Pursuing Your Dreams vs. Being a Good Spouse/Parent

On this edition of Monday Matters, we’re tackling a doozy!

Last week, I received this question from Jim Woods – www.jimwoodswrites.com
(Ya’ll go pay him a visit!)

“Matt, the struggle between building a business/pursuing a dream and being a husband and parent is a topic I would love to see discussed.”

I loved Jim’s question so much because it hit right at the core of my own experience.

So many of us have our own pursuits as well as our responsibilities to our families.  It often feels like they meet head-on in an ugly collision and that collision can lead to abandoning one or the other.

If you abandon your dream, you grow bitter as resentment takes root.  If you abandon or isolate your family, well, you get the picture.

I sat down and started thinking about this in my own life and I tried to put practical steps in play that help me navigate these dangerous waters.

It literally brought to mind a particular day a few summers ago when I was caught out on the boat as a storm approached.  As the wind picked up and the rain began to pound, I was responsible for navigating the chop as we headed towards safety.

Maui Sky

Here are a few points of consideration:

1.  Seek Shelter (Where do you Find Help)

In any struggle or storm, you have to know where safety is.  In my life, my relationship with God has to be the primary objective to any relationship or pursuit I engage in.  This is exactly why I created Seeking Saturday.

I love Hebrews 6:19 which says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  God is my anchor, my shelter.  If I fail to seek refuge in Him, everything else crumbles.  

As you pursue your dreams and manage the responsibilities at hand, shelter is necessary.  

ACTION STEP - Create the habit of a consistent quiet time and journaling.  Find what centers you.

2.  Ride the Wave (Embrace the Struggle)

If you learn to expect challenges instead of being completely thrown off by them, you’ll begin to embrace the struggle rather than fight it.  If you’ve ever navigated rough water, you know that it’s actually easier to ride with the chop, than against it.

I know this is easy to say and harder to do, but I need a reminder ALL OF THE TIME!  Too often, I’ve tried to overcome the struggle, battling it until I’m bloody and defeated.  I’ve learned that it’s much easier to embrace it, learning to enjoy the process.

Be intentional about embracing every part of the journey!

ACTION STEP - Write down challenges and the best way to approach them!  For example, my wife and I organize one-on-one time with the kids so that we're intentional about not neglecting their needs.

3.  Know Your Course – (Redefine What You Seek)

When we’re in the middle of our pursuit, we often think our goals are segregated.  For example, if I build my business, I can’t be a good father.  Don’t fall into that trap.  As a ship’s captain, you always need to know your course.  On one hand, building your business is incredibly important to your family, so it DOES honor to them.  On the other hand, it should never take away FROM them.

I think of it like this.  What kind of honest, upstanding business person would I be if I were a terrible father?  Is that really what I want success to look like?  You can’t take on a pursuit that honors God if it conflicts His teaching in the process.

Both go hand in hand!  Instead of making your pursuit all about your dream, recognize that they blend together into one.  Redefine the pursuit as it encompasses every area of your life and each will gain focus!

ACTION STEP - Think of ways your goals meet your responsibilities and how they can benefit each other!  For me, this comes by redefining the word rich.  As I pursue richness, it not only includes finances, but personal and spiritual richness as well.

Jim, I hope this helps give you some insight and maybe added perspective.

Honestly, this opened up a world of conversation in my own head, so I feel this topic is far from done!

Would any of your Twitter friends benefit from this? (tweet here)

Is there anything I missed or any other points you’d like to add?

Leave them below and thank you for joining us on Monday Matters.

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2 Responses to Pursuing Your Dreams vs. Being a Good Spouse/Parent

  1. Jim Woods January 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    This is great Matt, thanks for tackling this CHALLENGING question! I think the answer is usually the same, but we all have somewhat different approaches and have a unique perspective.

    My take away summary of what you said is–at least in my mind–take some time to reflect, establish good routines, Figure out the weak spots and get a game plan for how to address them. Last but definitely not least, find the overlap between goals and your priorities. That sound about right?

    • Matt Ham January 20, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Jim this is such a great topic to discuss – I appreciate you suggesting it. Honestly, I had a very difficult time shutting it off! There’s no magic answer but some definitely magic perspectives!

      Great synopsis! There anything you would add?

      The foundation is a key for me I find that once I start pursuing my own desires I began to diminish everything else!