Are You Working Too Hard? How to Know If Your Work Is in Vain

Do you ever feel like you’re working too hard? Don’t get me wrong, hard work is usually a good thing. But then there are times when you are so overworked that you are consumed by it. Honestly, I think we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Even as a high school student, I remember staying up all night studying for finals. And college was even worse… Now as an adult, I have to find ways to balance my career, my work as a wife and mom, and finding time to relax and enjoy my family. Is this what God intended for our lives?


Are You Working Too Hard? How to Know If Your Work Is in Vain |


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Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. – Psalm 127:1-2


Unless the Lord builds the house…

Whenever I read this Psalm, this phrase catches my eye every time. Unless the Lord builds the house… How much of what we do in a day would fall into the category of working for the Lord? Now, I’m not suggesting that we all go into full-time ministry and ignore our day jobs and responsibilities. On the contrary, most of us aren’t called to full-time missionary work or pastoral leadership. Speaking on a personal level, I know that I am called to be a mother to my children and raise them to love Jesus. I know that He wants me to love and serve my husband. And I know that for me personally, He has called me to write and share His truth with anyone who will read.

Are you doing what God has called you to do? Does it have an eternal impact? Is He the one “building your house”? 


Unless the Lord guards the city…

Are you worried about things you have no control over? I love how this Psalm points out that it is God who protects a city, not the watchmen. Now, this verse isn’t saying we shouldn’t have watchmen, rather it is pointing out the fact that God is ultimately our protector. The watchmen are important. God will use them to help defend and protect, and He will guide them as they do their job.

In our own lives, we watch and protect our homes, our families, our finances, our careers, etc. But all our efforts are in vain without God.


For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep…

How much do you trust God with the details of your life? Are you working hard at what God has called you to, or are you working hard because you’re worried about what would happen if you didn’t?

Let me be the first to say that sometimes I add things to my to-do list that are unnecessary and not important in the grand scheme of things. I stress about things that have nothing to do with God’s call on my life. Now that doesn’t mean I should forget about doing the laundry. (Although some days I wish I could!) But what it does mean is that I should devote my energy and attention to the things that matter most first. I should seek first the Kingdom rather than the things our culture tells me needs to be done.


Unless God is involved, working too hard will amount to nothing in the end.


But the opposite is true as well… When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our work day, God is faithful to provide, protect, and bless all we set out to accomplish.


Are You Working Too Hard? How to Know If Your Work Is in Vain |



*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

**Photo by Ben White at





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