The Fall is usually the busiest time of year for me. The looming holiday season makes life at Breatkhrough busy, but also it makes family life busy, of course, with traveling and all. Also, Breakthrough has its Annual Benefit in the Fall, which is our most important event of the year. And, yes, the Chicago Bears. And this Fall has proven to be no less busy. I've just added new staff to my team at Breakthrough, and our leadership team is finishing up a strategic planning process. And on the church side, we've started a new church community with some neighborhood initiatives attached to it. And at home we're refinancing, and I have work to do around the house. And I want to keep up with my music, and go to the gym...and...and [*KABOOM*]
I already tend to juggle a lot in life. Although I don't consider myself a workaholic, very rarely am I only working on one thing. So it's been a lot on me this season already, keeping me up at night thinking about staying on top of those things.
But the most important thing of all just happened to me and my wife - we welcomed our baby girl Evangeline into the world. And we have been pouring all our love into her these last few weeks.
So yesterday I come home from work. and I'm totally exhausted. I haven't slept for two weeks. I've got all that stuff on my mind, and it's Friday evening. I don't have anything really to do that evening, but my mind wants me to work on something. And I think I'm hungry, but nothing seems appetizing to me. I was a wreck.
Then I start talking with a buddy from church on the phone, and he recognizes that I'm just not myself. I admit to him that I'm adjusting to my new schedule with the baby and all, and I'm wondering how I'm going to keep up with all this other stuff, and I need to be plugged better into the Spirit to do that, but my prayer routine is off and I'm not feeling powerful spiritually...blah blah blah.
But he stops me and tells me no! "You don't have to worry about any of that," he says. "God has got all that stuff covered, and he's got lots of people besides you. And remember, all this stuff depends on God anyway, not you." Then reminds me about a story in the Bible in which a guy named Uzzah dies because he irreverently touches the Ark of the Covenant to save it from falling down, even though God told the people never to touch the Ark.
"Don't be like that dude and destroy yourself by trying to do what you're really not supposed to do right now," he says. "What you have to do right now is be a father."
And I stop him and say yes!
He's so right. In an instant it dawned on me how easy it is to forget that your first and foremost career is your family. Sure, the workaholic business guys in the movies get the bad rap for putting their families aside, but it's no different for people who work in non-profit, ministry environments. No matter what field they're in, leaders constantly have so much on their minds as they try to accomplish the mission before them that it's easy to take their families for granted. Somehow we behave as if our families don't need that kind of leadership energy. They kind of run themselves, right?
But the best leaders are the ones who lead their families first. Who pray and strategize constantly on how to love their spouse and kids better. Who innovate ways to make their the home the best one on earth. Who capitalize on every opportunity to make the most of their lives together.
I've already been married for several years, so this is not entirely a new lesson for me. I've always worked at putting my marriage before everything. But it certainly is a renewed lesson now with our daughter, and I'm certainly not perfect at it. So I am really excited to learn and practice this more. Thankfully, I have a lot of good role models at work, at church, and in my own family to coach me through it.
What should keep me up at night is how I can be a better husband and father. Evangeline has already got the keeping me up part down. The rest is on me.