Begin To Understand Your Limits
To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17
In her book, Having It All, psychologist Deborah Lee quotes an investment consultant as saying, “Having both work and family is a plus.” She points out that a balanced portfolio is much safer than having all your stock in one company. Question: “Can you really have it all?” Can you have a rewarding job and a happy family—a high- powered, high-stress job with a lot of demands and a salary to match, at the same time you are a mother or a dad who is there for his or her children? Can you succeed in business and still be there when your child takes his first step, or throws his first ball at Little League? Can you sit on the corporate board and be there for Parent’s Day when your daughter’s first grade teacher shows moms and dads how well little Teresa can read?
Can you have it all? Before you really decide, give your heart a listening ear for the next three minutes. Balancing home and family responsibilities requires the skill of a diamond cutter and the balance of a tightrope walker. Knowing when to prioritize, of course, is the key to the whole matter. But I, for one, am convinced that it is impossible to have it all and to do it all. There are just not enough hours in a day, nor enough emotional energy to measure up to the unrealistic expectations which society, the work place, and our consciences place upon us.
This demands tough decisions as to what is important in your life, especially in the long run. Of course, there will always be specific needs in both the work place and in our social lives which demand extra hours and energies, but deciding what is important and then making long range decisions in light of those major goals helps you to decide where to draw the line–when to say, “I’m sorry but my answer is no.”
A word of warning. Affirming long term values comes at the cost of short-term losses. OK, you don’t get the promotion or the pay increase or the special bonus, but you do live without as much stress and may, perhaps, see your child take his first step and be there when your son hits the ball out of the park, or receives his honor for excellence at school. Surely that counts for something.
Part of this whole issue is, who is in control of your life and destiny? You or your employer? Which is more important to you–realizing your dreams, or fulfilling the expectations and pressures of the corporate world? When you finally acknowledge that your life has been a rat race with the rats winning, it’s time to back off and ask yourself, “What’s important to me?”
One of the reasons that it is so difficult for us to come to terms with this issue is that we have lost sight of the importance of being a mother or a dad. Long ago we forgot that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. The few brief years of parenting are quickly over but the years of harvest carry into the next generation.
Having it all is an oxymoron—a kind of contradiction of terms. It’s what you really want that will eventually determine what you get. Yes, life is a matter of balance, but like the juggler who has crystal balls in the air which won’t bounce on the pavement, you must realize that there are no second chances – no returns on the boardwalk of life. That’s why careful, prayer decisions will produce long range dividends. Forget about having it all. Decide what you really want, and go after it!
Resource reading: Proverbs 31