“You’ve got to have clear boundaries between work and home.”
That’s a piece of advice we received frequently while we were studying at Bible college. With husbands working largely from home, making the distinction between what was work time and what was family time appeared to be very difficult for many other couples we heard from.
I’m starting to think that this sharp divide between ‘home’ and ‘work’ may be a false distinction – or at least a mildly unhelpful one.
Other advice we received drew similar distinctions. “Get enough exercise, eat properly and have a weekly date with your wife so you can talk to each other.”
Up until now I think I have seen my life divided up into boxes: work vs family, children vs my time, housework vs fun, exercise and diet vs playing and eating, education vs holidays.
Reading about homeschooling has given me a new perspective though. It seems obvious now that I say it, but it wasn’t obvious before. It’s all just life! What we do, what we love, how we live, where we go… all of it is just part of living, with no distinctions made.
My husband loves reading books about spiritual growth in the evenings. I could say “that’s work” and make him put it down, but it inspires him and he is moved by it.
As he ‘works’ in the day, he comes in and out of the living areas of our house, talking to the children and to me. We often have some of our most important discussions during the day. It might be nice to go out for a ‘date’ but the purpose would not be to ‘talk’ to each other.
So am I saying that ‘workaholism’ is ok, as long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing? Well no. I think workaholics are escaping something else – perhaps relationships, perhaps pain from the past.
What I’m talking about is living holistically – seeing all of life as important and integrated, not focusing on some things to the unbalanced exclusion of others. Workaholics do not ‘live’ – they work. (Although, having just watched Amazing Grace.... was William Wilberforce a workaholic?... Why do the people who achieve most seem most unbalanced?...)
It seems to me that the only distinction the Bible makes is between the six days of normal life and the one day of Sabbath rest. Without trying to be legalistic, I am challenged to rest as God intends and find out what that means and how it feels.
For now, it’s exciting for me to see the barriers I had erected melt down before my eyes.