My brother told me last night that he’d told somebody recently that I’m a “very driven person.” I’d never heard him make that statement about me out loud before, but I guess that I have to admit that it is true. I’m a very driven person. There are very few hours of the day – or night – that either my body, my mind or even my spirit isn’t working on something. I’m always racing, and very seldom resting. In fact, I’ve been known to run out of gas on the side of the road a time or two because I didn’t want to take the time to stop and gas up my old Ford Explorer. (That’s another post for another day.)
So, since I’m always racing here or rushing there it is very difficult at times for me to slow down for a bit or stop and rest for a while. I feel guilty. I feel that there is so much to be done, so little time to do it and if I don’t do it now that it won’t get done. I have this inner push that even while I sleep oftentimes is driving my dreams about either what I have to do tomorrow or what didn’t get accomplished today. I know, that’s a bit on the nuts side, but I’ve discovered that we’re all nuts in some places – it’s just that those nutty places are different for each of us.
Since I am so driven I discovered not long after Laura Kate, our first child was born, that I have a really hard time setting aside time to just spend together as a family. Whenever we would try to go for a stroll together as a family, or take a day for a trip to the mountains for pictures in the Fall or any other sort of time together, I would find myself working, on the phone or talking to Kim about something that had happened or I thought needed to be done at church. Again, I subconsciously thought that any time not working was time that was being wasted.
I was wrong. In fact, not only was I wrong, I was completely wrong. Time spent with my family, teaching my children, loving on my children and my wife isn’t time that is wasted – it’s time that is invested. You see, I’m called to be a pastor. I know that. God’s call is concrete and constant. However, the most important “congregation” I pastor is my own family. In fact, it’s so important that Paul says that if I can’t “rule” (the word means “to give attention to”) my own house well how can I know how to rule the church of God?
That’s why over five years ago I purposefully set aside Fridays to invest in my family. I know that many of the other nights of the week will be taken by church events, counseling sessions, preaching opportunities or committee meetings. But, years ago I prayed about it and asked the Lord to help me guard Friday as a day where my wife and children know that I will be available – body and mind – to invest a day together with them. We might take a trip together, work on school work together, do house work together, or simply do nothing. The key thing is that on Fridays are we “together.”
Now, don’t misunderstand, hear me say something that I’m not saying or think that I always meet the standard that I have set for myself as a husband and father. I don’t. There are times when the drive causes me to miss the mark. There are Fridays when either my body or my mind is absent from my family. However, if you don’t set a high goal you’ll never hit it and end up living on a lower level.
My schedule isn’t your schedule – I know that. But, what day have you set aside, marked on your calendar, set as a very important appointment to invest in the lives of your wife and children? What would it take to break that appointment? If you did break that appointment, would it be worth it in the long run? Who is more important than your family? Who needs your time, wisdom, attention or love more than they do? Where, or in who, can you invest your time, energy and love that you will see the dividends more clearly than in your own home? Make it a priority today to set aside ____day as “Family Day” at your home. You won’t be wasting time, or spending time – you’ll be investing time where it matters the most.