What do you do when work conflicts with your personal life? Say you have something scheduled for a day, then you end up getting scheduled to work that day. For most of us, you have to make the decision whether your personal plans are important enough to potentially get in trouble and/or lose your job over. For instance for me (David), I know that with time I will have to decide between work or celebrating Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve or Day. Now in this case, for us as a family, we don’t put a whole lot of importance on the actual day, as long as we are indeed able to celebrate together. So the decision becomes easier: Find an alternate day to celebrate with family.
What if there is a hard-set day though, one that will not be compromised. Say you have a vacation planned with your family. You have purchased your tickets, reserved your hotels, cleared your kids missing school, your spouse got the time off work, everything is set. Your family is excited, it’s your first family vacation in 3 years. However there’s a crunch at work, and your boss apologizes profusely, but says he has to have you that week, or you run the risk of losing your job. Would you do it? The conflict becomes a little more challenging to resolve, doesn’t it?
Finally, let’s say this event were a weekly thing. You and your wife go bowling together every Tuesday night. You tend to work later in the evenings, but can always get away early on Tuesday for your date. You love that time so much! It is the only time you really have to bond with one another during the week. Normally, you’re busy at work, you come home, make dinner, play with the kids a bit, then it’s time for bed. But Tuesday night, that’s your special time that you don’t get any other time of the week. What if your boss asks you to work late that night? It’s not a, “you’ll lose your job” moment, but it’s just necessary one time to push through a bid a big contract that Wednesday. Do you skip your date night then? Let’s say you do, just this once. Your wife understands and is cool with it.
But what happens next? If you agree to stay late this once, maybe you’ll be willing to stay late again, the next time there’s a push at work. Or you have a big project over the course of several weeks you have to work through. Or any number of things comes up. What then? What’s the point where you decide to stop and say, “Enough is enough! I’m taking my Tuesday back!” Or, what will more likely become the answer, “Well, we used to go bowling Tuesday nights, but I’ve just been so busy at work we don’t do that anymore. Even when I do get off early, we aren’t in the league anymore, so now it has become just another evening at home.”
So what has happened? You’ve lost it! You lost that special time with your spouse! And for what? A few extra bucks? Showing devotion to your work, when some bean-counter in Chicago can discover the company can save $500/year without you, and get you laid off (because we know most of corporate America doesn’t care how long you have been with the company, it’s all about the money, and how much they can make because of you)? So you’ve lost your date night, you’ve lost your job, and because of the stress you and your wife start arguing, and you end up getting a divorce. Now how valuable would it have been to guard that Tuesday right from the very beginning?
I understand, and fully admit that this is taking the more extreme results of what can happen, and oftentimes it doesn’t play out like this in real life. So please understand, I’m using hyperbole. But it does happen. And I think it happens more often than we realize or care to admit.
So what’s the solution? How can you protect that special time that you have? You have to guard it. You have to protect it. Or else, you may lose it, and everything else attached thereto.
And what if conflicts come that you can’t work around? Where you have no other choice? That decision is up to you.
Before I took my job with the airlines, I made an agreement with God. I value my special time with Him from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. But I know it’s very hard to keep that special in my business. Some would say it’s next to impossible. So I told Him, if He wanted me in the airlines, He would have to work out all my Sabbath conflicts. So far, He has. Now I’ve been hit with 3 Saturday schedules in a row, both Friday night into the evening, and Saturday right at noon. Time is very quickly winding down until they become an issue.
I’ve talked with scheduling, and they say if I can find someone who wants to trade, we can. I just need to know by Wednesday at the latest to get schedules switched around. There are several people with Sabbath-free schedules I’ve reached out to several days ago, but to date no response. So now I’m waiting. Waiting to see how God will act. Waiting to see what He will do. Because my God, He has influence over those above me. He can soften the heart of one of my fellow students. Or He can break the simulator so we cannot use it on Sabbath. Or any other number of things. I’m just waiting for Him to act.
And I’m claiming His promises:
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
“Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land.”
Will you please join with me in praying that a solution be found?
May the Lord give glory and honor to His name, and deliver me from these conflicts to our cherished special time together.