Are You Forgetting the Little Things?
It’s not so much what we don’t know that causes us to stumble, but NOT applying what we already know.
When I asked a group of Christian men to rank the top three issues they struggle with the most, overwhelming the #1 answer was balancing work, family, and God. Although I was somewhat surprised to see their answer outrank financial pressures, communicating with their wife, raising their children, and struggling with pornography, I gained a new perspective on that this morning.
Yesterday, I confessed to my wife, and to our small “Life Study Group,” that I almost experienced an anxiety attack a couple of days ago. Facing the enormous load of working in full-time men’s ministry (with no pay); fulfilling my responsibilities to my current educational clients (for pay); helping my wife run her fitness business; mentoring the young men in my life; trying to take good care of my aging body; be a father to two, a husband to one; and spend time with my Creator, I almost went into “shut down mode.” Not to mention all the numerous tasks around the home that needed to be taken care of. Now I know why Christian men ranked “balancing life” as their #1 issue.
But what do you do about it as a man, husband, father, and leader when life is pulling you in ways your body and mind won’t allow you to stretch? You do just the opposite--you don’t speed up to catch up; you slow down to grow up! My 7th-grade daughter taught me that lesson today as she was getting ready to catch her school bus.
To “regain control” of my schedule, I decided I would discipline myself to get up an hour and a half earlier, so I could extend my work day – starting with spending time with God and then jumping into my work. I had my plan all in place, and I like a man, I was ready to execute the game plan.
After praying, I headed upstairs, and I saw my daughter. I said, “Good morning Sweet Pea,” and she replied, “Hey Daddy, what are you doing up so early?” I told her I wanted to get an earlier jump on my day by spending time with God before working. And as she was heading towards the front door, I told her I wanted to pray for her, and she agreed. After we prayed, my 12-year old daughter taught me a lesson that trumped anything I could have read in a devotional today.
She said, “Daddy, you should get up earlier every morning so you can spend more time talking to me.” Even though she laughed as she said it, I couldn’t help but think of my own relationship with my Father; not my biological father, but God the Father. How often do we make spending time with God more about reading a certain number of chapters in the Bible; finishing a particular devotional; or praying for a certain length of time; when all He’s asking us for is just to “spend a little time talking to Him.” He tells us His in Matthew 6:33, “If we seek Him first and His righteousness, all things will be added unto us.”
Yes, my life is hectic (mostly due to my own choosing), but the truth is, God doesn’t require us to do all the things “we choose” to do. He simply reminds us not to forget the “little things” that are most important: our relationship with him and our relationship with others. I hugged my daughter as she headed out the door, and I told her, “Yes Sweet Pea, I will spend a little more time with you. Thank you for wanting to spend a little time with your father.”
MY PRAYER: “Dear Lord, forgive me for allowing the cares of the world to consume my thoughts as well as my time. Thank you for the responsibility you’ve given me, as a man, to shepherd my family, to minister to your people, and to serve my community. But God, gently remind me throughout my day that seeking a relationship with you and building one with my family and others are far more important than the rewards I can ever receive from the world. Give me grace in my schedule to put You first in ALL things, so everything else will be added unto me. Amen.”
Your Study Verse: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:33-34
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