Collins and Mary are young successful elite couples who work in prestigious companies in the city’s heart of Lagos, Nigeria. They both hold important managerial positions in their individual companies.
Collins is the Human Resource Manager in a merchant bank. Sometimes, he travels to oversee the activities of the other branches outside the state.
Mary is the Personal Secretary to the CEO of an IT company – a very busy man. This also makes Mary very busy as she constantly has to stand in for her boss when he is not available. In addition to her tasks of being involved in almost all activities the CEO does.
The responsibilities laid on the couple at work are quite enormous, and they work almost round the clock.
Aside from workload at their workplaces, they are devoted Christians, blessed with three children who are all in elementary school.
Parental obligations and child-training are also other responsibilities they must fulfil if the children must be responsible and godly amidst a perverted society.
In the church, more so, Collins is the Assistant Pastor of the large denomination where they worship. And the Evangelism Coordinator who is in charge of the crusades and outreaches held monthly.
As for Mary, by virtue of her husband’s role, she is one of the women leaders (perhaps the most active) and also the Assistant Choir Leader.
Yet, this couple are the envy of others as they discharge their duties with a grace that confounds even their equals.
A Different Duo
In a similar scenario, James and Caroline are Christian parents of two children in a similar age group with the former couple’s children.
They both own and manage an export and import business with about five staffs who work for them.
Though they are quite busy overseeing the needs of the business, they are hardly seen in church during the weekly activities, except on public holidays when business activities are closed. And, yes, they are also workers in the same church; but they are passive workers, hardly committed to the work of God.
They often excuse themselves from taking up roles even in the unit they belong to. Despite persuasions from the presiding Pastor who knows how spiritual the couple were a few years ago.
Their usual excuse is that the work they have in their home and business is enough for them; hence, they cannot accommodate any church task.
Where Do You Belong?
The stories above are prototype happenings in recent times. Some Christian couples, despite their involvement at work and enormous obligations at home, still find time to be actively involved in God’s work. While some who purport to be occupied with their secular jobs cannot spare time for spiritual matters.
But is that God’s desire for His beloved children whom He had sacrificed His begotten Son to die for in other to bring them closer to Himself?
Are you one of the latter couple who desires to have a changed lifestyle – one that accommodates spiritual matters, without neglecting family and secular involvement?
Do you wish to know how to synergize your spiritual life with work and family? Then this article is for you. Read on and follow these simple tips prayerfully.
14 Ways To Balance Spiritual, Work and Family Life
Ask God to Help You
In a confused state, Job said, “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:8). As a Christian, the first step you want to take in any endeavour of life is to ask for God’s help and leading.
If you invite Him into your family life, your spiritual life would be fresh. He would make your tasks at work easy. And your home would be a haven.
God will always lead you aright, even to the choice of a good job. He won’t give you a job that would make serving Him so difficult. And if you must do the job, then be certain that He would always create an avenue for you to serve Him. All you need to do is to “…commit [your] way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).
For instance, during a job interview, God can grant you favour before your prospective employer who may grant you express leave to serve Him anytime you wished.
Truly, most employers may not tolerate the incessant absence from work on the premise of attending to church programmes, but your case could be different. So ask God to lead you at every point in time.
Set Aside Time for Each of the Trio
Let me ask you a question? On a typical Sunday morning, where should you be as a Christian? At work, home or church?
How about a typical Monday at 12 noon? You should be at work, right? Now, on average, most parents are at home with their family every evening and at weekend. It’s as simple as that.
Similarly, deliberately make time for spiritual matters, work-related issues and family time and try not to let them interfere. Being at home on a Sunday morning to spend time with your family because you have been out at work all week is morally and spiritually wrong and could be harmful to your soul.
Set time aside for family devotion and quiet time every morning including church meetings on selected days of the week, fun time with kids (perhaps a few minutes daily or a few hours weekly), and time for secular work during the work hours, and your life would be balanced.
Fight against Procrastination
An older friend once told me that while growing up, it was a crime in their family to procrastinate. Nothing must be put till another time. What has to be done MUST be done WHEN it should be done.
Never were they allowed to put forward anything till a more convenient time.
When you make it a duty to fight against postponing duties, you will be able to manage your time more and save more time for other things.
Because you only truly get too busy when you “successfully” push several tasks to a particular time. You then rush to accomplish them all at once. Tasks done this way are often shabbily done.
While sharing his personal lifestyle on a daily routine, one of my spiritual leaders during my undergraduate years said,
“Everything I do has been pre-planned every morning. And if I don’t do something at the time allotted for them, I may not eventually get that task done, which would then be done another time which originally has been assigned for other things. So I fight against procrastination and do everything when they should be done”.
