Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is a balanced life?

How many hours should I plan/seek to devote to my future job, my service in the church and my family? Should I seek for a job that pays a lot so that my family can have the niceties we desire? What if that type of job takes me away from my family more than I am comfortable with? What are the effects of amassing wealth for good and bad? What is the proper balance of meeting your needs and even some of your wants and greed? What is middle class lifestyle mean today? What are the costs of being poor? What are the costs of being rich? Should I aspire for wealth? What is meant by David O McKay’s saying “No Other Success Can Compensate for Failure in the Home”? Does that mean that I should work less and spend more time with my family? What are my responsibilities to help the poor? Am I doing enough to help those in need? Should I seek wealth so I can help the poor more? Is it true that “it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God?” Do you have to be rich to impact the world? How do you balance you church callings with your family life? Is my time the most important thing that I can give my family? Is my money the most important thing that I can give my family?

I think that I find myself pricked each day by one of these questions (or something like them) .

I don’t think that I will ever know the perfect answer to any of these questions, perhaps because there is no perfect answer. I hope that as I go though my life I can become wiser, in answering these questions. My prayer is that I will lead the life that God wants me too.

I know that God lives and that we are his children. May we treat each other as such.

P.S. If you have any comments or ideas about any question I posed i would love to hear your thoughts.


Victoria and Andrew said...

These are probably not helpful, but just my musings on the subject.

Amen. That's all I can say. You and your brother seem to have a lot of the same concerns and worries. He is constantly apologizing for choosing a career that "doesn't pay enough". It's such a struggle between having enough to provide for a family and spending enough time with them. If you don't work enough you may be doing a disservice in not providing but if you work too much you may be over reaching and neglecting other needs. It is just hard. I've been thinking about how this must be one of the challenges that being born in this time brings. It is so interesting how the trials and challenges that people face in trying to follow the Savior and live the gospel are different in each age and time period.

That's where we are and have been- have me keep working so we have more money to live on or do what we chose to do: be unemployed for 6-8 months but spend time raising Nathaniel at home.

I know that it will be a struggle at times but I know that because you have a desire to do family, church, job etc in a humble and sincere way and in a way that follows the promptings of the Spirit, you will do just wonderfully. You always try to follow the Spirit, Pat, that's what I admire about you. Heavenly Father will help you find that balance. Just know, I think we ALL have that balance struggle. You're definitely not alone.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Good Luck.

P.S. It was good to see you and Alisha yesterday! That's for always being such a fun and happy couple :) We love you guys.

Victoria and Andrew said...

Well Pat, I love you. A huge wave of empathy welled up inside me when I read your post. These same questions have been my companions all through the career decision process, and I imagine will continue to do so for a long time to come. I don't have any magic bullets to offer, just the things that have governed my choices thus far.

First, a lot of my actions have been based on my belief that God will always keep his promises to me. He has promised to help me fulfill all of my missions in life, including the one to provide for my family. That fact puts money to about third or forth on my list of reasons why I chose/choose the job/career I have and will. I believe that if I work hard and follow the promptings of the Spirit, being as smart with my money as I can, the Lord will help me to make enough to take care of my family. That may mean we live in a townhouse for a while, or rent an apartment, or drive older cars, or not have as many exotic vacations. Though all of those things are things that I would rather not have to do, ultimately, I am willing to sacrifice those wants for more important things. Who knows, in the end, though I chose a more conservative career money-wise, God may lead me to avenues that end in wealth. However, if that is not the case, I'm OK with that. The main thing is, I believe that God will keep his promise to help me provide for my family and fulfill all of my other responsibilities. So, money, to a certain extent, can take a place on the back burner.

Second, I chose a career based on what I thought would make me the best person outside of work. From watching people that I know, that you know as well, I would not allow myself to have a job/career that did not make my happy. What good is a job if I hate it and I come home every night angry, down, and self-defeating. I felt that if my job did that to me, I might as well stay at work all the time, because I wouldn't be of any help to my family like that; in fact I may have done more damage than good. I wanted a job that gave me more than a pay check. Though right after my mission I was convinced that I wanted to and would change the world with what I did. As time went on I was content with just helping some people. I figured that I will most likely end up being a normal person with a normal life. If along the way the Lord has other plans for me, I trust that he will let me know and take me in another direction. I also thought about what career could give me skills that would be useful to my family and friends; skills that would bless my own life and theirs; skills that I could give away freely outside of my job and that would be needed. Again, the point being I wanted a job that made me the best me outside of work.

Victoria and Andrew said...

Part 2 (boring, I know)

Lastly, I wanted to do what felt right. There was a tough lesson that I had to learn in order to do that, but I made it. I had to learn to make my decision and act on it before feeling that it was the right thing to do. Whenever I did so, I inevitably felt either good or bad about my course of action, and could make adjustments accordingly. I just wanted to feel good about what I was doing. That's what governed our decision to have Tori stay home with Nathaniel; that's one of the things that kept me from going to med school. I governed my decisions by what felt right. I knew that I wanted to be home with my family as much as possible to give my kids and wife the relationships that they deserve and to fulfill my responsibilities as a father and husband. I knew that doing so would always feel right.

Ultimately, God can still take me in any number of directions from here, and I do my best to make sure that I am willing to go should he give me a nudge. And I feel good about my efforts and my choices, though there are many financial question marks in the future, and for now some guilt that I may not be able to always give my wife and children what I would like to. However, I trust that "all things shall work together for the good of those that walk uprightly" (D&C 100:15).

That's all I got. Hope it helps.


Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!