Friday, March 6, 2015

The Four C's

One of the things I've always said is, "You may not agree with me but you'll always know where I stand on things." This blog post is no different. I make no apologies for my priorities in life though I know everyone doesn't share my philosophy. That's okay. You should come up with your own 'guiding principles' that you live your life by though. Try it!

So I'm a big believer in any team or company or organization (or family!) needs to have a plan or a target to hit. Every time somebody in that company or in that organization comes up with an idea for what to do it should be held up against the goal and questioned, "Does this idea or action take us towards our goal or distract from achieving our goal?" Let me share my priorities with you.

Relationship Priorities:
1. Creator
2. Companion
3. Children
4. Career

In short, I work to make sure my spiritual life is in order above all else and then I make sure that my partner Tessa and I have a strong relationship. I value my children who depend on me for so very much and then finally, lastly, I put time and energy into my career. In this order. 

Here's what I mean by the first one. The most important relationship I have in my life is with God. If I'm not right with Him I'm not right with anyone. Here's another thing I've found. (Again, it's MY experience.) Anything I put ahead of God in my life He removes it. 

That is a bold statement, I know. Stick with me. I believe that God wants a relationship with me and if I put, let's say, fishing or running or material things over Him in my list that He will remove that distraction. 

Now, what's become recently important to me is this; If I say my relationship with my wife is the most important human relationship I have but I don't treat it as such then I'm just paying it lip service. I have to, again, hold up my behavior and decisions on a daily-basis against this list and ask myself if I'm really treating my relationship with my best friend with the proper respect and importance it deserves. This is one of those introspective moments that comes up frequently where the men are separated from the boys. I either want to honor my relationship with my wife or I'm full of crap and I want to just say it but not do it. It's tough. Family leaders know this. 

My children come next. Though I want to add in here that this is not linear by any means. I don't say, "Well, kids, I'll play with you after I read the Bible for an hour and take your Mom out to eat." Sometimes I spend time with my kids when my wife and I had other plans. Sometimes I have to work late and I miss dinner. You know what I mean, it's not literal on a daily basis. 

My career. Oh.........what a love/hate relationship I have with my career. Guys, it's SOOOOO easy to work to avoid other things. It is so easy to work because the family finances are tilting the wrong way. It's so easy to stay just that much longer at work because the guy down the hall needs something and you want to deliver. Granted, sometimes you have to focus extra on work. I get that. God says that a man that doesn't work doesn't eat. (2 Thes 3:10) I'm with  you. My Dad always said that charity begins at home and that there is no shame in paying the bills. I agree. But I know when I'm putting my career ahead of my children and my wife. I know when it's in the way of my relationship with my Creator. They all know too. : ) It's obvious to everyone IF I'm honest with myself which leads me to my final point here. 

Regular self-evaluation and reflection is of vital importance.  I would imagine that John Wayne-types think it is silly to take regular time to sit and reflect and pray and meditate (listen). But then again I'd imagine John Wayne had a lot of time in the saddle on long cattle drives to reflect on life. : )  My point here is that I have to honestly ask myself if my priorities are in the right order or not. To do that and really evaluate it I have to be quiet physically and mentally. That take discipline and practice. Shutting my brain up is a difficult thing to do when my heart needs to speak. 

So there it is. That's what I think about, seriously, on a daily basis. Am I putting God first? Am I overworking? Am I building a relationship with my wife? Are my kids getting what they need from me? It's not simple work to ask (and answer) these questions but it's important for me to do so honestly.