That could be your principle too!
Get Help and Delegate Responsibilities Where Necessary
It is not a crime to get assistance when required. But this should not turn to negligence of duties.
For instance, if the Choir Leader of a church is running late for a meeting he should preside over due to an emergency that came up at home or work, he could call in earlier to direct any available or trusted member of the choir to stand in for him pending his arrival.
Where he fails to arrive on time and didn’t pre-inform anyone but suddenly arrives late, that may be termed as negligence of duty.
At home, couples should be willing and ready to support each other to allow the other partner have more time to carry out his/her spiritual responsibilities.
Other people who could be called to help are colleagues or subordinates at work; a trusted friend or neighbour at home or a close relative could also help with the custody of the children in your absence; fellow workers in the vineyard of God can also stand in for you.
However, care must be taken to delegate responsibilities only to trusted fellows and only when absolutely necessary.
Do What You Have To Do If You Must Do It
At crossroads when you have to make critical decisions that may affect your spiritual, family or secular life, do what you have to do, if you must do it. What I mean is, take substantive risks if the situation warrants it.
Picture this scenario, for instance:
It was a Monday morning and you are set to take your children to school after which you will drive off to work. Accidentally, your two year-old toddler missed his steps and had a fracture.
Would you rather drive straight to work because you have an important deal to close, neglecting the injured child unattended to, or you take him to the hospital? Of course, caring for your child (family emergency) takes priority over your work at that moment.
The situation is different from the tantrum act displayed by a toddler who refuses to eat his breakfast. No employer would excuse an employee who comes two hours’ late to an important deal-closing meeting with a client on the flimsy excuse that his child refuses to eat his breakfast.
Similarly, God will not tolerate any Christian who neglects his spiritual duty of worshipping Him on the premise of a flimsy family or work-related issues he had to settle.
However, in critical situations, especially when the safety of life is involved, spiritual responsibilities could be excused over work or family matters.
Be Optimistic, You Can Do It!
Collins and Mary in the introductory story are not superpowers, but humans like you. All the tasks they accomplished may be insurmountable by others, but not to them.
This young couple kept their spirit high and motivated. To them, as far as the task is open before them, there has to be a way to accomplish it. And they tackled it head-on.
Sure, there may have been some sort of fear or burden occasioned by stress and frustration by one of the parties.
Perhaps the wife must have been looking for ways to accomplish the new project her boss had entrusted her, coupled with the recent assignment of training some young inexperienced choristers who just joined the choir.
But there must have also been some sort of motivation from the husband encouraging her to push herself harder to accomplish these tasks. God must not be disappointed because of her work; likewise, her boss must not feel let down because she had to fulfil some obligations at church.
So they push on, motivating and helping each other to keep afloat while synergizing their spiritual life with work and family.
Take Advantage of Technology to Make Your Work Easy
With technology, we can accomplish almost anything within recorded time. In developed countries, a man may have up to four jobs, running shifts as much free time as he has.
He could achieve this because the jobs are made lighter. After all, some technologies and gadgets have been put in place to do the actual tasks – he merely needs to punch a few buttons to set the gadget in motion.
The point is, in your workplace or at home, when the appropriate technology is used, work becomes easier and done faster without stress.
Even in churches, we joyfully embrace the use of technology. For instance, some spiritual materials like the Holy Bible, devotionals, Christian Book, Concordance etc. have been digitalised and could be read on a mobile phone.
The study of the Bible can now be done anywhere, anytime, without drawing the attention of the closest person sitting nearby. Hence, no one has an excuse for a shabbily done quiet time with God or the study of His word.
Technology can make tasks easier, thereby giving you the chance to multitask and get several works done in recorded time at home, workplace or church.
Retire, Rest, Be Refreshed To Re-fire
It’s simply logical, as a saying goes, for a wounded soldier in a war front to retreat to treat himself and recuperate before going back to the battle ground. Putting up a defiance to continue in the battle even with a fatal injury near his heart may merely earn him a salute and some minutes silence to honour him at his funeral.
Similarly, as a soldier in the army of Christ, after a long period of a major spiritual exercise, there is a need to retire, rest, get refreshed and then have the strength to re-fire for subsequent spiritual battles.
Even at the workplace, workers are entitled to leave of duties for specified period. You could judiciously use this period to rest and spend valuable time with your family.
The rest period may not necessarily be a time to recuperate from an illness. It could be free time on a weekend. Instead of spending the time partying about, you could spend this period to rest at home with your family.
This could make the family bond become stronger, while also making you more resourceful at work and in spiritual matters.
