“Guard Your Family” by Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens serves as the Executive Search Consultant Team Leader at Vanderbloemen Search Group. He was part of the team for 20 years with Granger Community Church.

He has written a book called Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles to Revolutionize Your Workplace.

Here’s a guest post by Tim:

Guard Your Family

“When I was in my twenties, I was married, we didn’t have any kids, and my wife, Faith, and I chased each other around the house like rabbits. Keeping family a priority was easy. I couldn’t wait to get home each day to spend more time with the love of my life.

When I got into my thirties, life began to get busy. We had a baby, then another, then another . . . and another. Then they turned into toddlers, and the pressure increased both at home and on the job. I loved my job and my family, so I tried to play it fiftyfifty. I tried to give both my best. But it started to be too much pressure.

A few years ago I went through a season where I thought I might lose my ministry. I thought there might be a time when I would no longer have my job and would lose my identity. I began thinking, What would be left? And I made the very intentional decision to no longer divide my focus fifty-fifty between my job and my home. I was going to make my family the priority.

Andy Stanley calls this “choosing to cheat” in his book by the same title.1 He says we should cheat our jobs instead of cheating our families. I understand what he means, but I don’t think I’m cheating my employer when I place the priority on my family. I think it is exactly what my employer expects of me.

I heard Andy say to a group of guys, “We were never commanded to love the church. We were commanded to love our wives. So true.

In June 2011, I spent a week with a consultant working on my life plan. I considered what my next phase of life should be about. We walked through my history, dreams, passions, opportunities, and more. It was an exhaustive process that helped me gain perspective and focus on the few things that should be central to my life. It should be no surprise that my next season revolved centrally around my family.

No one gets to the end of his or her life and says, “I wish I had spent more time at my job.” But often you will hear people reflecting on poor choices with their families: “I wish I had been around more when the kids were little,” or “We invested all our energy on the kids, and then when they left home there was nothing remaining for our relationship with each other.”

For those of you who work in ministry, it can mess with your mind, because you think that eternity is at stake and people’s lives are on the line. “If I stay at the office just a little bit longer, I can help scores of people . . .” Yeah, and if you wreck your marriage or lose your family, you will damage hundreds of people. Don’t let the lies lead you to have a mistress called “ministry” who gets more attention than your family.”

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