Parenthood brings so many unique challenges. Not only do the doctors and nurses send you home with a tiny little human without any instruction manual, but now you are to care and provide for this tiny baby! No matter how many children you have, there is certain weight on your soul that comes with leading a family.
For me, I know that I am responsible for caring for my family, providing for them, and leading them in many ways, most importantly spiritually. Each of these responsibilities hold their own set of challenges as well.
Keep in mind: I’m not complaining. Being a husband and father, as well as having a vocation that provides for my family, blesses me continually. My description of this feeling merely serves to provide some background for where the balance between all of these can become shifted.
I am a minister, and too often my calling consumes me. The pressure that comes with any job, including the pressure I put on myself, squeezes tight on my soul. This pressure comes in many forms, but most times it comes from wanting to excel, making the Lord and my family proud.
This pressure affects my patience, personality, focus, time, and so many other aspects of me that I do not even realize most times. Where does this come from? Why is it so easily consuming? Many who work struggle with this, especially when working hard to provide for a family.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics, one of the USA athletes stood out to me. David Wise competed in the Ski Half-Pipe, and he won the gold medal in the 2014 Winter games in Sochi. During the competition, NBC showed an interview giving a glimpse into Wise’s life behind the skis. He spoke of how he realized what was really important – his faith and his family knowing they were loved by him – and how to his young children it didn’t really matter if he was the greatest skier in the world. He spoke these words right before winning his gold medal, defending his gold from the previous games.
Considering all of this, the story of Paul and Silas with the Philippian jailer comes to mind, from Acts 16:25-40. In verses 33-34, after Paul and Silas share the gospel with the jailor:
33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
My role as a husband and a father is to take care of my family, provide for them, and lead them to know Jesus. But while my kids are young, as they are now, what do they really care about? Do they care that I work hard to be a faithful minister? Do they care about anything I accomplish or any accolade I receive?
What my kids really care about is daddy playing a board game with them or listening to them play piano or having a dance party. They just want to be loved.
Hard work and excellence are great pursuits, but leading a family requires no less hard work and excellence. However, the type of work my family needs just may look different than what I had expected. The balance and the expectations change over time as well, as the seasons of life ebb and flow.
All parents feel pressure – but we do have some control of where that pressure is applied. May the goals I have in life be that I provide first and foremost the love of God to my family so that they know the Lord and seek to know Him. May I keep in balance being a great husband and father along with being great in my vocation.
Money, jobs, and awards all fade away. Focus on the things that last forever.