It’s the lie that our family will wait for us.
While we spend all of our time at work, or investing in a hobby, or making other people our priority, or doing everything else in this world but pour into them, we believe this falsehood that they’ll live life in a holding pattern, waiting for us to pay attention and engage with them.
Where do we get this idea? Are we that arrogant that we honestly believe other human beings will plan their entire lives around us but we won’t do that for them? How often have I stared at my phone or computer, studying intently the emails or text messages from a person I barely know, while my children are playing around me, or trying to tell me about their day? Many!
They’re not going to stop playing and just wait for me to listen. They’re going to find someone else to tell the story of their day to.
Here’s the cold reality I’ve come to personally with this- your children, and mine, will probably always love us, but they won’t always wait for us. In their hearts they will always have a place for you and I, but they will have to go on with their lives if we won’t participate. Our spouses may stay married to us, and keep a ring on their finger, but they might not always wait for us while we focus on everything else but them.
I don’t know why it is but we get into this mode, at times, where we treat our spouses and kids like they’re sub-human.
As if they have nothing better to do but sit around and wait for us to get our act together before they start living their lives. Or, as if they’re sheep who blindly follow us when we decide to start moving! That’s not what they are. They are human beings, chalked full of creativity, and joy, and fun, and adventure. They have lives to live too!
It’s up to us whether or not we will join them. But they won’t wait forever.
CONNECT WITH REALITY!
In the summer of 2005 I spent 6 full weeks away from home, traveling with the student ministry I led at the time. The trips I took students on were great. I saw many lives changed. I felt alive and filled up knowing that I was a part of something monumental in the lives of teenagers. But when I arrived home I realized how much I had missed with my family. That was painful.
There were even a few times where my kids tried to tell me about something fun they did, and they wound up saying, “You just had to be there to understand dad!”
But I wasn’t there. I had missed it. Sure I was doing the job that I felt called to do, but I was doing too much of it. Something had to change, and it did. I vowed never again to be gone for more than 2 weeks in the summer. I connected with the reality that my family was living life and I was missing it. They were no longer waiting for me to join them.
If this post resonates with you and you feel uneasy, or if you’ve been guilty like I have, of believing this all-to-common lie that we are told, here’s what you need to do-
Intentionally engage in the fight for your family. Engage in the beautiful life you’ve been blessed to live with them. You can start today! It’s a choice that you have to make though. No one, including your spouse or your children, can make it for you. Stop spending all of your time and investment on other people. Find the balance. Your future depends on this.
The tragedy is that when we live all of our lives for other people, and constantly put our family in second or third place, we will wake up one day and realize that we know them by name and association, but we knowing nothing about them.
I plead with you: don’t make that mistake!
Have you bought into this lie? Share your story with us.