Being a driven person or having a job or position within an organization with a mission that you are sold out to has certain predictable outcomes for a majority of the people described above. For many, one of the predictable outcomes is the tension between time and energy spent on family and the organization or for the driven person, to achieve their goals. There are psychological forces as well as biological forces that motivate you to put a majority of your finite energy and time into your goals or organization. Pastors and ministry leaders have such a sense of meaning for their work, which they should, that they tend to put all else in a secondary role. While that sounds like a biblical admonition, as we break it down, we will see that we may not be interpreting the words of the Bible accurately.
We must mention the driven person as having a different propellant to their goal-oriented behavior. This is another blog. I am intimately familiar with the different motivations of the driven personality and the psychology of their behavior. Although there are various reasons for the behaviors of the driven person, for today's blog, we will concentrate on the intersection between the drivenness to bring about an altruistic result that can be within the driven person's mentality.
Although we can apply ourselves to examine different areas of our lives, the area of marriage and family seem disproportionately affected by those with a higher-purpose mission. As a father of eight, I can now look back and wonder how I got so caught up in my "mission" while forgetting my mission. I was well aware of the importance of my family, but somehow I was able to separate that mission from the church's mission. When I think about it now, I see what so many of us do. I succumbed to the pressure of pastoring and being there for everybody. I also did not have the foundational belief that my family was part of my mission. It is easy for the ministry to take over your life's mission. I also had to put food on the table, so I was bi-vocational for many years, which not only divided my time and energy between business and ministry but also multiplied the output of those to finite resources. While family time may sound like a sacrifice that must be made for the cause of Christ, it is not.
Throughout the Bible, it convinces us that children are a blessing from God, and so is a spouse. They are our mission. Despite sayings like God, family, and church, I had forgotten the gift of family. I was busy with church and people, and then it happened. My marriage was in trouble, and I had little idea. Counseling ensued, and I changed. We changed. The kids were not far behind. I had always spent my day off with them, but now there was much more time devoted to family. Don't get me wrong, I hadn't forgotten my family, but the lion's share of my energy and time was spent elsewhere. Over 60% of pastors believe that the ministry has a negative effect on their families. It doesn't have to be that way!
When you go to the secret place and get your life mission from God, it will include the ministry, but it will not be entirely about the church. It must be beyond that. You can have a missional focus for a season, but your life mission is a statement that guides your scheduling and, therefore, your energy and your time. Not only does it keep you from the tyranny of the urgent, but it also solicits a response that necessitates evaluating your day. Our mission must guide our day. When it does, it will include the family. You will date your spouse because that is on mission. You will cheer for your kids at their sporting event because that is your mission. You will take your daughters out for a date, your boys fishing, or vice versa. Why? Because that is your mission. To be sure, your mission is your ministry, but it is not your only or most important mission. To win the city to Christ and to lose your children would wreck the best of us.
Part of what we do at Total Life Pursuit and the Go Well Project is to help people find their true all-inclusive life mission and to coach them to live their lives on mission. There is such freedom in living on mission. It makes yes's, and no's much easier and includes every aspect of your life. Do you think you know your mission? Write it down in 60 seconds or call someone right now and tell them in 30 seconds what it is. If you can't do that, get a tool that will help you formulate your mission. Click here for our workbook.