It’s amazing what the world (Satan) has available to make sure I can’t focus on what I think I should.
Two jobs, for instance, really puts a cramp in my time. I should spend more time with the family. Maybe go to the zoo or to the park. Instead, most days of the week I’m crunching in just enough for a quick dinner and then off to job #2. When there is a little extra, I tend to goof it and write or study online, which is good of itself, but not very family-interactive. There are days when I get home from job #1 and I’m dog tired and just want a nap. But that leaves me feeling guilty because of a 2 to 4 hour loss of precious time. There’s always another something else that comes up like Girl Scouts or whatever that invariably separates us into two or three teams spread all over town. It’s pretty discouraging.
Once in a while there’s a whole day of no commitment. And those are the worst. Those days start off with sleeping in (much desired but already cutting off part of the day). Then there’s the obligatory web crawl with a cup of coffee. I call it “starting the day off right” because my surfing is more an hour long cruise through Christian media. That’s not bad at all, save it’s a piece of the formula that usually spells disaster for quality time with my girls.
Al Mohler wrote an article this week on just the digital stuff, and the discussion on commercialization also hit home. There’s so much clamoring for our attention and time that it’s no wonder I’m unstable. I would assume only a very blessed few have managed to escape the floodwaters of our distracted, overstimulated age.
Then we have the usual groping around for purpose during the day, kids going out to play, dad maybe making it to the garage for a project that’s hugely overdue, mom trying to keep up with college or the chef business. There are conflicts to deconflict and things to keep track of. And then dinner arrives and there’s nothing left.
Thankfully, on the empty days, we do get to enjoy tuck-ins, which rarely happen during the regular week. There’s family prayer, Bible study and lots of love before the kids get deposited into the sack for the night. I love that, though it’s sometimes challenging to run smoothly.
But the holes, back to the holes. There’s so much I want to focus on and not enough focus to really get there. I’d write in a tight schedule, but those things always crash and burn. Say, one day a week per kid, a block assigned to go out or focus on just one. And another for the Wife, a date. Yeah, and then where do those happen? Boy, this is a hard one.
I have a commitment to making sure the bread is on the table. That, for now, means two jobs. And I have to make sure I get enough hours at the second one (part-time) to make it worthwhile. That kills most week-nights and often at least half of both Saturday and Sunday. There’s so little time for much else. I’ve managed to block off time for the care of the soul. We are committed to Sunday mornings being Church and Church alone. No work can interfere if at all possible. And I’ve done the same with Mondays so that I, personally, can ensure I’m getting discipleship interaction with the Body. If I were to commit just one day more to not working, where would that leave me?
Now, I’m not whining solely for my own lack of satisfaction. This concern is partially for my own good, but even more for my family. We glorify God when we are fellowshiping as a family. That’s what I believe is the bottom line. We aren’t just a phase of the work-week when we’re together. It is so hard to be homework: chores: dinner prep: showers: tuck-ins: bed during the week and then nearly the same on the weekend.
I’m most thankful that the Lord provided us with a three-week vacation this year with a drive out to Mom and Dad. That gives us no work requirements, no duty, just time together on the road, camping, visiting family along the way and hopefully some really good times loving each other.
I still have to seek some guidance, I think, on the best way to deal with this impossible schedule. I’m tempted, though with a sort of frustrated, maybe irritated attitude, to can my reserved Mondays at Church to another day for a dedicated evening with family. I’m torn on that part. I need need need the external connection that the Fellowship provides. But I don’t have dedicated family in there either.
I’m similarly tempted to quit the #2 job. Not because I don’t want to work or because I don’t like the job, but because of the toll it’s taking on family time. At the moment, there isn’t any. But if I quit, I’m not filling the gap between debt and bread. That seems to be a failure to provide for the family. And that stinks too.
So where do I go? Which one do I choose? Prayer is where I start and that’s where I’m at right now.
Father’s day is coming up and I’m not feeling very successful at fathering.