Finding Balance Between Your Faith Life and Family Life

Photo by Adrenalinapura

Last week we went out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate my 30th birthday with my mother and infant nephew who were visiting from out of town. As we were trying to eat our food and manage the three little ones who seemed to grow more restless with each passing minute, I noticed a man with his two young sons approach the booth adjacent to our table and say something to a man sitting there. Later, I realized that the man in the booth was a famous actor. His name is not important, but his response to the man’s request to take a photo was what impacted me. “I’m with my family.”

At first it seemed harsh to turn down the man and his young boys, but as I reflected on it I came to understand that he wasn’t just saying “no”. His “no” to his fans was actually a “yes” to his family. He was protecting his time with his family and by setting that boundary he was saying to each person who approached him—and there were many people—that this time was sacred to him.

It surprised all of us. Even in our culture that is so starved for attention and fame, this man was making a bold statement and standing up for himself and his family, setting a clear, firm boundary. His decision was a reflection of his priorities. His family came before his fans. His career and his celebrity did not take precedence over his breaking bread with the ones he loves.

Faith First or Family First?

I couldn’t help but think of my own life and the place my family holds in my list of priorities. It is so easy to say “yes” to everyone, to try to be a people pleaser. Even I feel bad saying “no” to someone. But if I say “yes” to everyone, then behind that decision I am essentially saying “no” to my family, to my wife and children. They too desire my time, in fact, they need my time.

Lately, this has been a topic of reflection for me. It is difficult for me to say “yes” to the myriad opportunities to serve God and His people, but almost every one of these opportunities means I must say “no” to my family. Yet, my family also holds a prime place in my heart, for I believe that the family is the domestic Church.

As I have struggled with this it has taken a more prominent place in my prayers. I have been encouraged on many occasions by others who tell me that my role as husband and father is also an expression of my Christian mission. Too often, we find ourselves on the fence between God’s will and our own, Heaven and earth, faith life and family life. I myself am guilty of this. However, this is not the way a Christian should live.

For a Christian should will what God wills, seeking to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, living a life influenced by faith in and relationship with the God of the Universe. This means that the stay at home mom who forms her children in faith and virtue is just as much an evangelizer as the Christian missionary. There isn’t faith life and real life, for the two should be one.

Question: Does your faith influence every aspect of your life? Do you need to shift certain priorities around in your life to help you live your faith more fully?