For almost everyone, the word cheating has negative connotations, especially if you’ve ever been cheated.
Students cheat in school. Adults cheat on their income taxes. Husbands cheat on their wives. Most of us have cheated in a card game or two. But allow me to use this unpleasant word in a broader sense. Try thinking of it simply as choosing to give up one thing in hope of getting something else of greater value.
By that definition, there’s no doubt that we’re all cheaters. Daily we decide to short-change one thing to more fully experience another. It’s especially true with our schedules. We face a variety of responsibilities and opportunities – work, family, hobbies, clubs, and sports. The list is endless. Each competes for our attention. Each competes for our most valuable resource: our time. But to give each the time it demands or deserves would require more than any of us have.
So, we “cheat.”
We give up certain opportunities for the sake of others. We invest in some relationships while neglecting others. We divide our time the best we can, knowing all the while that somebody’s going to feel cheated. Unfortunately, that “somebody” is usually someone that we care a great deal about.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours with men and women who’ve cheated their families for the sake of their career goals. They all admitted knowing that there was a problem. They all tried in their own way to dissipate the tension. But they felt trapped. Over time they dreaded coming home. The reception was cold. The conversation was filled with sarcasm to hide the pain. The discomforts of home drove many to work even longer hours. Others went to the gym. Some to a bar. A few found comfort in the arms of co-workers or friends.
Eventually, things unravelled to the point that they had no choice but to seek help. For most there was an event, a wake-up call: Suddenly their kids had withdrawn. Overnight someone’s grades had dropped off. Out of nowhere, she was more interested in tennis than the family. Without explanation, intimacy evaporated. But in each case, these were symptoms of something that had been brewing for quite some time.
We all wrestle with the tension between work and family. Regardless of which side of the equations you’re on, you know what it’s like to deal with the endless cycle of guilt, anger, jealousy, and rejection. Left unattended, these seething emotions have the potential to erode the foundations of even the strongest marriages.
But, there’s a solution. Strangely enough, the solutions are similar to the problem. Both involve “cheating,” in that the broader sense of giving up one thing to gain something else. Simply put, you just choose to cheat at work rather than at home.
The book, “When Work and Family Collide” is about established priorities. A priority is something that you put ahead of something else. A priority is something that you say “yes” to even when it means saying “no” to other important things. Everybody “cheats” like this.
It’s a principle already at work in your life…one way or another.
When you put it to work for you, it has the power to transform every facet of our life. When you choose to do so in accordance with God’s priorities in your life, it’s an invitation for Him to bless you in ways that you never dared to imagine.
Excerpt taken from “When Work and Family Collide” by Andy Stanley.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