Few weeks ago, I had to take a break from blogging because I was ill. It feels good to be healthy again and during my brief illness, I did a lot of personal reflection which I would share with you in this blog post.
There is this writing project I’ve been working on and I put in my all into it. I would deprive myself of sleep and rest because I wanted to complete the project as soon as possible. Deep within me, I knew I would break down sooner than later.
Yet, I still kept on working “overtime.” I would use Scriptures to back up my hard work. The Bible says we should not be lazy but work hard, and that faith without work is dead, so I was determined to prove to God and to the world that I indeed worked hard.
Writing requires a lot of thinking and mental energy and for those that think it’s an easy task or a hobby, I can assure you that it is not always as easy as it seems.
And so, in a bid to prove my hard work, I broke down. It was as if my brains stopped functioning, and soon other parts of my body began to grow weak. Severe headache, pains and discomfort in my eyes, hands and legs such that I couldn’t even sleep or eat.
In the midst of my I’ll health; I began to reflect on what God really means by “hard work.”
I would like to share the insights I got with you especially if you are a leader or entrepreneur.
- Hard work is an absolute term. You can’t use another person’s work to measure your hard work. For example, an infant may take 2 steps a day while an adult can walk for hours. An adult can read for 6 hours at a stretch while a child may only be able to read for at most 3 hours. This doesn’t mean that the adult is more hard working and the child is lazy. They are both hardworking according to their capacity and maturity.
The same happens in our daily work. Just because another person works 8am – 10pm and you work from 8am- 4pm, doesn’t mean you’re lazy and they are hard working. We all have our different capacities and when we exceed that capacity, we break down due to stress. There’s a difference between hard work and overworking.
- Don’t depend on your efforts alone. Don’t ever think that you are who you are, where you or have what you have because of your hard work. You are who you are because God allowed it to happen. Whatever you have achieved is because God permitted it to happen and not because of your efforts alone.
Psalm 127:1-2 says,
“If it is not the Lord who builds a house, the builders are wasting their time. If it is not the Lord who watches over the city, the guards are wasting their time. It is a waste of time to get up early and stay up late, trying to make a living. The Lord provides for those he loves, even while they are sleeping.” (ERV)
Without God, your efforts and hard work will all be in vain. Look at the birds, they don’t have a job, they don’t work, they don’t plant, harvest or store up food yet God provides for them. Naturally, they don’t deserve it because they don’t work.
Don’t think you are where you are in life because you deserve it. It’s all by the grace of God that we are who we are today.
Zechariah 4:6 says,
“…’Your help will not come from your own strength and power. No, your help will come from the Spirit.’ This is what the Lord All-Powerful says.” (ERV)
“The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: ‘You will succeed not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit.” (GNB)
And so, I’ve realized that I need to acknowledge God in all that I do and I must not depend on my power to complete this writing project but I should depend on God’s power.
- Don’t think you can achieve everything all in one day. Take it a step at a time.
God has the power to create the whole world in one day, yet He used 6 days to create the world. I don’t know why God chose to do so, but this teaches me that I should spread out the work and not try to do all at once.
I set a deadline to complete my project and as the date drew nearer, I began to put in more effort. But you see, I broke down and couldn’t meet up with my deadline.
Set realistic deadlines. Don’t think you can build a skyscraper in 1 week. And it’s okay to exceed your deadline by a few days or weeks. You can set a new deadline if the need arises.
- Check your motives: While still ill, I began to analyse what my motives were for working so hard.
“Am I working hard so that I can boast about my efforts when the project is completed?”
“Am I working hard so that I can intimidate others about how I completed such a project within a short time?”
“Am I working hard so that I can prove to the world that I deserve the profit from my labour?”
“Am I working hard because I believe that is my only source of income, my only hope for survival?”
All these are wrong motives.
God is my only hope of survival and without this project, I can still survive. But I didn’t see it that way.
I’ve also realized that my motive for working hard should not be to boast or intimidate others or prove anything to anybody.
I’ve realized that the right motives behind this project are to bring glory to God, to obey God and to help others.
What are the motives behind your hard work?
*TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT BLOG POST