10 tasks and completing them in a rushed manner, save your energy for fewer tasks. It will help you complete them to a much higher standard. This concept goes both ways, and sometimes we must say no to events with family or friends to prioritize work.
Knowing what to accept and what to turn down can be difficult, so try the Eisenhower Matrix if you need help with task prioritization,
Identifying and Treating Burnout
When the pressures of life get too much to handle, we experience burnout. This can come from excessive working habits as well as over-socialization, so keep an eye out for it in all corners of your life. If you feel in a constant state of exhaustion and think you might be suffering from burnout, read this article for more information on how to recover from burnout.
Life is in a constant state of flux, and it ebbs and flows through different moments. So don’t be afraid to go all-in if you are experiencing a busy period, as a relaxing and calming time is probably on the horizon. When your entire life becomes overwhelming, it's time to make a change.
Spotting Unhealthy Complacency
On the flip side, being too relaxed and not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is not good either. When we are overly comfortable and prioritize instant gratification and pleasure in life, it can lead to stagnation. Sitting still can be just as toxic as overworking.
It is damaging because it encourages us to see only ourselves instead of growing, learning, and helping others. If we only see the world as it impacts us, it is easy to become selfish. Living a Godly life requires dedication to do better and determination to help others.
How to Practice Self-Care
Finding the right balance between work and personal life requires you to practice self-care regularly. Create habits that make you happy and ground you in your life. Whether it’s going to a hot yoga class once a week or planning camping trips with your friends for an escape to nature is up to you. Just make sure you put yourself first.
When you do this, you will notice that you have far more energy to give back to the world. God needs us to be mentally and physically strong to live according to His path. So pray often and speak to Him about what needs prioritizing when you find yourself stretched too thin.
Working in positions of leadership in the church can blur the lines between when to say no and when to put your community first. Doing the most you can for your congregation is honorable, but don’t do it at the expense of yourself and your happiness. Ride the waves of life as they come, and accept the ebbs and flows instead of fighting them.