January 24, 2012
I just finished reading the book When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. I got this book for free through blogging for books. I was interested in this book because that is a topic we covered quite often in Bible College. The families of ministers often suffer because of the demands of ministry. However, this book was written for all people who may find themselves here.
Andy Stanley starts this book by pointing out that everybody cheats. I’m not sure if he used this phrasing to grab attention but it worked if he did. Life is full of expectations and demands. We have jobs, families, exercise we want to complete, hobbies, house work, school activities, church activities, and the list goes on. However, we only have 24 hours in a day and that is just not enough time to get every little thing done. No matter how hard we try, we will never accomplish it all.
This is where the line “everyone cheats” comes in. He says in order to accomplish what we feel like we need to, we cheat. What he means by that is we do not devote all the time and energy toward something that we could be so we can devote more time and energy toward something else. This is not a bad thing, we have to do it. It is just a matter of where we are cheating and unfortunately most people cheat their families and devote more time to work.
He lists reasons why we cheat our family and devote more time to work. One reason is that the rewards are pretty instant and tangible at work while it takes time to reap the benefit of our family. Also it takes time to see the effects of us cheating at home. So we continue to do it because we convince ourselves that everything is okay.
Now before I go further it is important to point out that Andy Stanley also says it is possible for the spouse who stays home to be cheating as well. She may get caught up in doing tasks at home that her children or husband feels neglected. He may be so focused on a project that she feels second rate.
That is the problem. We may try to convince our families that we have to take this conference call or we have to work 60 hours a week, but when our family feels neglected there is a problem. We may not even be trying to make them feel that way but our actions are showing what is more important and they are picking up on it.
In the last part of the book Stanley helps the reader to form a plan. If we plan out how to stop cheating at home then hopefully we can stop a crisis from happening. No job is worth losing our families! Talk about how both of you are feeling. Discuss ways to cheat at work. In order for her to feel like a priority will you need to be home by 4:30 everyday? In order for him to feel like a priority will you have to stop taking those calls at home? What will it take? At first don’t worry about how it will happen. Just focus on the vision. Think about what needs to change and make a commitment to making it happen.
He then goes through a process for getting your boss on board with this decision and uses the example of Daniel from the Old Testament. Daniel decided he would not eat the food provided for him by the Babylonians. It was nonnegotiable. He asked for the favor (not demanded), then he listened to his supervisors concerns, and then he asked to set up a test.
I absolutely loved this book! It is a short read but is packed full of helpful advice and stories of those who have dealt with this problem. My family is so important to me. I tell people that it is more important than my job. I believe that it is. But do I live that way? Are my actions telling my family that my job is the most important thing?
I was surprised to read that while starting the church that Andy Stanley preaches at, he decided he would only be as successful as working 45 hours a week would let him be. That is unheard of! He would leave meetings early, leave the office by four, do whatever it took to stick to 45 hours a week so that his family was not being neglected.
I not only want to tell my family that they are the most important but show them as well. If you feel the same way, then you should read this book! If you do not feel the same way you should also read this book and think deeply about it. God has given us a gift through our families. Let’s do what it takes to keep that gift!
January 18, 2012
From where I was sitting by our gas heater this morning trying to warm up before I headed off to work I heard something. At first I was not sure what it was, but as I listened closer I began to recognize the sound.
See it was difficult to make out the sound at first, because it did not seem to have any regularity. It would tick loud and then soft. There seemed to be no rhythm to the differences. That is when I discovered I was actually hearing three different sound.
Clocks. Actually 2 clocks and a watch. The watch was sitting on a post right behind my head and the two clocks were on opposite sides of the room. The only three time pieces we have in the house (except cell phones) and they are all in the same room.
It got me thinking about how much of my schedule is driven by time. I have a work schedule to keep. The office hours are usually pretty regular. Then there are games to go to that have starting times, youth group, sunday school, meetings, and other random things that pop up.
Time is a wonderful creation. God gave us the sun, moon, and stars so that we could keep track of time. Even if Adam and Eve did not have a specific 3:36pm, they would have been able to tell where the sun was in the sky (and it never would have changed as a result of daylight savings).
Our society is driven by time. We need to be home by a certain hour to watch a show, get some work done, or make sure we see the kids before they head off to bed.
Our son usually wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30 every morning. The weird thing is, even if my wife and I go to bed late, he still gets up at that time! How inconsiderate! This causes us to go to bed at an earlier time so we are getting plenty of sleep.
Sometimes, though, time can rule us. See time was given to us as a gift. We are to use it as such. We have 24 hours in a day. Most people need about 8 hours of sleep, so that leaves us with 16 hours to fill. If we are not careful, other people can fill those 16 hours very quickly, leaving us with no time to do what we feel passionate about or no time to spend with those whom we want to be spending time.
We must set up priorities! If you have not done this, you absolutely need to! Sit down take out a pen and some paper, or type it up on your computer and then print it out.
Come up with no more than 8 major priorities in your life. List them from greatest to least. In order for this to work, you must be honest with yourself. You cannot be worried about what someone may say of your list. These are what you need to be spending a majority of your time on. You need to invest most of your energy in these items, most other things can wait.
I’m reading a book by Andy Stanley right now called When Work and Family Collide. In this Stanley mentions that we just do not have enough time to put towards all of our interests, this is why we must set up priorities.
What is most important? You should be spending most time and energy there. If something else is getting in the way of that priority, it is time to drop some items off your plate.
When we set up priorities, then time will not rule us. We will not be running around with our head chopped off trying to meet every demand. Instead we will be living a balanced life. A life that honors God.
Have you written out your priorities? What are they?