Plug In to What's Important

image courtesy of zitherica via
I usually ignore things the first time someone tells me something. I think it's a combination of three things:
  1. My natural skepticism ("That can't be true.")
  2. My pride ("If it was true, I would have known it already.")
  3. Sensory overload ("I have too many people telling me things, so I'll just filter this one out.")
For example, late last fall, as we were considering moving to Allendale, a close friend who was walking with me through this decision cautioned that I needed to prepare for feeling alone and isolated. I nodded, but inwardly thought he was off-base. Last month, I went back to him to apologize.

So, this past week when two articles in the same day came through my RSS feeds, about the same topic, I paid attention. Maybe God didn't want me to miss this one. The articles were both about how technology can distract us from what's much more important -- time with our children.

Last week, I wrote a post about Living Out the Sabbath With My Family, so my mind was already thinking about how I need to do better "redeeming the time" (Ephesians 5:16). But as I mentioned in that post, one of the dangers of focusing on the idea of the Sabbath is thinking that it only applies to one day per week. In truth, we need to have a constant mentality of resting in God, and prioritizing our time.

In Losing sight of the tweets that matter most, Jon Acuff helps me remember that I am parenting for the future. I don't need to get so caught up in the present use of technology, that I miss opportunities to strengthen my relationship with my children. "When my daughter is in college and some boy tries to convince her she's not unique, I want her to retweet the words of truth I spent her entire childhood telling her."

In Guerrilla Parenting: Active time vs. Passive time, Sam Luce reminded me that my kids need my active time. One particular thing that hit close to home was the point about not talking on the phone when in the car with my kids. I try to take a kid or two when I run errands. But being in the car is also a good time to make some much-needed phone calls. I need to do better with this, since my kids need my active attention.

From these articles, I was brought back to a book I read several years ago, but whose principles have stayed with me, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?Choosing to Cheat (Andy Stanley). The premise is that we'll always have to make choices of how we use our time. For most men, this tension is between family and work, but could also include hobbies and ministry. These areas are similar for women, but homemaking can also be an idol.

You've probably heard the adage that at the end of life, no one ever regrets spending more time at work, or golfing, or cleaning, or watching TV. What we regret is not spending more quality and active time with family (and close friends).

I resolve to plug more into to my family.

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  1. Good stuff. I was listening to Andy Stanley's leadership podcast the other day and he was talking about the "choosing to cheat" concept. I like the way he presents it and pushes you to make a conscious decision instead of letting outside demands dictate your time.

  2. Yes, great point about making it a conscious decision. The couple that did our pre-marital counseling (and who have been great mentors for us through the years) were always good about making hard choices but always being intentional with family time.

    I didn't include it, but there was actually a 3rd RSS feed that I came across this past week on the same topic. It was from Driscoll's leadership videos, and was a video of he and his daughter talking about how much he works and how much he spends time with family.