When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley
Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family
A good friend gave me a copy of this book. The insights on developing and maintaining a proper balance between work and family are excellent.
My Favorite Quotes
- There is not enough time in the day to be all things to all people.
- By failing to observe a principle, you can break yourself against it.
- When our attitudes and actions are right, our work is very pleasing to God. That’s the role of work in its purest form.
- You’ll never know what God is willing to do on your behalf until you’re willing to step out and trust him.
- Because your work is important to you, it’s important to God – because you’re important to God.
- God takes full responsibility for the life that’s wholly devoted to him.
- Instead of allowing the most recent crisis to force the issue, why not be governed by the greatest purpose?
- What change would your spouse most like you to make in regard to your schedule?
Part One: Inside the Cheated Heart
Chapter 1: When Your World Needs Reordering
This issue is never “Am I cheating?” The issue is “Where am I cheating?”
When you consider the limited number of hours in a day, there’s no way you can reach your full potential in all areas of life. There’s just not enough time.
Take some pressure off yourself. The problem is this: there is not enough time to get everything done that you’re convinced – or others have convinced you – needs to get done.
There is not enough time in the day to be all things to all people.
Our knee-jerk reaction to this dilemma is to answer the call of the squeakiest wheel. Whoever creates the biggest mess ends up with the lion’s share of our time and attention. We run from fire to fire, troubleshooting our way through life, rescuing the needy and rewarding those who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
Instead of allowing the most recent crisis to force the issue, why not be governed by the greatest purpose?
When we are willing to reprioritize in a way that honors our heavenly Father, he is willing to touch down in the midst of ou personal chaos and bring the order and balance we so desperately desire.
Principles are powerful things.
By failing to observe a principle, you can break yourself against it.
Chapter 2: Collision Course
Both work and family originate with the same Source: God. He created them to peacefully coexist.
God had the basic concept of work in mind all along. See Genesis 2:15.
When our attitudes and actions are right, our work is very pleasing to God. That’s the role of work in its purest form.
Contentment is found neither in the marketplace nor the family alone. It’s found when we align our priorities with God’s as it relates to both areas of responsibility. There’s nothing honoring to God about the workaholic who neglects his or her family.
Chapter 3: Falling Rocks
Andy Stanley tells a story where you imagine your best friend asking you to hold a 30-pound rock until he returns. He takes several hours to return and you can no longer hold the rock, eventually dropping it.
The meaning behind the story:
- When we ask our husbands and wives to carry our loads as well as theirs, it’s like handing them the rock.
- When we’re absent at critical junctures in family life, they’re left holding the rock.
- When we find ourselves pointing to the future to somehow make up for the past and the present, they’re holding the rock.
- When we assure our families that things are going to change, and they don’t, they’re holding the rock.
Chapter 4: Picking Up the Pieces
What your family wants from you more than anything else is to feel accepted and to feel like they’re your priority.
When we take advantage of a family member’s willingness to support our dysfunctional schedules and miss-prioritization, we send a message of rejection.
When their children were small, at least twice a week ad bedtime, Andy would ask each of them this series of questions:
- Is everything okay in your heart?
- Did anyone hurt your feelings today?
- Are you mad at anyone?
- Did anyone break a promise to you?
- Is there anything I can do for you?
Chapter 5: Double-Edged Sword
Facilitating your husband’s or wife’s irresponsible behavior and unhealthy priorities is not an act of love.
In choosing to put your family first, you’ve brought your priorities in line with those of your heavenly Father. And when you surrender your will to the Father, he takes responsibility for the outcome of the journey.
Part Two: Strategy for Change
Chapter 6: Tale of Two Kings
This chapter looks at Daniel chapter one in the Bible and the situation Daniel faced when asked to eat food that was offered to the Babylonian gods. It focuses on how Daniel humbly approached his keeper and worked out a mutually agreeable compromise.
If you’re ready to redirect your priorities, three things are probably going to be required. He says “probably” because this narrative is an illustration, not a blueprint.
- First, you have to make up your mind.
- Second, you need to come up with a plan.
- Third, you need to set up a test. A trial for the plan.
Chapter 7: Make Up Your Mind
Reprioritizing your world around your family is not just a good idea; it’s a God idea.
To ask my family to take the leftovers is more than insensitive. It flies in the face of everything we’re taught in the New Testament about the family.
Nowhere in Scripture are you commanded to lay down your life for your stock options. Or to love your career like Christ loved the Church. We are instructed to do our jobs and love our families (Colossians 3:23). When you love your job and do your family, you’ve not only stepped outside the bounds of family life, you’ve stepped outside the will of God.
Obedience in this area opens you up to the blessings and faithfulness of God at home and at work.
On the human side, there are two big benefits to making up your mind in the midst of uncertainty:
Only something as powerful as a heartfelt conviction could reverse the misdirected momentum caused by your miss-prioritization. You need something to reverse your momentum. A conviction has the power to do that.
When you commit to a direction, it narrows your options. And that in turn forces you to focus only on the options that will lead to the desired results.
Eliminating options is part of what makes this process so painful.
What change would your spouse most like you to make in regard to your schedule?
Don’t worry about how. Focus on what. Presume on God for a minute. Assume he’s going to support you.
The things that will make or break you professionally are not related to the number of hours you work. A sixty-hour work week doesn’t guarantee you more success than a forty-five-hour work week.
Chapter 8: Create a Plan
- Wisdom and Tact
- Posturing (don’t do it)
- No Deception
- Daniel Asked
- Daniel Listened
God honors diplomacy and dependency. Both are necessary. Having a plan isn’t a lack of faith.
You can do the right thing the wrong way and end up in a worse situation than the one you left.
Chapter 9: Set Up a Test
Daniel proposed a test.
“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” -Daniel 1:17
Something divine happened. Daniel and his friends didn’t simply outsmart their peers. God gave them knowledge and intelligence. They were the recipients of divine intervention.
You’ll never know what God is willing to do on your behalf until you’re willing to step out and trust him.
Because your work is important to you, it’s important to God – because you’re important to God.
Chapter 10: Trading Places
Nobody gets to the end of life and wishes they had spent more time at the office.
- Make up your mind.
- Develop a plan.
- Deliver it diplomatically.
- Be willing to walk.
- And then watch for God.
After all, God takes full responsibility for the life that’s wholly devoted to him.
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