Give What You Can, When You Can, for as Long As You Can. Then Change.

Courtney laughs at me because I’m always tinkering with things, changing my schedule, trying something new, and then changing it again. I admit it: I’m fickle. But with the addition of a third child (and now three children under the age of four [but praise God, one of those is out of diapers]), I am again evaluating what I can give and for how long.

A pastoral confession (maybe not for everyone, but for me): I talk to a lot of people who work a lot of hours and often wonder if I should keep up. I don’t know how they do it. Twelve- and thirteen-hour days, five days a week, weeks on end. Yes, I do try and live in the rhythms of the people around me, but there comes a point where I simply throw in the towel. I can’t run that fast or that long (even after going to Exerfit for almost two months).

So I wanted to share just a little about what God has been teaching me. Here goes. . .

I can’t do it all.

That’s it. Every day, I am faced more and more with my inability to do things well or to do as much as I wanted. My pride tells me I can, but it just wants me to try and show Jesus I don’t need Him. Truth is: I can’t keep up with everything, nor can I do it all as fast and as completely as seminary Hans could. Seminary Hans worked 20 hours a week, was mainly financially supported by his wife, and had no children, and existed mainly to go to school. 2010 Hans had one kid. 2011 Hans had two. 2012 Hans had two and a new pastoral position. 2013 Hans has three and all the same things. Things are radically different than they were in 2009.

But here’s what’s beautiful: you take where you are, and you do everything you can as well as you can until where you are changes. Then you re-evaluate and do it again. These are the questions I am processing right now:

  • What are my current demands? Everyone has them. Personally, professionally, ministerially, publicly, familially…they always change.
  • What has to give for me to do what is most important? You won’t be able to bat 1,000 in all of these areas, so you need to know what you’re willing to budge on (or, as Andy Stanley calls it, choosing to cheat). And for those of you who aren’t sure, don’t budge on your family. You’ll regret it.
  • When is the next change coming? You can’t anticipate every change, but you can anticipate a lot of them. It’s important to know when things may change and evaluate then.

I’ll share how this has worked out for me as of late, as well as the changes that I have gone through and will continue to go through.

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