As I’ve already shared, when I would face problems in my marriage, I would immediately go upstairs and start working on one of the thousands to-do’s on my business.
Sometimes I would get so upset that I would get dressed and leave to work…On a Saturday, on a Sunday, at night…Whenever. No rules. Just get up and go.
I’ve never shared this with anyone, but since I’m being vulnerable…Sometimes I would fake a meeting at the office just to leave the house sooner and not have to deal with the issues at home. Yup. That’s me.
I found releif and comfort in working. It felt productive. It felt like I was getting back at her while getting work done. Hey, two birds with one stone…Right?
It gets worst. When my wife would complain about me working too much, I always took it as an attack on my identity, covering my addiction up by telling her I was working towards our future so we didn’t have to work so much later. Biggest lie ever. There will be no “future us” if we don’t survive the “present us“.
When we face adversity and stress in our lives, we Entrepreneurs will tend to work more. Working feels good to us, so we fall back on it. The bigger the problems, the more we want to work.
It doesn’t matter if the problem is from family, finances, clients, employees…We just fall back on working more. Ironically, we fall back on to-do lists, which are the most unproductive tasks. We can’t get to the productive tasks because our mindset isn’t right. It’s a vicious cycle.
What’s going on here? Why is our identity so wrapped up in entrepreneurship that it’s become an addiction? How can we get our minds back in line with the right way?
What’s the right way anyway?
I believe the Bible tells us what’s going wrong here.
The Bible says
Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.’
Ezekiel 14:4-5 NIV
We hear about this thing called idols all throughout the Bible. We think of them as little statues that symbolize God, but they can also be other things we can physically touch…Like idolizing our businesses.
An idol is anything that we place at a higher value than God. The first commandment of the bible is “Have no other Gods but me” (Exodus 20:3).
So how can we tell if we’ve turned work and entrepreneurship into an idol?
Work has Power Over Us
Addiction and idolatry in entrepreneurship both occur when it has more power over us than God does. When we’re addicted to our businesses, we give more value or importance to the growth or to clients than it deserves. Nothing other than God should have ultimate power over us.
In my case, instead of turning to God and praying about my marital problems or turning to Jesus’s example of love and patience and forgiveness, I let work soothe me. That’s an idol.
Work Masters Us
Addiction and idolatry happen in business when work masters us. When our businesses dictate our behavior, we might have fallen into addiction and idolatry of entrepreneurship. We also might deliberately change our behavior to be more acceptable to someone. These are also signs of addiction and idolatry.
In my case, my businesses ups and downs absolutely change my behavior.
Work Becomes Our god
Addiction and idolatry in entrepreneurship take place when we worship or glorify our businesses rather than God. Where do you spend the majority of your time? Work? Why does it feel like death when our spouses tell us to turn off the computer and come downstairs to spend time with them? What do you spend most of your money on? What do you give most of your energy or effort to? All of these questions can be helpful in discerning an addiction or idolatry of work.
In the last post, we defined an addiction as anything you do in your business that is harming you in some way and you can’t stop it. Combining that with today’s biblical definition, here’s a fuller definition: Pursuing our business more than God in a repetitive, habitual, or patterned way to get our needs met and bring us comfort, even though it’s harmful to us.
Now that we are aware of the idol of entrepreneurship, we can begin the work needed to destroy the idol and put it in it’s right place in our minds.
Godpreneur Rule #45: When Godpreneurs face adversity in our business, we turn to God for relief and comfort, not addictions.