This is a picture from Arches National Park in Utah where we’ve been on vacation for the past several weeks. (I’m returning tonight and am back at work tomorrow!) My husband works for the Department of Ed and is a huge travel bug so he’s used to taking off at the end of June, not coming back until the first or second week of September. So to get him to take only four weeks of vacation this summer was a compromise, believe me! It’s much more than I’m used to taking.
Last year we took a long trip but it was our honeymoon and I was actually between offices and it was my longest vacation in 7 years of being in business, so I let myself “off the hook” so to speak. But this year, I didn’t feel like I even needed a vacation from work because now I only work part time. Don’t get me wrong – we’ve had an amazing time and have seen so many wonderful aspects of nature – but not working for this long has definitely been challenging in some ways for me.
It has been a challenge because for most of my adult life, work has been my anchor. I designed my life that I NEEDED to work. I could say no to so many things like family gatherings, trips with friends, all because I HAD to work. I had a mindset that if I was working hard, I was okay. I think it is fair to say that I have had anaddiction to productivity. I have gauged my opinion of myself and my life and how I am doing based on how much I was accomplishing every day. And that was enough for me.
In the early years of building a practice, this attitude came in handy. And as far as addictions go, this one isn’t bad, right?
In American culture we are rewarded for being productive and revered for being busy. I have suspected for a LONG time though that there was an emptiness to this way of life – that this dedication to being productive may actually have been covering up some deeper core beliefs that I needed to earn my worth because I didn’t feel particularly worthy when it came right down to it.
Being a Christian, I am called to live under the spiritual laws of God thereby not conforming to the pattern of this world. I need to be gauging how I am doing by an entirely different set of criteria. There is an abundance of life out there that goes beyond this small mindset of busy-ness and work as higher power. It has been a growth experience for me to get from point A to point B, however. I’m still working on it.
While I was on the trip, at times, my little ego voice would start in the background of“Oh you’re not being productive!” or “You really don’t deserve this much time off!” or “You should be working!” I think my ego would be completely satisfied if I worked 12 hours a day washing dishes in the back of a restaurant as long as I was working!
The truth is I love working. I feel like I am in my groove when I am seeing patients. I feel useful and I forget about my personal concerns when I am helping others with theirs. But I want to fully embrace the abundance that God has for me and to not be uncomfortable if I am not being “Productive.”
I think in America productivity and busyness really prevent people from being happy and forming deep bonds with their families. We worship work and busyness as if it were an idol. I know this has been something I have struggled with in the past and obviously it hasn’t left me completely. I’d love to talk with you about these struggles if you feel like this is something that you suspect is getting in your way of having fun and enjoying yourself. Or even if this doesn’t speak to you, but you are struggling with something this August, I am going to be in the office next week and the Tuesday after. I have three slots available on Thursday and two on Saturday and I’d love to connect with you about anything that is out of balance or bothering you. Make an appointment here.