How do you balance between the responsibilities at work and responsibilities at home? This is the third most asked question I’ve ever received. (Perhaps I’ll cover the two more often asked questions in other blogs in the future.) I have to be honest; this is a hard question with no easy answers.
Every hard-working person I know who is also in a serious relationship has struggled with this question. In fact, you wouldn’t be asking the question if you weren’t honest about putting in a hard day’s work and honest about your responsibilities at home. This can become an impossible situation for every hard-working spouse.
No win situation
It’s the relationship aspect that makes this such a challenging situation. Your spouse deserves your time and attention. Your job also deserves your time and attention. No one has an unlimited amount of time, nor can we give equal attention to two things at the same time. Therefore, if you are honest worker, and you really love your family, you’re going to feel like you’re cheating your spouse by the time and the attention that you give to your vocation.
This often feels like a no-win situation. (If I give time to work, I’m cheating my family. If I give more time to my family, I’m cheating my job.) How does someone do both at the same time?
No balance in life
I believe the real problem with this question is the word balance. Balance denotes equality. In order to balance a set of scales, you have to put exactly as much weight on both sides of the scale. In order to achieve balance with both family and work, it feels like I have to give an equal amount of time and attention to both. The problem is, that balance is impossible! No one has ever really been able to achieve that kind of balance consistently.
Let me illustrate the impossibility of balance. Your children don’t give equal amount of time and attention to school and parents. They spend many more hours a week in school or in study than they do with parents. If time is the measure for balance between school and parents, a child cannot achieve balance. This is also true of the workplace. If balance implies that you have to spend exactly the same amount of time at home with your spouse that you spend at work, chances are, you’re going to find yourself unemployed really quickly. Maybe it’s time for us to stop using the word balance. Perhaps it’s time for us to start looking for a different word that denotes a healthy way of giving both of these the attention they both deserve at the time they deserve it. I prefer the word juggling. (More on that in another blog)
No worries at work
I chose this impossible scenario of work and home for a reason. Occasionally we find ourselves in impossible circumstances. How do you respond when you’re in a no-win scenario? What do you do when you find yourself caught in a crossfire with no easy out? How do you find peace in the midst of this tug of war? The answer to all of those questions is found on your knees!
Here’s a phrase you might want to commit to memory: When caught in the crossfire, drop to your knees! I’m not suggesting that you drop to your knees and cover your head because you’re getting shot at from both directions (although it’s generally a good idea to duck and cover when caught in a crossfire). I’m suggesting you drop to your knees in prayer when you’re in a no-win situation.
I believe Jesus is often waiting for people in the midst of impossible circumstances. Sometimes those impossible circumstances are designed to force you to pray to Jesus, because let’s be honest, if you can handle the circumstances on your own, you don’t really need Jesus. Jesus is often waiting in the middle of your impossible circumstances to show you his power. This is what he was saying in Matthew 17:20 when Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The circumstances in the first half of this sentence don’t really matter if you believe the second half of the sentence. Jesus is saying there’s no circumstance that is impossible for God. The impossible circumstances are the perfect opportunity for Jesus to show you his power to all things possible. Next time you’re caught between your spouse and work, drop to your knees and ask Jesus to give you peace in the midst of your struggles and power to deal with your circumstances!