By Pamela Garcia
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23)
Each one of us likely shares a different attitude about work. In my childhood family, we were constantly indoctrinated with the mantra: work hard, be successful. My dad modeled that by working three jobs for many years and eventually owned his own business and became very successful, attaining “the American Dream.” Following that pattern, I started my first business at age 29, ran it for 10 years, and sold it. Then my husband and I started a business together.
Chasing the American Dream, I became entrenched in my work, sought to become the best in my field, like my dad, but to a fault—I lived to work. My business became my life, my identity, and it gradually consumed me. My life was completely out of balance and unfulfilled.
There was always that next proposal to get out, the next sale to make, the next marketing opportunity, the next award to attain. There was always one more rung to climb on the ladder of success. I found myself working an average of 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and sometimes even more.
Meanwhile, my family suffered, and I missed the opportunity to impart Godly character into my children’s lives and others around me. I was working tirelessly, for what seemed to be all the right reasons, but in retrospect, not unto the Lord or for my family, but mainly for myself.
Unfortunate events affected our business and family. Our daughter dropped out of high school in her freshman year, left home, and became involved with drugs. She went on to have five children and earn a 7-year jail sentence, of which she served 5 years. My husband and I were granted custody of our grandchildren.
Those difficult years took a toll on our business. The company slowly lost steam and sales dipped as our attention was split between raising five needy children (one non-verbal autistic) and running the business. We were forced to downsize to save the business and regain control over it.
Career success has temporary benefits but they’re not worth the price one pays in relationship loss, heartache, and missed family opportunities. Fortunately, God is so merciful; he is restoring what was taken away and healing what time could not heal on its own. Our daughter returned to Christ in jail and has been clean and sober for over 10 years. She married a Christian man and loves the Lord. We are close now and God has sutured the wounds of our torn hearts.
I no longer need to work tirelessly to achieve what this world deems a success. The blessings of a successful life come from living and working for Christ. In him alone, I am completely fulfilled. All the accolades in this world could never replace the joy I feel when I am walking in his perfect will.
Pamela Garcia is the president of Simmitri, Inc., a Silicon Valley roofing and solar energy company, established in 1995. Pamela has been married to Richard since 1972. They have two children and nine grandchildren.