Additional "Christ in the Cubicle" Articles


Make a living or make a life?
Published: 3/26/2011 1:52:33 PM


Hard work and productivity are my best friends in the workplace.

But I often struggle with leaving work at work.

Most every workday, around 4:45 p.m., my internal dialog begins:

You’re not where you should be. You should’ve gotten more done. You should really take it home. Don’t abandon that laptop; pack it up, bring it home and work some more tonight. You’re so not important yet. C’mon, prove yourself! Work more.

And then another voice in my head responds:

No, you have other roles to fulfill. First and foremost, you’re a wife. Go home and make him supper, love him and spend time with him. Take some time for yourself; time alone to talk to God, reflect on today and plan for tomorrow. Move. Relax. Breathe. Give thanks.

And I’m torn. Should I spend my evening making a living or making a life?

This is a daily battle for me and many others. So, what does the Bible say about working hard?

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

The first part’s siding with my natural instinct (work harder, work more!). But the second part, that’s where it gets interesting…

"…as for the Lord and not for men.”

When I’m working overtime, am I doing it for God? Definitely not.

I’m ignoring the other roles He’s given me in life. I’m working extra to please others and myself. To be recognized and feel recognized. To prove how awesome I am, not how awesome He is.

Work, in and of itself, is a blessing. God encourages us to do work in this world. He places us in roles of influence; He guides us on the path to grow, to learn and, eventually, to lead. Work is not a curse.

But overworking is where it gets messy. I’ve felt the constant tug, the addiction even, of overachieving. I’m guilty of giving in to the urge to check email in bed at midnight or during my measly five-minute commute from the office to my garage. And it’s sickening.

For me, working nights and weekends isn’t fueled by my desire to please God. It’s driven by selfishness, a belief in my own importance and my ever-present urge to not let others down.

First Corinthians 10:13 offers encouragement: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

When I know my workday’s going to be overwhelmingly busy, I spend my morning routine in prayer. I ask for His strength to get me through the day. I ask for focus to work efficiently. I ask for wisdom to work smart. And I ask for perspective, to know when to call it a day, when to cease making a living and start making a life.

We’re given one life. Just one, precious life. How will you spend it? I am so thankful that Jesus gave His life to forgive me for the ways I waste mine. I don't need to work harder and do better in order to please God – Jesus lived his life perfectly and took the punishment my sins deserved so that I when God looks at me, He sees Jesus and declares me righteous. I am forgiven and loved just as I am, without having to earn it based on my work performance. That kind of love gives me the freedom to invest time in building relationships and serving others instead of fighting to get ahead. That kind of love helps me make a life instead of just making a living.

Angie Laxdal

Visit her blog at

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