How's your balance lately? Mine has been a bit off. I've put in extra hours the last few weeks and have felt more pressured than normal. It's a blip, but it's got me noticing some things.
When I work too much:
- I laugh less
- I cram devotions into smaller spaces
- I am less charitable in my mood
- I'm actually less productive
As I was thinking through this in the last few weeks, I was reflecting on a talk I heard recently from Doris Kearns Goodwin. She's a presidential biographer and was reflecting on a lesson she learned early on in life. The lives lived best involve a passionate pursuit in three spheres: work, love and play.
She contrasts Abraham Lincoln's life with Lyndon Johnson's. Lincoln worked ambitiously, loved deeply and played hard. Even in the midst of the civil war, he went to the theater about 100 nights each year. Johnson, on the other hand, focused mostly on work. And in his senior years realized he had lost deep relational connections with his family and had lost passion for anything recreational. He died bitter and heartbroken. You should hear the talk.
As much as we admire biblical heroes, I wonder if I mistakenly think they are heroes because they were all "work" all the time. That's not true. David loved music and the arts. Jesus apparently loved to celebrate and even go to parties (few people ever talk about this). Both deeply pursued meaningful friendships and relationships. Maybe God's definition of a full life is bigger than mine.
Life needs to be a balanced, passionate pursuit. I know my tendency is to want to work.
What do you think of the three spheres Doris mentions? Do you agree? I find when that's true in my life, I'm at my best. What do you think?