That’s how I feel these days. Life seems like a grind to me. The work is intense, the to-do list is long and at times, it all seems overwhelming and not much fun at all.
What a long day. This week has been a grind to say the least. But it's all worth it.
— Chris Marlow (@ChrisMarlow) October 18, 2012
We’ve all been there.
Fortunately, I love what I do, and this is such a key to living a “fully alive life.” No matter what you do, the grind will always be with you. You cannot escape work and seasons of stress. However, if you love the work you do, then it is much easier to stay the course, do the labor and get meaningful work done.
The real question is then – how do we deal with the grind?
1) Calling – You occupation needs to be connected to your calling. I realize that this is not always reality. But long term, I’m talking decades of work; it’s essential for you to do work that matters, that is connected to your call and gifts and that gives you energy and life.
Of course, all work can be beautiful work, but not all work is intentional or connected to the gifts God has given you. If you find yourself doing work and it’s not connected to what you feel called to do, be patient and bridge the gap. This way, you can find your life’s sweet spot; you can connect your life-long calling with your day to day work.
2) Workload – Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot. We say “yes” to too many projects. Our work load becomes so fierce that we don’t feel like we have room to breathe. Here is what I know: tired, stressed and overwhelmed people rarely create beautiful work consistently. No doubt, there is a time to create and a time to execute. The grind usually happens when we are executing the plan. However, to do great work over and over, you have to remove yourself from the grind. The best way to do that is to finish the work that is causing you to stress and then take a step back, breathe deep and allow new fresh creativity to come forth. Learning to say “no” is a sign of maturity and focus.
3) Boundaries – I think people get burnt out and do really bad things when they don’t set up healthy boundaries, especially in seasons where the the grind is intense. Sabbath, rest, time with family and friends and alone time to think, pray and process are vital and necessary, even in the midst of the grind. Burnt-out people do so much damage, and people usually burn-out because they failed to set healthy boundaries along the way. Boundaries need to be legit and clear. What time are you leaving the office? Will you work on the weekends? How much will you travel? It is easier to set boundaries, when you have some accountability.
4) Trust – Let me get a bit spiritual here. I do believe we tend to make a huge mistake when we think we can do everything on our own. I constantly remind myself that I can’t save the world, I don’t have all the answers and ultimately I’m not in control. I have deep trust that God is my Shepherd and that He is in control of all things. Each day, over and over, I’m whispering to God to give me strength, wisdom and hope. I do not want to attempt to do life and face the grind without God.
Legacy and longevity are like fabric woven together. You can’t separate the two. So, if you are in a season where the grind is intense, I hope this will be helpful and will remind you to lean into your callings, balance your workload, set some healthy boundaries and trust in God to give you strength and wisdom along the way.