Last time, we introduced you to this diagram that provides the background for our “balancing family, work, and church” discussion.
The categories on the left represent life before kids. We have our personal time; hobbies and other interests. We have our work commitment, time as a couple, and spending time with friends. Other categories are our extended family, ministry pursuits, and some time for margin in our lives.
What I tried to show in the drawing is how all those areas get squeezed when the kids come along. One of the few exceptions is our work. That time requirement generally stays the same after the children arrive and I showed that with the thickness of that category staying the same. But what about the others? We are just going to have less time in them.
For example, when I was in college I did a lot of reading. When our family was growing, I probably did not read one book a year. That is just a snapshot of how things naturally change when you are raising a family. There will be less knitting, less fishing trips, fewer dates, and fewer outings with friends. This change is not a bad thing, because someone new is in your life. The key to health in these areas is that while they cannot stay the same, you do not want them to go to zero either.
Thinking about just one of these areas for example, if you let your time as a couple go to zero in those busy years with children, what will life look like when you come out the other side; when the children leave the house? There will be no spark, no fire, no romance, and you will look at each other and wonder, “Who are you?” No, we cannot let these areas go to zero. So how do we balance the “they can’t stay the same” and “they can’t go to zero”?
We will talk about some practical ideas to do just that…next time.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to share with the men of Cypress Bible Church a presentation on finding a healthy balance in our family, work, and church responsibilities. The talk was a mix of biblical admonitions and life experience. As our five children have moved into adulthood, it has afforded us the chance to look back and reflect on where God has taken us as a couple and as a family over the past 35 years. Over the next several posts, I would like to continue the conversation started at the men’s breakfast and write about the experiences and principles that guided us as a way to encourage you on your own family journey.
I have included a family photo to introduce you to the cast of characters. Rhonda and I started life together with a simple trust in seeking God’s voice and wisdom in building our marriage and raising our family. By God’s grace, we have been blessed by a family that loves and serves and is loyal to each other; a family that truly enjoys being together. There have been plenty of rocky ups and downs along the way, but God has kept us on a consistent path of growing closer to Him and closer to each other. In a way, the photo above is the goal. Not to be just like the Lehmans, but to find your own family identity and create your own family legacy. And the beauty of the process is that YOU CAN DO IT!
Now to get us started, I have a diagram designed to give you a visual on where we are going as we explore some of the keys to a healthy balance of family, work, and ministry in our service to the Lord.
The left side of the chart represents some of the ways we spend our time prior to having children. As we move to the right, we add children to the mix. With this new joy (and the busyness and time required that comes with it) the old areas of how we spend our time get squeezed. And we will dedicate several posts to how we are to manage this “squeeze”. We will also look at our new responsibility of children as much more than babysitting or child care. It is investing in your family legacy. The categories branching out to the right of “Children” show how we invest in our families.
With this short and simple overview as an introduction, we will dive into the nuts and bolts of each category starting with our next post. See you then.