Jim and I have had the privilege to of meeting with several individuals and couples who lead ministries or run companies around the US. Their experiences have ranged from running organizations, writing books, being on national speaking circuits, or are regular radio and TV show guests. We appreciate their time and wisdom, and their openness to sharing experiences with us. We always have several questions in mind for them, but the most important is always this: How do you balance time with your family, given what you do and as many weekends as you are traveling?
One married couple sticks out in my mind when they answered that question: they looked at each other and there was a huge pause.
The wife responded, “It’s cyclical – it’s slow in the summer, and over Christmas vacation. Things pick up for fall, and then January through May.” They both work full time and their 3 kids (all 9 and under) are in school.
Jim and I looked at each other and at the very same time said, “We can’t do that.”
Several years ago, another couple told us this: “Ministry costs you something. You don’t do this without sacrificing and giving up many things.”
I might be wrong here, but I’ve come to a place where I don’t agree. King David of Bible fame once wouldn’t give the wheat on the threshing floor because it “cost him nothing.” That means it wasn’t a sacrifice. I look at a lot of the things that we’ve “given up” as NOT sacrifices. Honestly, there were many frivolous things I’ve done with my time that I don’t do any more, and I really don’t miss them in the slightest. What we won’t give up is putting our family relationships first.
I will also honestly tell you that I don’t have life balance right now – I’m too busy. And I hate that phrase, I hate admitting it, and I’ll call it what it is: SIN on my part. But I’m not blaming ministry for that, I’m blaming my inability to be consistently organized, choose what’s good and what God wants over what seems excellent and what I want (because sometimes I forget to ask Him…J), and my disdain for laundry.
Sometimes I think my laundry has more sex than I do – it just keeps multiplying, no matter how often I do it.
The laundry, I mean! J
My decision to procrastinate on several things resulting in this lack of life balance has caused me stress. I have refused to not build relationship with my kids, not be involved in their things, or stop spending time with my husband, however. They are my number 2 priority – my time with God is first (even though my lack of listening and asking got me into this mess in the first place – hey, I’m SO far from perfect! J).
And this morning, as I read Proverbs 28: 13, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy,” my heart was filled with gladness.
I have apologized to my kids and husband, confessed my sin in this area to them, told them I’m trying to keep them as a priority, and asked them to help me tough it out here at home for a while as I’m learning how to straighten things out. My husband has responded recently with a, “How can I help you today?” question, more frequent phone calls to check on me, and my kids are pitching in while mom is figuring it out. And we’re coming up with creative solutions, like making dinner part of homeschool lessons so that that task gets completed and people learn something in the process. You would have liked our Roman Dinner my 10 year old daughter made two days ago!
And one of my sons out of the blue made me cry yesterday…”Mom, I know you are absolutely swamped right now. I just want you to know that I appreciate all the time you spend with me, taking me places and helping me with stuff, listening… and just so you know, I still feel like I’m really important to you. Just thought you should know that.”
My eyes filled with tears of gratitude.
Not only am I a recipient of mercy, but His love through these people in my life.
One of the biggest mistakes we make as spouses, friends, and parents is to “conceal our sins,” to withhold apologizing.
People know we’re messing up – if we swallow our pride and confess our imperfections and struggles, it helps us connect with them on a deeper basis. It’s the glue that binds people together in this thing called, “Family.”
Dare you today to be brave enough to be real, be transparent, be apologetic as opposed to prideful with the people who are most important to you. It will make a huge impact in your relationships.
Double dog dare you to share, comment, or subscribe and join us on this journey!
Thankful to be walking the path with you this morning,