Many people make compromises when it comes to work/life boundaries. They allow time for gym, rest and personal replenishment, but they will put those aside for others out of obligation, especially in the case of emergencies. This is how most people operate and it makes sense. We all have to make compromises sometimes! We can’t ignore emergencies, we can’t ignore the needs of others, and when these situations arise, it makes sense to draw from personal time. However, when we do sacrifice our own time, even for very good reasons, we need to remember to balance it out in other ways. If compromising our personal time becomes habitual, then we eventually will find ourselves burnt out and unable to help anyone.
Sacrifice in the World of Christian Leaders
I’ve noticed this is an especially common issue in the world of Christian leaders, where our job is larger than just employment. We are called to be leaders and examples in all aspects of our lives. Perhaps we feel that God wants us to sacrifice ourselves for others in need… every time. But look at Jesus! Yes, he made the ultimate sacrifice, yet as he lived, he knew he couldn’t do everything and he rarely hurried. He sometimes took an extra few days to stay with friends, to make time to rest and talk to God, and to relax with his disciples. When I reflect on Jesus and his pattern, he had a regular withdrawal process where he took intentional time to replenish himself. So how can we do this too? How do we create patterns of replenishment and avoid depletion of resources?
Creating boundaries is always a good first step. We know that sometimes those boundaries will be pushed, so what we can do is give our boundaries a little buffer. Schedule a little extra time for yourself in case of the unexpected! Perhaps you are doing this with your budget… saving up some money for emergencies. So, create some time buffers for these compromises you might have to make, then it won’t feel so stressful to add something to your schedule.
Knowing when to say no is also important. Often, something feels like an emergency but isn’t. If something comes up during your replenishment time, ask yourself these questions before leaping into action: Can this be done tomorrow instead of right now? Are there others who are capable of handling this situation? And finally ask yourself why you feel like you are responsible for finding a solution? Is it part of your image? Your obligation? Your sense of personal success? Sometimes, we want so badly to be the solution-person for others that we create problems in our own lives!
I try to follow in Jesus’s footsteps. I work hard, but I also take time out. Creating a rhythm of withdrawal and engagement, to lead a more sustainable life. Most importantly I give myself permission to rest when I need to, so that when the rubber hits the road, I am ready to help and give my all!
- Where do you see yourself making compromises in your life?
- Why do you make these compromises? Are they for the right reasons?
- How can you strengthen your boundaries while still planning for the unexpected?
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