In my last post, I talked about how for me sometimes, the every day rush of ministry is easy, but family is the hard part.
To make family a little easier, I’ve really had to be careful with my time. When I’ve got a handle on our time, MOST of the time, our family is full of joy instead of being full of crazies all trying not to kill one another.
Just being honest here.
I do mean you spending time with God by yourself in this category, but I also mean making sure you do something for you too. Find a hobby you love and enjoy it in moderation. Read a book. Play a video game. Hit the golf course. Whatever. Have a daily quite time and ensure your spouse is doing the same. Then make sure you’re doing something you love to do (and make sure your spouse does too!).
Make sure you are filling up your spiritual cup as well as your life as an individual, BUT…
Don’t neglect family time. Sometimes the tendency is to “trade off.” You get time to yourself, and then get the kids while the spouse gets their own time. If your family is never all together, it makes it much harder to be all together. You won’t remember the nights you messed with your iPad, your spouse watched TV, and your kids did whatever. You’ll remember the times you spent together.
Plan some nights or Saturdays where you do something fun together. As a family.
Don’t forget your first love. Kids are wonderful and a blessing, but you had your spouse first in your heart. Make sure they know that by spending time with them. Get a sitter.
You’re a student minister, after all. Don’t you know like, at least 12?
Plan to do something fun. Don’t get in the car and ask where they want to eat every time. Make it a memory! A quick google search should give you enough date ideas in your area to last a long time.
Youth ministers are night owls right? Yeah, not this guy. I can stay up tip the wee hours of the morning. I just shouldn’t. Getting into a routine where you get up at the same time every morning helps your body get into a good sleep rhythm. Good sleep rhythms mean better days. Get some rest! (A VERY long article on the subject here.)
And while you’re at it, make sure the rest of your family is getting sleep too. Five hours doesn’t cut it. Get the rest God designed for your bodies to have.
Alright, so this one isn’t fun. Or time per se.
But man has it helped our family.
We have two (and in ten days, make that three) girls of our own, a house, student loans from four private degrees, and one minister’s salary to make it all work.
Yeah, a budget matters.
Sitting down and figuring out what’s important and what’s not may not be the funnest thing you ever do with your spouse, but it will free you from worrying how to make the ends meet if you stick to it.
Tip: Don’t forget to budget/save for the things that aren’t expected or that only happen once a year: doctor’s visits, license plates, dentist trips, vacations, etc.
BIG tip: Budget in “free money.” It’s money that you and your spouse get each week/month to do whatever you to with. Blow it on fast food or save it up for a PS4. It’s guilt free money that you don’t have to ask how it should be spent and is yours. This has been SO helpful for us.
If you look back over that list, you’ll notice they mostly involve spending your time wisely. The last is spending your resources wisely.
If you feel swamped for time, make out a typical weekly schedule. You know what’s coming on a normal basis. Plan around it. Sit down at the beginning of each month and go over the next two month’s calendar. What’s coming up that will mean you’re out of the house longer or later? Don’t surprise your family with a youth training conference.
Make them aware of your world as much as you can.
This is no easy task. Keeping your family running is a full time gig on top of your already full time gig.
But it’s so worth it. God has given you your family.
Shepherd them well.