Too many times and in too many places our hectic lives have sucked out our desires and passions. We have been convinced that it is okay to lose sight of what sets our hearts on fire because we need to provide for our family.
By falling into this trap we lose a part of ourselves and rob our family of all that God asks us to give to them.
I have experienced and witnessed this too many times. There are those “go-getters” that are driving the machine of industry each day. They are climbing ladders and finding ways to create new markets and new streams of income for their businesses. But, when asked if they spend that same time pouring themselves into their family, I get a blank stare. Usually followed by a justification such as, “well, I mean…I do the best I can”.
That is where it happens, the Thief has robbed a family of the gift of time. And with that the world slips a little further from Christ and a little closer to meaninglessness.
So what do you? How can it be changed or at least curbed? What are the ways that a person can reclaim their family while driving business forward and finding the harmony with their faith and mission in life?
I would suggest that you step back and take a look at life with a Cowboy’s eye.
The Cowboy life is one filled with both great perils and great achievements. Cowboys tend to work while there is daylight, meaning long hours and hard work. Show me any good ranching operation, and I will show you a family that is always involved. They all work and play together. It is not a one man show. Each family member plays their role, but all of them understand what the other does. It is truly a team that wakes each day to take on what needs to get done. I would suggest that we refocus our perception that Dad (or Mom) has to leave to go to work (and I am not sure what they do, but they get paid for it), to one that says, “Dad is off to work to do his role as part of our family”. This changes the attitude from a “me to we”, or the Cowboy way of doing things. I believe that if we would remove the barriers we build between work, family, faith and mission life, we would be able to function in each area as a whole person. Bringing all the gifts that God has given us to each area. All of a sudden we would be able to pick out where God is at work in each area. We would be able to see where God has been preparing us to take on the next challenge. I truly believe that would change the world.
I would recommend you taking these actions today:
Make a list of the time spent in the 4 areas of life (Work, Family, Faith, and Mission). Be honest and log the time. Set this aside on a piece of paper.
Write down your desires for each area. Dream big and write it down. Set this aside.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in the 4 areas of life. 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “my full attention”. Set this aside
Lay out each piece of paper in front of you and see if your time spent is lining up to your desires and if your desires are receiving the investment of yourself through enough time to make them a reality.
My guess is that you will fall short. We all do. But, by taking the steps to write it down, you have now moved from just dreaming to documenting. You now can begin to work your desires into your current jobs and schedules. You can use your list to prioritize your time investments. This will help you to have a simple tool to decide where to put your time and talent. If you spend time evaluating where you are against where you want to go, you will be able to make decisions that pull more “we than me” into your life. It will give you the ability to apply your same gifts you use at work to your family. You will be able to step closer to that Cowboy way of life.
The Cowboy does work hard, but he also plays hard and stands at the ready to help family and neighbors. Each of us has the ability to be intentional in how we give of ourselves and bring our family into our daily focus. Ensuring that they also get our best.
See you on the trail!