Signs of Health

workinprogressmalletI’ve been open about my struggles to find a healthy work pace. I’m not sure why but I have an innate tendency to want to be plugged into work 24/7. This isn’t new… I’ve been this way since high school. I remember stopping in on the little restaurant I worked at on my nights off just to see how things were going. That habit has pretty much continued up through today! I always want to know how things are going.

Full time ministry just made it worse. After all, checking email or making a phone call to a student on your day off is ministry and how can that be bad? Jesus wouldn’t want them to have to wait… would he? With all due respect, the staff at the church just loved the fact that Adam was always available, always game, always willing to answer the call. My work in churches took some horrible tendencies and labeled them as reliable.

When I started at YS a year ago I dealt with a bit of culture shock. I would send e-mails on Friday night that wouldn’t get read until Monday. I would stay late and have co-workers tell me to go home. I’d respond to emails at 10 or 11 PM and get made fun of. It was actually frustrating at first. It took me some time to recognize that I wasn’t seeing a lack of dedication… I was encountering healthy work habits.

It’s taken me a long time to begin to break some of these habits. It’s taken this long to wake up to the reality that it was me who needed to change my habits. In the past few months I’ve thought a ton about the idea of sustainability and pace. Reality is that I have a natural tendency to want to increase the pace at the cost of my personal health and the relationships with my family. The pace at which I desire to work simply isn’t sustainable. In the past few months I’ve constantly been telling myself, “Slow down.”

The last two weekends have been great signs of health.

– Never checked work email.

– No responding to Facebook messages that were work related.

– Didn’t check up on all of the websites, stats, numbers… OK, I did that once or twice. (Dangit!)

– Spent excessive amounts of time with family and friends.

– Said “no” to things that were outside of my goals/responsibilities right now.

– Was not the first one to arrive nor the last one to leave the office at all last week.

I still have a long, long way to go in establishing healthy and sustainable habits. But these are signs of health. It’s like after you start working out… it takes a few weeks until you start to feel the difference. And I hope the people in my life who are most important are starting to feel the difference.

What about you? What are some boundaries you have established that help you have a sustainable work pace?

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

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