I was more productive today, it was nice. I think my brain may be beginning to detox a bit. My wife told me that I’m still too preoccupied with church stuff, but hey, that’s what workaholics do right?
I’ve had a few people tell me that they’ve experienced the same problems as workaholics. It’s so easy to just get caught up in our work and never rest….
My father-in-law is a prime example of this. He retired about 8 months ago, but he is a workaholic, so he’s found something to do during his retirement, he’s flipping houses. He’s really good at it too! As a matter of fact, he’s in the middle of working on two houses at once right now. Like any good workaholic, he just doesn’t know what to do if he sits still for too long.
Something I’ve begun to realize though is that, whether you’re driven to always be working, or whether you need to work hard to motivate yourself to work hard, retiring shouldn’t mean stopping. I’ve seen people stop working once they retired, and it’s seemed like they just started dying much faster. Both of my grandpas don’t know the meaning of the word retire. They’ve both continued to be in constant work mode no matter how old they’ve gotten. One of my grandpas is a pastor, and although he technically “retired” over 10 years ago, he’s never stopped being a pastor (because you’re never not a pastor). I’ve learned so much from all these men. If God sees fit to allow me to be a pastor for the rest of my life, then I hope he will also see fit to grant me as much strength and energy as my grandpas and dad-in-law.
Today, he certainly did, and I was productive. But, something else you learn as you grow up is that “being productive” and “working” don’t simply mean “doing a job”. I would actually classify all things that God calls us to do besides resting “work.” Whether you are playing with your kids, or working at your vocational job, or cooking dinner, or just taking your wife out on a date, you are, in one sense, working.
So today, I took my wife out on a date, and it was very productive work!
Now, before I get in trouble, I don’t want people to think that by calling time with my wife “work” that I in some way mean that it’s not willing and joyful and an honor and privilege to do. All I mean is that God has called me to love my wife, and anything God has called me to do is part of the “work” he wants me to do. But I LOVE spending time with Kari. She is my best friend, and my most trusted companion. So I took her out today, not out of obligation, but out of a joyful motivation to spend time with her.
As a matter of fact, I intend to have some kind of “date” with Kari every day this month. That is one of the most important things that I have on my schedule to do this month. It’s also probably THE thing I am most looking forward to. Lately she and I have felt a little disconnected. I don’t fault either of us, so much as the simple life circumstances that have assaulted us throughout the past 4 or so months. We’ve found that we’ve been missing each other lots lately, and this vacation is our chance to catch back up.
My relationship with Kari is my most prized thing on this earth, and I strive hard to always be finding ways to keep our relationship strong during the many storms that life (God) throws at us. Admittedly, over the past two years, we’ve been stretched and pushed in ways that we could’ve never been prepared for, but thankfully, by God’s grace, we’ve maintained both a strong marriage and an even stronger friendship (I hope no one takes me the wrong way on that). My wife and I have never had a fight, and we’ve never yelled at each other, and, in our almost 5 years of marriage, by God’s grace I’ve only ever raised my voice and snapped at her once. I fully recognize that it’s been only God and his provision that has made this happen, but I also know that God works through normal means and everyday life, and Kari and I have strived with all our might to take responsibility for keeping our marriage strong.
Of course, we try to have the once/week date nights…but it’s so much more than that. It takes so much work to keep from losing each other, especially when you have a big family. It can be so easy to put your children first. And to be honest, we were taken by surprise by that one when we first adopted our older three. We went from 0 kids to 4 in under two years, and the age ranges were from 2-13! So, needless to say, it took some work for us to figure out how to manage this house and not lose sight of the most important piece of it…our marriage.
We did it though, again, by God’s grace, and we emerged on the other side so much stronger, and so much closer. Because of this, when we hit walls like we have during that past few months, we recover much more quickly than we might have 3 or 4 years ago. And sometimes, I even schedule month long vacations just so that I can make sure that NOTHING threatens my marriage;-)
I hope that if you’re married, you take time to be with your spouse, but more than that, I hope that you FIGHT for time to be with your spouse. I hope that you do whatever it takes to stay friends with your husband/wife, even when that means that your kiddos suffer for a while. Or even if you have to ask someone to babysit…alot. It’s worth it, and actually, there is very little else in this life that is worth more than the relationship with your spouse, so I pray that you would see that, and fight for it, and stay friends with your spouse.