A recent survey revealed that 10 out of 10 Christian men struggle with balancing work and family. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people (even non-Christians), because ingrained in almost every man is a desire to succeed and achieve – whether on the job, in the home, on the ball field, in the boardroom, or even in the bedroom; it’s part of his masculine DNA makeup.
Because of this insatiable desire to “succeed,” many men are willing to adopt a “whatever it takes” kind of attitude just so they can win the approval, applause, and adoration of men — even if it sacrifices their marriage, their children, or even their health.
But many men have come to learn the hard and humbling truth behind Mark 8:36 – For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul. And there lies the dilemma and our A-R-M Question of the week: How does a man balance the responsibilities of work and family and still “succeed” as a man? Check out what some of our REAL MEN contributors have to say about this.
Balancing work and family is an intentional decision to bring a part of your single self into the marriage covenant. I struggled with this until recently. As a Retired Army Officer, my priorities and schedule were previously set. This was even after my firstborn came into the world.
One day shortly before child number four came along, it dawned on me, despite me putting my faith IN God, I was still IN the world. How can I lead my family without living the priorities God set forth in my heart? From that time forward, there was no more skipping church for that important work project, putting off prayer to focus on other things (I now have constant prayer and conversation with God).
I reset my priorities to be: God, my wife, my kids, my family, then work, and other things. I even went as far as to raise my kids with the same thought process. If you ask them what their priorities are, they will tell you: God, family, school, and then whatever activity they’re involved in.
Why think like this you ask? Because God is the reason. If anything should happen, my wife and I entered a marriage covenant in front of God until one of us falls asleep for eternity. My family includes my children and other family members. My family is very large and extended. While there is a large support system, however, I know they have their own lives as well; and with the exception of my children, they too have their own priorities.
As a single person, and for a short time after getting married, I struggled to make my mark and a statement. I finally listened to what God placed on my heart and started living for Him and allowed His guiding hand to provide the balance that was there all along.
First, let me confess that it took a long time for me to understand what I am about to say and even longer to implement the actions required to live it. My identity, my self image if you will, was directly tied to who I was in my profession; and as such, I worked very hard at my job to be the best employee and example to others I could. What I failed to fully understand was even if I was supplying my family’s physical needs (shelter, food, clothes, transportation, etc.), I also had a responsibility as a “man” to fill their spiritual, emotional, and psychological needs as well.
Enter this idea: My Lord loves me because I am His. He does not look at me and judge me based on how I “appear” to those around me; He loves me because I am His child. He loved me so much that He endured beatings, humiliation, and death to prove to me that I am special to Him. He took all my sins upon Himself, and made me clean. And He gives all who call on His name and confess their sins that same love and cleanliness. He is love; He is all we need to be a man who has succeeded. In His hierarchy, He is THE BOSS. When one understands this, everything else begins to come into focus.
God has given us a family and commanded that we, as men, take care of them. He has given us, His men, the authority (responsibility) to guide our families in the ways He has ordained. He has told us that in order to be a successful man, we must take care of our families. Yes, we must be His representatives on our jobs, but we must also live our lives in a godly way, bringing all honor and glory to Him. Because in the final judgment of our “success as men,” how we have led our family to God will be the standard by which success is measured.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – I Corinthians 10:31
Keep the main things the main things. So you must ask yourself: What are the main things?
It’s really as easy as 1, 2, 3.
#1 – As a man of faith you must first clothe yourself with the full armor of God. As men, we are in a battle, so make no mistake about it, the enemy wants us spiritually dead and out of “right relationship” with our Heavenly Father (see Ephesians 6: 10-18).
Your personal relationship with God is the most important thing (or at least it should be). If you’re not straight with God in your own skin, I can assure you, your life will be out of balance in other areas as well.
#2 – If you are married, your wife comes next, then your family – kids, parents, extended family, etc. This is how God has called you to love her (see Ephesians 5: 25-29).
#3 – Work is next. You are called to provide for your family and you will toil with this until the day you die, providing for them spiritually and monetarily. (see I Timothy 5:8, also see Genesis 3:17, also see Joshua 24:15)
Balancing work and family is as simple or as hard as you decide to make it. Life balance is a snap when you keep the main things the main things!
It basically comes down to priorities. My relationship with God is first, then my wife, then my children and then my ministry, business, and career/job. So many times I’ve seen men become a public success and a private failure. Everything they say they are working for takes flight and walks out of the door. When we understand as men that our families are a top priority then we will see our homes, cities, states and country change. Sometimes we have to down size and live within our means so we don’t have to spend excessive time outside of the home. Our families need us to be in the home actively leading them today, more than ever before!
Interesting timing as I recently wrote about this. The short answer to this question is to chose and set your priorities. There never will be, nor should there be, balance. I think you have to establish boundaries and set priorities. God does not desire to be “balanced” with work; He expects to be first. I think our spouses feel they shouldn’t be equal with work, but above it. So our priorities should be: God, spouse, family, work — (in that order). To go deeper on this answer, read this: http://www.ronaldwyers.com/balance/
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REAL MEN Contributors is a community of 30+ men of God (in Chattanooga and abroad) who have collectively and successfully amassed more than 350+ years of marriage miles, 525+ years of fatherhood prayers, and have more than 275+ years of spiritual leadership experience. To become a Real Men Contributor, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.