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Find Balance with Work and the Rest of Your Life

Although diligence is admirable, we have to have the proper balance in our lives. We must avoid overworking. When God created the world, He worked for six days. On the seventh day, He rested.

We are told to rest

In that same respect, God gave similar instructions to Moses in Exodus 34:21. It reads, "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you have to rest."

The plowing season and harvest can be described as the time when business is booming. Even at the peak of our careers, we need rest.

The Lord can make us just as productive in six days as He can in seven days. He gives us six days to work to support our families. The seventh day is meant to relax, to reflect on God's goodness, and to enjoy time with our loved ones.

Don't forget family

Remember that, as Christians, we are held to different standards. Our lives should not be consumed with work. Work is only a means to an end. We need to take the time to enjoy the end. Our families need more than what the job provides. They need our time.

I was a workaholic for years. I had part-time jobs to keep me busy when I wasn't at my regular job. I took any odd job that was thrown my direction, and I often found myself working for various companies throughout California. One weekend, I could be in Los Angeles. The next weekend, I might be in San Francisco. If I wasn't at work, I was probably on my way to work. It was normal for me to put in 14 to 16 hour days, six or seven days a week.

The money was great; I didn't want for anything. However, my relationships suffered. I was only home to sleep. Although I had a cell phone and could call my family at any time during the day, my family never saw me. I missed many important events, like birthdays and school plays. My loved ones told me that I was married to my job. They despised the idea of having to feel that they would have to book an appointment just to see me.

Then, the workload took a toll on my health. In my early 20s, I can remember several occasions where my body called it quits because I would not slow down.

Once, my body was so physically exhausted that I could not get out of bed. I tried with all my heart to move my legs over the side of the bed and just had no energy to do so. I tried to use my hands to lift my legs, but I had no control over my arms. I was so scared; I had no idea what was going on with my body. I did not know if it would be temporary or permanent. That incident resulted in a week of bedrest.

This point in my life reminds me of Proverbs 23:4-5. It says, "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."

Be appreciative

I thank God every day for my daughter. She made me wake up to what I was doing to myself. My fixation on success and my career had people, family included, questioning my ability to be a good mother. They said I was not considered the maternal type. They were right, though. I wasn't.

But everything changed when I brought that new life into this world. Suddenly, I was responsible for someone who loved me unconditionally and depended on me completely. My life had new meaning.

My daughter helped me slow down so that I could truly analyze what I wanted out of life. I was able to reprioritize my goals. All of a sudden, the material things weren't important.

I just wanted to watch my baby grow up. I wanted to be a part of her development, as she absorbed the world and what it has to offer us. I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss her first tooth, her first steps, her first day of school. I didn't want the babysitter to raise her; that's my job.

I have finally learned how to work an 8-hour day. I still work hard, but I've become more efficient. Every day, I spend quality time with my daughter, and I am usually the one tucking her in at night. Trips out of town are less frequent. Nevertheless, my daughter is usually with me so that we rarely spend a night apart.

Our children need more than our money. They need to know we care. At the end of the day, our presence will mean more than anything money can buy.

About Author Ozeme J Bonnette :

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances. After working for a top financial services firm, she shifted her focus to teaching and speaking to groups and organizations working to increase financial literacy in the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson School. Find her at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> .

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Article Added on Thursday, June 10, 2010
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