The Busy Balance

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. 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.”
Proverbs 13:4 (NIV)

There are two extreme camps when it comes to time management. The first group includes those who are punctual, calendar-oriented and diligent to finish all tasks (you know, the people who love to make lists and check off each item). The second group includes those who are habitually late (they run on their own timetable), work on goals when they feel like it (their motto is “Who needs planning?”) and are often described as just plain old lazy (usually by the members of the first group).

For most of my life, I have been a member of the first group – diligent and driven by time, but to a fault. In the past, I found myself working tirelessly to get things done, checking off the items on the calendar and making sure every minute of the day was used efficiently. I can remember a time when in my head I would schedule when going to the bathroom would fit in! I would panic if I thought I was going to be late to an appointment and often speed to get there. I would also put time pressures on my husband and daughter because, of course, there were things that needed to be checked off the list and there were places to be, school and church being the hardest to get out of the door to. Obviously, this stringent work principle proved to be as detrimental as laziness.

While we are meant to do work as Genesis 2:15 explains, there is a point where all work and no play is not beneficial. On the flip side, Proverbs 13:4 warns us that all play and no work is equally detrimental because it leads to poverty. This poverty (lack of anything, not just material things) comes quickly through laziness according to Proverbs 6:10-11.

So, where is the balance between working hard and finding time to rest? After all, the Lord gave us an example in Genesis 2:2 when he rested on the seventh day of creation. My solution is to:

  • set boundaries and do not overschedule yourself. Remember sometimes you have to say, “No” to things. Just because you can do something does not always mean you should do it. Be sensitive to what God calls you to do, not what other people ask you to do. Look at your weekly activities. Why do you do them? Consider your passions and your purpose in life. As Christians, our main purpose is to bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7). Do the things you do fulfill that purpose?
  • have realistic expectations on what you can accomplish in a given time frame. Consider your limitations and realize that interruptions are possible. Give yourself a break on these things. Schedule in rest or refreshment as part of your day.
  • ask for help when you need it. God made us to have fellowship with each other, and helping each other is part of fellowship. When you ask for help, you give someone a chance to be a blessing.

Consider what is most important to you – the work in front of you that will be there tomorrow or the people in your life who need you now. I’m confident in saying that you will never regret spending time with someone special in your life rather than finishing a task that can wait until later.



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