My wife Michelle and I had some all-out WARS during our first few years of marriage. As I reflect on our days of constant conflict, I’m reminded that one of the biggest explosions we ever had was when I came back from my work one day (I was working at a large church as youth pastor at the time).
I walked in the door 5 minutes later than I had told her I would be home (I think I said I’d be home at 5:30, and I walked in at 5:35).
I couldn’t believe how quickly and passionately Michelle confronted me about the behavior. In her words the pattern of being late lacked, “courtesy, kindness and honor.”
She desired that I would be a husband and a father who would discipline his life stay connected to his family at home over his family at church/work.
As I ponder what was driving me/motivating me to work at such a ridiculous pace (literally sometimes 70-80 hours/week), I have bullet-pointed a few areas you must consider if you are struggling with a work addiction.
#1. A growing “success” at work and a growing “burden” at home.
It’s undeniable that we, as people, move towards the path of least hesitance. If home is the place that you go to receive kudos, praise, accolades and place of security in your personal identity, don’t be surprised when you enjoy being there more than you enjoy being at your place of work.
Your place of employment can sneak into your life as a mistress of sorts and what started as a healthy relationship with a corporation becomes an insatiable desire for success, recognition and praise.
#2. Relational strife and difficulty at home.
Let’s face it, going home from work isn’t the same as “leaving work”.
It’s simply just changing environments and maybe roles but when you leave “work” for “home” you’re still on the clock and often times the demands of marriage, children, home management, personal care/finance, etc become overwhelming.
After enough time and frustration passes, people may feel overwhelmed and relationally shut down.
What use to be fun, fresh and exciting now seems stale, exhausting and painful; the relationships which used to fill you up for life now become annoyances at best and destructive at worst.
This is when a “work addiction” is in a very ripe season to blossom.
#3. When you think $$$ is the most important thing in life.
Money is a great servant but a cruel master. When money becomes the central pursuit of your life you set yourself into a proverbial “hamster wheel” and you’ll never be able to have enough.
The Scriptures say; “He who loves money never has enough money” (Ecclesiastes 5) and it also says; “I have learned the secret of being content with much or with little.”
If you serve the “god” of money you are unknowingly positioning yourself to develop an unhealthy work addiction.
Once I took the time to look deeply at my life and ask the hard questions, getting home on time for dinner became a breeze.
In fact, I have to go now, it’s dinner time!!
About the Author: Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing.
He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR
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Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 26, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com