By: Dr. Dean A. Hendrickson
I must admit that I am probably not a great example for what the “world” would call balanced. I spend more time with work that I probably should, I don’t pay as much attention to how my work is affecting my family, and I don’t spend enough time checking in with God to see if I am in the right place. It is interesting that when you are asked to write on a topic you start to see all of the ways that you are probably struggling with it.
Wikipedia defines Work/Life Balance as: “a concept including proper prioritizing between ‘work’ (career and ambition) and ‘lifestyle’ (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).” It is related to the idea of lifestyle choice and it looks different to everyone.
I like my job. I really enjoy doing surgery and working with veterinary students. In fact, I generally don’t consider what I do “work,” which probably impacts my balance/imbalance. Technology (smart phone, tablet, internet accessibility) does not help me when it comes to balance. I regularly find myself checking my email for no apparent reason and can get swept away from a conversation very quickly and easily.
When it comes to work, we know that God worked. In the beginning of Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth. In Exodus 35:35, God filled the people with the skills to perform every work for the temple. God references work in many of the Proverbs. I am convinced that God wants us to use the skills and talents He has given us to work.
When it comes to rest, we know that God relaxed. On the 7th day, after God finished the heavens and the earth and all of their hosts, He rested. In Exodus 16:22-30, God told the Israelites to gather only enough manna each day for their daily needs, but on the 6th day He had them gather twice as much so that they could observe the Sabbath without work. They rested on the 7th day. I am also convinced that God wants us to relax.
While I know it seems trite, I think the answer is to seek God’s will for our lives. If we are living in His will, we will be in the balance that He desires for us. Whether we are working or relaxing, we need to glorify God. I think we also need to be aware that balance will look different for all of us. What works for me may not work for someone else. We also need to watch and see how our balance/imbalance is affecting those around us. For me, my wife is the best gauge of where I am in this equation. For a final thought, I would like to end with Ephesians 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Dean Hendrickson received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1988, and completed an Equine Surgery and Medicine Internship at the University of Sydney, Australia and Large Animal Surgery Residency at Cornell University in 1992. He was on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 2 ½ years and joined the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University in December 1994. His primary clinical interests are in Equine Wound Care and Minimally Invasive Surgery. He is very interested in surgical skills training and has developed models for surgical training. He has started developing eBooks for student notes.