Because I am a teacher, I often have many extra responsibilities to do: grading papers, contacting parents, researching lessons, buying supplies, and, oh yes, grading more papers. I've learned over the years that I want to be a teacher for a very long time, but the key to my success is knowing when to quit. This year, for example, I've held firm boundaries about checking email and grading papers. I also have tailored my assignments so that I do not have to grade every assignment. These are essential boundaries so that I can have a long, successful career as a teacher.
I have to admit: there are times when I am tempted to bring home a stack of papers or check my email. This is when my self control and proper ideas of boundaries must be in place. Boundaries are not harsh or hurtful, but instead ways that I can control what I do with, in this case, my free time. These ideas are good for my health and emotional well being.
If you are struggling with bringing work home, I suggest that you make a list of things you would like to see changed, and then a list of ways to change them. This will be a contract with yourself to enjoy your down time. After that, it will be essential for you to have enough self control to keep these healthy boundaries in place.
Please know that I am in no way saying not to work your hardest every day, but instead to work smarter during your work hours and embracing your free time. As a matter of fact, it's not my idea: it's God's.
Colossians 3:23 says,
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
When we keep this vision our goal, honoring God follows.
My Prayer: Lord, thank you for reminding us of the importance of setting healthy boundaries with our work and play times. Give us the self control to emotionally free ourselves from our professions so that we find renewal and fresh outlooks each day. We choose to commit our work to you. In Jesus name!