Cc: Mother Mary; All-Saints
Subject: [For God’s Understanding]: Review of Work Life vis-a-vis Other Aspects of Life
This email seeks God’s understanding of the struggles I face in this phase of life I have entered into and how I am striving to make amends to improve my overall lifestyle. Following up with the promptings You have given me, I have conducted a review of my work life vis-a-vis other aspects of life.
2. This review seeks to uncover aspects of my life which need to be challenged and improved so as to achieve a more holy, holistic and healthy lifestyle (3Hs). To summarise, the following are the main objectives:
a) to have a life more centred on God (Holy);
b) to have a more balanced lifestyle (Holistic); and
c) to improve the state of my health so as to better function as Your child (Healthy).
3. I started my working life on 16 June, 2014. It has been 40 weeks. Presently, work has become a top priority in my life. Having to deal with 100-150 emails per day (non-peak period) and work 58 – 65 hours a week is by no means an easy task. Yet sometimes I question if much of this is due to personal choice. Work is different from studying as there is no definite end point – it keeps coming.
4. It is therefore not sustainable to continue at the rate I am going. As such, either a drastic change or a gradual change in lifestyle is required. I am of the view that the latter is more feasible given the present pace I work at and the inertia to change.
Having a Life more Centred on God
5. Due to the momentum of work I am mired in, I often push myself to go on and on, by my own strength, forgetting to turn to You. I do this in spite of the times when I do turn to You and find myself in a more peaceful state. As such, I need to constantly remind myself of how I should arrange my priorities in life.
6. I shall use the analogy of the life of a tree juxtaposed with the life of a person. Does a tree have to photosynthesize so arduously that it fails to respire and withers? Likewise for man, does man have to work till he has no respite and burns out? For a tree, while God provides the vibrant rays of sunlight during the day, at night, the tree cannot photosynthesize in the absence of sunlight. But God’s rays are still existent, the tree can see it in the face of the moon. God is as present as ever, as He tells the tree to rest.
7. It is the same for man. During the day, we have to draw strength from God to do the work we need to do. At night, there should be time set aside for rest and more importantly, to be with God, even if it just means having simple conversations with Him.
8. I am reminded of the quote, “A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be, it is obeying God”. We are not so much defined by what we do but by who we are. So I should give Glory to God by being a child of God and not worry about the amount of work I do or the number of tasks I accomplish in my daily life.
9. Naturally, striving to be a child of God would mean remembering God in what I do, like how a child yearns for his parents. As a result, things will flow and take their place. From being a child of God, I can learn to be more patient and kind at my workplace which should after all, be the Lord’s vineyard. We should not do work for the sake of it. We should do it because we are committing to God, as His children. This reminds me to examine the question, “Who am I committing to?” when I engage in all the “doing”.
Having a More Balanced Lifestyle
10. Due to the number of hours I spend on work each week, my life is now work on weekdays and partially on the weekends, church on Sundays and some meeting of friends or recreation on Saturdays. Sometimes even church work adds to my already long to-do list. As such, if life is just doing and not being, life would simply be a responsibility and not life itself. I should take responsibility for my life and not live life as if it were just a responsibility.
11. How does a tree live its life? Its life is not simply all about photosynthesis. There is respiration and transpiration as well. Likewise for man, we should live a balanced life. But man does not live on bread alone. We need spiritual nourishment from God too.
12. Like how the rain, water and nutrients are needed for a tree to grow, we need God’s grace to grow. A tree grows and becomes more expansive to provide shelter to more animals and to bear more fruit. I need to re-look at what areas of my life I want growth in, in order to be holistically more “expansive”.
Improving the State of My Health
13. At present, it is estimated that I fall sick once every quarter, whereby the severity of the sickness is such that I am unable to go to office to work. Although I used to be nocturnal (or more nocturnal), this does not suffice as an excuse for me to persist in sleeping late where unnecessary.
14. Just like how a tree requires warmth or the correct temperature to function optimally, so do I need sufficient rest to be in a healthy state to function and to work. I need to remember that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and not to think it is some inhuman body that go do inhuman amounts of work with little rest. For someone disciplined at work, I am surely not disciplined in some other aspects of life. This is something to work on.
15. In order to set things in motion, I have to take concrete actions to achieve the aims of this review. The fact that the financial year-end peak is coming has been considered (and not made use of as an excuse). These actions are shown in the following table:
|Action||Time Frame (to be achieved by)|
|To reduce work hours to 52-57 hours per week||6 Months|
|Spend more time in personal prayer and to rely more on God in daily work||2 Weeks – 1 Month|
|Engage in activities other than work and to ensure all church-related activities are not “work” to me||3 Weeks – 1 Month|
|To sleep at least 6 hours per day and a total of at least 43 hours a week.||1 Weeks – 3 Weeks|
For God’s Mercy
16. I have learnt that it is important to target the root cause of any issue in order to resolve it. As such, for my situation, I have identified 3 areas which I would like to seek God’s graces in overcoming. I would like to pray for:
a) Courage to overcome my stubbornness and to learn to rest where needed and to constantly draw Strength from God;
b) Humility to overcome my pride in thinking that I can handle all my work by myself and that in my ambitiousness, want to accomplish as much as I can; and
c) Wisdom to know what is the right thing to do in life, by God’s will.
17. I also pray that my loved ones, friends, and people all around the world may in time, be open to having what is mentioned in 16a) – 16c) to grow and become more like a disciple of God
18. Yes, God, I remember to thank You. Sometimes I feel alone (when I do have time to feel for myself) as apart from the usual warnings I receive about pacing myself at work, I may feel that no one seems to truly understand me but You. So thank you God, for just being there. For You make me feel whole, by being God.
19. Thank you God, for sending me people around me who care, to remind me of what is important in life. It is through them that I am reminded of Your love.
20. Thank you God, for giving me the Strength so far and for keeping me safe. Without You, I would not be where I am today.
For God’s Understanding
21. God’s understanding is sought regarding my current situation, the actions I strive to take and for the graces I need to overcome my weaknesses.
22. For God’s understanding, please.
23. Thank You.
||Justin Kong|| Child of God|| Singapore|| Planet Earth||