At the close of one year and the start of the next, we all take some time for introspection and make some goals to improve our life. But why do we limit this type of healthy self-evaluation and goal setting to just the beginning of the year? Earlier this year I made the typical goals to hit the gym more often, to stick to fruits and veggies, and to lay off the sweets, none of which I was able to do for any extended period of time. And, while those are great goals, they don’t touch some of those root issues in my life. I’ve realized, over the past couple years, that I need to change my work ethic.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a workaholic.

I’ve always been good at working. I was raised by two entrepreneurs (which is basically a fancy way of saying “workaholic”) who instilled the idea in me that we need to work hard to make a good living and achieve that highly sought after “American Dream”. I was told to go to school and get a good education so that I could get a good job and have a good life. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Growing up, every part of the plan depended solely on my hard work either in my studies or my profession, but do blood, sweat, and tears automatically constitute a “good life” or a “life worth living”?

As a Christian, I feel like our lives should be something worth imitating. Jesus came to give us abundant life, something I feel should draw others to us so that we can point them to God. But how many Christians are actually living that way? The “world” works 40, 60, 80, 100 hour weeks to get a paycheck and survive. Christians are working 40, 60, 80, or 100 hour weeks to get a paycheck and survive, then they go to church on Sundays.

My whole adult life has been filled with going to school and going to work and, because I give each job my all, I tend to be promoted quickly, getting more responsibility and another excuse to not live my life. I end up putting my life on hold, all the while telling myself that someday I will have an adventure. Or I tell myself that I’m just working to save up money so that I can travel. Or this summer I will go on that missions trip. And then nothing ever happens. So here I am, having a heart for the nations but have only been out of the country a handful of times, the last time being almost a decade ago. Does this sound familiar to you at all?

How often do we just blow off our “Sabbath” thinking that _______ is more important than getting some rest? For me, this happens most weeks. As a result, my shoulders are always tense, I constantly get headaches and I don’t remember what it feels like to be well-rested. This pattern of over-work has another name in the Bible: it’s called “sin”. God didn’t just suggest that we take time out to rest (which is an act of worship and dependence), he commanded us to do this. This is a lovely reminder that God does, indeed, know what’s best for us. How do you think your life could change if you chose to consistently honor that sabbath day of rest?

Whenever we make a choice it’s both restricting and enabling; every decision has its pros and cons. If we choose to pass on dinner with friends, we might have the time alone that we desired, but we lose the opportunity to share that moment in time with people we love. If we choose to work those extra hours for that extra money we might have to put that hobby or passion or dream or business venture on hold.

In our search for the “American Dream”, we’ve sacrificed our sanity, relationships, and many times, our health. My question is: is it worth it?

We’re a little more than halfway through the year 2016 and I’m sure most of us have failed on our New Year’s Resolution, having returned back to our old patterns. So, how about we decide, together, to make a long-lasting change?

What is that thing that you want to do with your life?

What makes you tick? What is your passion?

Have you got it in your mind? Now here’s the fun part: what is one step you can do this week to work toward that goal? It might be small, but it’s a step, which will lead to another step and another and another after that. I recently heard someone say that million dollar ideas are a dime a dozen but the determination to see the idea through is what’s priceless.

In the movie What about Bob? Bill Murray plays Bob, a hypochondriac who can barely function outside of his apartment. He visits a psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) who tells him to just take baby steps to get him through any situation. What if we, like Bob, begin baby-stepping toward our dream? What if we said ‘no’ to that extra shift to spend more time with our families or friends and trusted that God could and would provide the rest? How different would our world look if our generation of God-followers stepped up and began doing the things that cause us to burn with passion? I believe that passion is infectious; when one person is passionate they automatically encourage the people around them to pursue their own passions. What if we lived 2016 like this is our only life?

As a recovering workaholic, I hope you join me on this journey of self-discovery and adventure. Let’s spend the rest of 2016 writing better stories for ourselves and others.

Sarah Callen

Sarah was raised in Tucson, Arizona, but now lives in Dallas, Texas. Currently working a 9 to 5 job, in her spare time she loves to be with friends and do anything creative that her hands find to do. She believes every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.

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