Take Caution: Do Not Neglect Any Aspect Perpetually
While a Christian might be very busy with spiritual matters of his soul, he should not forget that his body, which houses the soul also needs attention! Neglecting the care of his body at the expense of his soul could even be damning to the soul itself.
Therefore, while running spiritual errands for the Lord, you must also take care to attend to family matters and your work. After all, you need to earn a living to provide for family needs and also some financial obligations in the church like paying tithes and offerings.
The key is to balance these activities such that you don’t concentrate on a particular aspect – be it spiritual, family or work life – while disregarding the others perpetually.
Be Responsible to God, Your Employer and Your Family Members
Let them feel your impact. Don’t be a passive worker in the church. Get yourself involved, even if it is in one aspect, publicly noticed or not.
Arriving at church before others to clean the pews could be the only work you could find. Then, by all means, do it!
As a loving husband, make the work of your busy wife lighter by offering to do the dishes or laundry, or cook certain meals. An observant wife could assist her husband in certain ways that could make his office workload lighter.
For instance, she could offer some ideas or strategy that could help her husband win a contract at work or proffer solution to a challenge at his workplace.
Hence, be responsible to God in performing a giving task that makes worshipping Him be a pleasurable exercise.
Be responsible to your employer by making strategic inputs in the growth of the company. And be responsible to your family, where you desire to make everyone happy to have you at home!
When you do these, you would not have a problem synergizing these three important aspects of your life.
Rely On Nobody, but God and Yourself
Always remember that “If you are not there, no one would be there”.
Have you been in a situation whereby no one is able to perform a given task as well as you can do it if you were absent? Sometimes, that could be fulfilling in itself.
Take, for instance, in your workplace, it is your duty to compute and pay salary of other staff. Aside from the CEO of the company, you are perhaps the only person who knows what each staff takes home as salary.
And your presence at work on a pay day is very crucial. Isn’t that amazing? You feel somewhat responsible knowing your role in the company cannot be ignored.
Now apply this to your spiritual life in respect to your duties in the church. You are the only person God has assigned to perform that function at that certain time. Remember, “If you are not there, no one would be there”.
As a dutiful wife whose husband is on a business trip, your little children depend on you to eat dinner. Don’t stay too long chatting with friends after work hours.
Remember, “If you are not there, no one would be there” to prepare the meal. So rely on nobody but yourself and God to perform a given task be it spiritual, secular or familial.
Reward and Motivate Yourself to Be More Useful
Set a target for yourself and go all out to not only actualise it, but also to surmount it. There is great joy and fulfilment in the achievement of a seemingly difficult task.
Therefore, when you set a target for yourself and achieve it, rewarding yourself appropriately could be a motivational factor to set greater challenge for yourself and determination to achieve it.
During my leisure time, and I like to visit new or old places to learn new things or refresh my memories on these locations. And I often take the trip as a treat to reward myself after a successful accomplishment of a great task.
Service to God should be enjoyed as it is the only rewardable task both on earth and in heaven. When you always remind yourself that there is a reward for everything you do to serve God, it would motivate you to be more useful to God, to your loved ones and to yourself.
Watch Where You Fall/Lack and Develop Strategies to Outsmart the Challenges
As we journey along in life, there are bound to be ups and downs even in the service of God.
For instance, late coming to church on Sundays could be the black spot in the life of a very fervent prayer warrior (because he had to study and meditate on specific chapters of the Bible during his quiet time).
However, his vibrant prayer life is visible to all as evident in heaven’s answers to his prayers.
Channelling his prayers to God to help him manage his time well could help him become more organised, thereby arriving to church meetings early.
Or it could be that he needs to rearrange his schedule to make freer time on Sunday mornings. The number of chapters of the Scripture he reads on Sunday mornings may also be reduced, to allow for more enriched meditation with God. More so, rising from bed earlier could also help.
Let the Spirit Lead You
As inferred to in “Tip 1”, there is virtually nothing you can successfully do as a Christian without the approval and censorship of God. Therefore, to avoid any fruitless service to God arising from self-imposed “spiri-kokoism”, let the Holy Spirit lead you in all you do.
Some sanctimonious Christians like to be noticed in the church and perceived as very spiritual. So they neglect their family or secular duties and rush to church, all in the name of serving God. This is wrong as God is not an Author of confusion.
The Holy Spirit is always available to direct us on ways to collaborate our spiritual life perfectly into your secular or family life, only if you ask him.
Lastly, remember that your spiritual service to God is only acceptable to Him only if you have Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.
Accept Him today if you have not, and you shall surely have a balanced spiritual, secular and family life.