Marriage blog: “Too busy: The art of abusing with neglect.”

Sobering moments.  There’s no other words for those times or events that send us back to earth to the real world we are living in.  This is what I read in an article that my youth pastor sent me.

Long story short (you can read it in its entirety here), a CEO was known for working insane hours. His alarm clock would go off at 2:45am and he’d be in the office at 4:15am, before returning home around 7pm.  I assume he was a coffee drinker and/or one of the greatest contributors to the rise of the popularity of “5 Hour Energy”.

He states,

About a year ago, I asked my daughter several times to do something – brush her teeth I think it was – with no success. I reminded her that it was not so long ago that she would have immediately responded, and I wouldn’t have had to ask her multiple times; she would have known from my tone of voice that I was serious.

She asked me to wait a minute, went to her room and came back with a piece of paper. It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. Talk about a wake-up call.

According to the article, the list she brought him contained 22 items.  These included her first day at school and first soccer match of the season all the way to a parent-teacher meeting at a Halloween parade.

And the school year wasn’t over.

busy

Can our spouses write us a similar list?  Can our kids?

You may not have the job demand of the CEO of Pimco.  You may have already forgiven yourself because you’ve compared yourself to the article saying, “at least I’m not that bad” and decided to do nothing about neglecting your marriage or your children.  But that’s exactly what the Devil would love for you to do.  Rationalize the neglect.  Just understand something: when you rationalize, you tell yourself “rational lies”.  Most couples are not determined to drift.  Drifting happens with neglect.

It doesn’t happen just from jobs.  We used hobbies, home responsibilities, friendships, our favorite TV shows, sports, and yes, even church activities as things to fill our time and steal precious moments away from the people who matter most.  If you look at that list, none of them are bad or even sinful.  But when the priority of them is a higher priority than your spouse or your children, you need to rethink what Jesus has called you to. Everything in our life has demands.  It is in our priorities that those demands are funneled and filtered as to not abuse our loved ones with neglect.

There is nothing that this CEO could have done about the past but repent.  Repentance is necessary.  But repentance is meaningless if it doesn’t change the trajectory of your life.  Your actions must lived out your contrite heart.

Ephesians 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Today is the day to respond.  Today is the day to stop the neglect.  You have seasons to enjoy with your family and the challenge of today from Ephesians 5 is to “make the best use of the time.”  The only way to do that is to approach it “not as unwise but as wise.”  And, outside of your relationship with Christ (which all healthy relationships spring out of), your family is the wisest relationship you can and should pour yourself into.

Got some regrets about the neglect?  Pour into your spouse.  Seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.  Let your life as a spouse and/or parent erase the lists that have accumulated from neglect.  Today, start a new story with them.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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