I love going to church on Sunday mornings and worshipping my God. I also love watching my Seattle Seahawks play football. Because of those two loves, I’m overjoyed and thankful for the invention of the DVR.
Back in the stone age, before the DVR was invented, I often had a difficult decision to make. The television broadcast of all the Seahawk home games start shortly after 1pm Pacific Standard Time (unless they play on Monday or Thursday night….then it’s usually 5:30pm). But when they play on the road, games can start as early as 10am. I found myself in a pickle regarding these early, Sunday morning games. Would I be spiritual, go to church, and miss the beginning of the Seahawk game? Or would I be like the heathens, stay home, and miss out on worshipping God with my fellow believers?
Then one glorious day, Karen and I saw the light. We switched watching television from an antennae feed to receiving it via satellite. From that point on, I no longer had to choose between my two loves. I could now ease my burden of guilt and attend church on Sunday mornings with the knowledge that, because of my DVR machine, I would never again miss a single pass, interception or bone-crunching hit. I could even skip through all the commercials….hallelujah!!!
In reality, all the DVR did was give me the opportunity to avoid making a commitment. I now didn’t have to choose what part of my life I would make a bigger priority….worshipping God, together with my church family, or cheering on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks from the comfort of my favorite recliner.
As parents and grandparents, we face a similar dilemma. Most of us know in our hearts what is most important….our family. The brain though works quite differently from our heart both functionally and figuratively. The three pounds of gray matter between our ears is really a super computer and as we know, computers deal with problems logically.
So our heart and our mind are often in conflict with each other. As parents, these types of conflict show up regularly. For example, many men have their egos and self-esteem directly tied to their careers. Therefore a father’s (and sometimes even a mother’s) career appear to be a higher priority than their family. In this instance a parent who comes home after a long day at work may find himself confronted by an angry spouse and children who need their father. To avoid making a commitment, he will find something to shift the focus away from having to make a choice.
- He may barricade himself in his shop to work on projects.
- He says he needs some space, so he crawls into his man-cave and hibernates all evening in front of the television.
- To be able to unwind, he spends much of his free time hunting, fishing or playing golf with his buddies.
Another example of a parent who struggles with prioritizing is a person battling addiction. A woman trying to cope with alcoholism and being a nurturing, responsible mother is in constant conflict. Her heart breaks when she drinks too much and misses her child’s ball game, forgets to pick up her son at school, or constantly argues with her husband, about her addiction, in front of their children. Her mind will come up with many reasons to avoid having to choose between her family and her addiction.
In an interview with People Magazine, Elizabeth Vargas, the ABC 20/20 journalist talks about the inner fight raging inside her. She admits to dropping the ball as she attempts to juggle her priorities of being a wife, mother and an alcoholic.
“Rehab isn’t what finally got me sober. It was nearly losing everything and finally seeing that whatever benefit I thought alcohol gave me was outweighed by what it would cost me.”
She recalls celebrating her son’s 8th birthday after a separation from her husband. While her intention was to have a fun evening making her son feeling special, the evening ended up with her in a detox center.
“(Alcoholism) is not a matter of self-discipline. It’s not even a character flaw. I would not hesitate for a nanosecond to step in front of a bullet, to do anything to give my life for my children,” she said, “I would kill for my children. And I couldn’t stop drinking for my children.”
Whether it is a parent who works long hours; a parent who struggles with alcoholism; or a father trying to be a good role model but chooses to stay home on Sunday mornings to watch a football game over going to church; this world offers many distractions which can cause us to lose focus on how we prioritize our life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to condemn someone who has to work long hours to pay their bills. I’m not judging a person who has an addictive disease. I will never stop cheering for my Seahawks. But what I am saying is this: Is there something in your life which is interfering with your ability to be the best parent and spouse you can be? If so, do you acknowledge this is a problem which needs to be dealt with? Or do you have a “DVR” in your mind, recording the ways to rationalize away the need to make your family the highest priority behind your relationship with God?
When you allow something else to gain equal access to your family, your heart is divided. As you try to serve both your family and your other desire, one will eventually rule over the other.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other….”
The key is making God your highest priority. Once that is in place, the rest of your life will begin to line up like a row of dominos. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect though. At times we will clumsily knock over a domino. The trick is to bring this action to God and together you can stop the one domino from starting a chain-reaction and knocking away all the progress you have made.
Psalm 103: 13-14 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (show reverence to) Him; for He knows how we are formed. He remembers that we are dust.
We all struggle from time to time choosing to make the right decisions regarding the priorities in our lives. Let’s remember what our most valuable treasures are. On earth it is our family but God, like an umbrella, needs to cover every aspect of our lives.
“Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” Luke 12: 34