In this chapter, His Work, Stormie tells of two different men and how they relate to work. The first man, Bill, seldom works, leaving his wife to support the family; the second man, Steven is a workaholic, never resting and enjoying the success of his labor. She says that the root of each of these behaviors is fear. One fears he will never find the perfect job and get stuck working in a job he hates. The other fears that if he ever stops working, he will lose his worth in everyone’s eyes. She writes:
“These extreme examples of how a man can relate to his work. On one hand is laziness – avoiding work out of selfishness, fear, lack of confidence, depression, or apprehension about the future. Of the lazy, God says, ‘As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed’ (Proverbs 26:14). ‘Drowsiness will clothe a man with rags’ (Proverbs 23:21)….In other words, a lazy man will never get anywhere, he will never have anything, he will have a rough road ahead, and it will ultimately destroy him. The opposite extreme is workaholism – obsessing over work to the exclusion of all else and losing one’s life in the process. Of the workaholic God say, ‘ So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of it’s owners’ (Proverbs 1:19) ‘I looked on all the the works my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 2:11) In other words, workaholism is draining and pointless.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, pages, 49,50)
I could not imagine how difficult it would be for a woman to commit to praying for her husband’s work if he is lazy and chooses not to work, especially if this has been going on for a long time and the wife feels the burden of financially providing for her family. It would be easy for the wife to feel so much resentment toward her husband that praying for him would be that last thing she would want to do. And it would be equally as difficult for the wife whose husband works too much and is never home, leaving all responsibility to care for the children and manage the home with no support from him, being constantly disappointed by his absence and having to explain to her children why daddy is never there. Her loneliness and disappointment could result in resentment also. In both of these seemingly hopeless situations, the prayers of these wives could be the catalyst the Lord uses to make a change in their husbands’ heart and actions.
“Neither extreme promotes happiness and fulfillment Only a perfect balance between the two, which God can help a man find, will ever bring that quality of life. What causes a man to go to either extreme can be, oddly enough, the dame reason: fear. That’s because a man’s identity is often very tied up in his work. He needs to be appreciated and he needs to win, and his work is often a means of seeing both happen. It frightens him to think he may never experience either. If he is doing work that is demeaning to him, he feel devalued as a person. If his work is not successful, he feels like a loser. God recognizes that a man’s work is a sourse of fulfullment to him. he says there is nothing better than for a man to ‘enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God’ (Ecclesiates 3:13) The fact that many men are not fulfilled in their work has less to do with what their work is than with whether or not they have a sense of purpose.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages, 50, 51)
It may be because I am a woman, but I didn’t understand for a long time that my husband’s identity was tied up in his work. I know my husband ultimately finds his identity in Christ, but when he is feeling demeaned at work or he feels his work has not been successful, it can crush him. I appreciated him at home, trying my best to make him feel loved and valued here. But it didn’t seem like it mattered, at least like it mattered enough. After having some heart to heart conversations with my husband, though, I began to understand.
I believe this is why praying for his work is so important. I couldn’t imagine feeling that weight on my shoulders everyday, knowing that I am responsible to financially providing for my family, but feeling unhappy and unfulfilled at my job. Maybe your husband loves his job, but I assure you he will have bad days. If he isn’t his own boss, he will experience the result of decisions he had no say in. If he works with other people, he will experience the irritation of coworkers. Maybe he feels like he is stuck in a job he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. He could be afraid of disappointing you. In every work situation, we need to continually lift our husbands up before the Lord!
“You can pray for his eyes to be opened to see what God wants him to do, and where God is leasing. Your prays can help him feel appreciated and encouraged enough to recognize he has worth no matter what he does. You can assure him that God has uniquely gifted him with ability and talent and He has something good ahead for him. Then pray for God to reveal it and open the door of opportunity which no man can shut. You can pave a path for him.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 52)