The Workload Continues…

Last week it was 78.5 hours. The week before 79.5. This weekend I will put in at least 16 hours this weekend to begin the week.

I am learning things about myself. Stress, and this is real stress, exposes all manner of weaknesses. Physically, I am responding well except for my blood pressure, for which I am taking Hawthorne. I have to remember to take it or my pressure gets above 150/90. I never had high blood pressure before this job or for that matter this much sustained stress.

Emotionally and spiritually I can see the fraying also. I am snappy when I don’t want to be and God gets more distant when the pressure and demands fill your whole vision of this moment of life.

Yet, God will use this too to mold my vessel, of that I am certain. One thing it is demanding above all is more organization in my life, better utilization of resources, especially time. Time is one resource we tend to take for granted, especially when we are younger. That is an illussion. Each moment, each second, could be our last. However, rather than being honest with ourselves and spending our time wisely, we look at the potential, which usually appears hugh, and spend it like someone with excessive money who does not look at the price, only what they want. That can be extremely wasteful and lead to very bad decisions because we eroneously think we have resources (time, money, health, etc.) to waste. Passing time is wasting time, while recovering by relaxing is not, just to point out an obvious example. But the larger question is whether we have the right to “waste” anything. What say you God?

As we get older, especially when we approach the last quarter of your life, the pressure to look at how we are spending our resources gets stronger. However, most of us don’t respond. We would rather remain oblivous until suddenly the clock stops and the accounting is due.

Parableman has an article on political correctness and epistemic understanding and priviledge, which basically means that someone experiencing something has insight someone who is not experiencing it lacks. My counter is that most of that espistemic zeitgeist is lost. Most people do not take advantage of the learning moment, letting it slip by, either afraid to face the music or they are too lazy or disinterested to seize the opportunity. They waste the opportunity, one that they may never have again.

I pray that doesn’t happen to me. These current events, demands, stresses are a unique learning opportunity that I pray I gain the most from, on every level. With that in mind, I covet your prayers along those lines. Please pray that the espistemic zeitgeist of my current situation results in significant spiritual growth and that God uses every ounce of stress and pressure to successfully mold my vessel to his specifications. It is what I seek; I pray it is what I do.

With that in mind, God bless you this Lord’s Day and may whatever God is doing in your life bear the intended fruit, which I pray is nourishing both to you and those around you. May you always seize the espistemic zeitgeist. Amen.

  8 comments for “The Workload Continues…

  1. May 17, 2006 at 4:27 am

    William,
    Eighty hours a week? High blood pressure? Spiritual stress? Impatience? Making every second count? And little time for family, surely?

    There is no way you can sustain such a work load over an extended period of time (which varies with individuals) without succumbing to the laws of cause and effect. God doesn’t change his laws to accomodate our willful violation of its principles. Just as surely as a man unwisely chooses to take his clothes off at the polar icecap will freeze to death in minutes, so do men and women die of heart attacks when they ignore other principles of life. The high blood pressure is no less a sign of something wrong than the pain our nerves relay when we drop a hammer on our foot. It is the body’s way of calling our attention to a problem. Ignoring those signs can lead in fatal directions.

    Sometimes we cannot avoid overwork to meet a crisis, but even those who work in crisis oriented jobs, such as paramedics or even search and rescue teams, cannot sustain quality, life-giving work without regular relief. And high-stress jobs show a consistently higher than average burn-out or turn-over rate, with related problems of physical, mental, and emotional illness, not to mention spiritual disorders.

    As to God teaching us spiritual lessons in our work, I have no doubt overwork is used by God to teach us lessons, the very first being, don’t overwork.

    And from a theological perspective, I have a real problem equating post-industrial, consumer-driven, techo-infatuated cultural expectations of time management with God’s three-mile-an-hour pace of leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. God doesn’t move as fast as he can, but as fast as we can, which in spiritual or natural things is not very fast at all. The idea that Western culture is somehow going to be sanctified by God’s over-ruling will despite its excesses is in no way Biblical and distorts for others the picture of who God is and what he expects of his children.

    With loving concern…

  2. May 19, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    God bless you, dear brother in Christ. You have been my blogging mentor of sorts and ditto jan’s comment. We don’t want to lose you. While you are learning and growing, i will pray that you are shown a way out of this stressful situation, hey?
    Now, so as not to add to your stress, go get done!

  3. May 20, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Well all, if it weren’t for the arrival of the blood pressure problem (a first for me) I would be enjoying this intensity. It is indeed a learning experience on all levels. I am putting together in my mind a post on this which I hope to get to in a week or two. But for now, its off to work again after doing some honey-do jobs around the house this morning.

  4. Gillie
    May 23, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Hi I’ve lurked on your blog for quite a while (you are even listed on my own blog as one of my favourite sites!) but have to break out my silence to say – STOP – take a break and take stock 🙂 I am a little younger than you (I think!) but I am no spring chicken and I have only just started to learn to say no without guilt which is silly because the cost to my family and loved ones when I am stressed is high and I don’t want them to suffer so I shouldn’t feel guilty ………. but we all do 🙂 I have just come back from a school/cathedral development meeting and feel great because I WANTED to be part of it, not because I felt I had to, that was really a first for me! I heard someone on the radio suggest that we should convert our protestant work ethic to ethical working. A very neat and convenient sound bite – but a reminder that God never, ever asked us, suggested to us or even hinted that we should work ourselves into the ground however meritorious the cause and ethical working is surely holistic and thus requires you to look at your wellbeing and those around you – hmmm how’s that blood pressure?! I believe that we can only really fulfill the potential He gives us if we remember that even He rested on the seventh day 🙂 And anyway , I like reading your blog, you inspire me and challenge me and you can’t do that if you’re falt out with exhaustion and rampant blood pressure. Now go rest!

  5. Cindy
    May 29, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    To quote a very wise friend…You’re about as spiritual as you are rested. Be sure to get rested.

  6. June 5, 2006 at 7:59 am

    I like your friends way of putting it, Cindy. Thanks for sharing that. I’ll pass it on, a simple way of saying a great truth.

  7. Christine
    June 17, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    William, I just stumbled across your blog because I was searching for that lovely old poem, “when God wants to drill a man…” and your site was where I found it. Thank you so much for putting it there… our late pastor, Ray Stedman, taught it to my dad decades ago, and my dad taught it to me when I was in college 10 years ago.

    anyway your site is a lovely unexpected find and I will be back to visit!

    Every blessing
    Christine in Palo Alto, CA

  8. June 20, 2006 at 9:11 am

    Thank you Christine. Hopefully I will be able to get back to regular blogging sometime in the next few weeks.

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