Conventional thought would tell you this would make a person miserable, drive them crazy even. People need a good work/life balance, heavy on the life, to be happy and healthy.
Yet, with my own eyes, I was witnessing the complete opposite.
Farmers, especially the old ones who had been around to see it all and still kept working, were genuinely happy people. Not “LOL” happy, but content. Farmers are people who work everyday and never really talk about quitting.
The more years I spend in their world, the more I’ve come to realize - work makes us happy. We need work.
While some of my generation is screaming for work/life balance - which is often slang for less work and more life- I am silently thinking, “You don’t need more life. You need more work.”
Work gives us purpose. It gives us meaning. It allows us to experience frustrations, accomplishments, joys and angers - all things that are uniquely human. Work forces us out of bed and out the door. Work keeps our minds fresh and bodies fit.
Now I’m still a millennial. So don’t hear me wrong. I don’t mean we need to spend 70 hours a week in a dark basement pushing papers for suits upstairs who don’t know our first names.
What I mean is that we need to find work worth pursuing. Work that matter to us, and to others. Work where we can draw a straight line between what we do and why it matters.
For some of us that might be our day jobs. For others, it might be the work we do before and after our day jobs - at home, in our communities.
Maybe it is a career with mission so powerful it lights a fire inside you. Maybe that work is volunteering for a cause that’s changing the world. Maybe that work is right in your home, raising babies that will someday move their own mountains.
Whatever it is, what we are all chasing isn’t a break. It isn’t a vacation (although the occasional one is good). It isn’t more time to sit or sleep or scroll Facebook.
What we are after, what our maker designed us to pursue, is work that matters. And when we find it, we should chase it like crazy. And then, when we are called home, we can look at God and say, “Father, I did the work you created me for. I did it well and I did for as long as you allowed.”
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23