Karen Jordan

Writing Life: Living to Work or Working to Live?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col 3:23-24 NIV)

My friend, Anita Agers-Brooks, wrote a post on her blogFreshFaith @ Work asking the question, “What motivates you to work?”

Anita’s post reminds me of a comment I heard, while studying in Spain a few years ago, “Americans live to work, we work to live.”

Work to live? In Spain, they were proud to work their 8 hours (or so) a day to earn enough money to provide for their lifestyle. But they criticized the Americans who struggled with defining boundaries between work and the rest of their lives.

Live to work? Why are so many Americans so focused on their work that they can’t enjoy their time with family and friends? Could it be because many Americans pursue careers based on their interests or passions?

Of course, I know many people in America who work to live. Their motivation for work is to pay the bills–to support their families or to become independent. They may not be able to find a job that interests them, and they fulfill their passions outside of the workplace.

What motivation do I desire for my work, which is also my writing life?

Do I want to work to live? Do I want to put in my hours of writing each day; then, enjoy my time with family and friends? Yes!

Or do I want to live to work? Do I want to pursue interesting work? Yes! Do I want to be passionate about my writing life? Yes!

So, is it possible to live to work and to work to live? That is my prayer.

And that is where I believe that I must start in my work–by seeking God in prayer first for direction in all areas of life, including my writing life.

Do you live to work/write? Or do you work/write to live?


Karen Jordan writes creative nonfiction about her faith, family, and writing. She also encourages others to “tell the stories that matter most” in her writing workshops, her blog, BLESSED Legacy Stories, and her website (www.karenjordan.net).

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