I have had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for more than a decade. I have even had the surgery to repair it but it didn’t take. Now, I just manage it with exercises, ergonomics, and scheduled breaks from the computer work that exacerbates it.
I have a physical signal for when I am overworking my hands and arms. When the pain is noticeable and starting to hinder my work then I know that I need to take a break. If I ignore these signals then I can expect to pay for it with additional pain that carries over to the next day and the next.
You may not have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but your body will often tell you when it is being overworked. Fatigue, back and neck pain, lack of focus, low creativity, stress, headaches are all ways that your body is informing you to stop and fix the problem.
Proverbs 23:4 says, “Do not overwork yourself just to become wealthy.” Wealth can include money but it can also be anything that we are trying to acquire solely for our own benefit. That can include prestige, grades, reputation, knowledge, and achievement. So much of overwork is not demanded of us but is our own striving for these things that feed our pride or make people think better of us.
You will be tempted in your life to overwork yourself. Be sure to ask God why you are feeling the need to overwork? If God reveals to you that your work is not for his glory and instead, for something else, you need to stop what you are doing and take the rest and the trust that is provided for you. Get the sleep you need; actually practice Sabbath; find a healthy outlet for entertainment and relaxation; and connect with your family and friends; or even quit the work.
God is not impressed with how hard you work if you are hurting yourself and others in the process. He wants to partner with you to accomplish great things. It is much easier and effective if we remain in that partnership. Working outside of that partnership will only lead to pain, strain, and costly repairs. Find the spiritual and maybe even physical markers for you that are signs of overwork.
Replace that overwork with trust, ongoing check ins with God, and the realization that anything you accomplish will be with God’s help anyway.