Hitting Pause: A Priority Check

Last December, Urban Meyer cited family as the main reason for stepping down as head coach of the University of Florida football team. Even though this news is over two months old, I believe that his core message (from the press conference) is of lasting importance. While I don’t have the same things pulling me in my life that Meyer did, I do feel that I can relate to his situation as a husband, father, and friend.

The challenge for me today is this: what things do I place in front of the relationships that mean the most to me?

We all know the feeling...

As some of you may or may not know, I am in the middle of a job transition. I am leaving the company I’ve only worked for on Friday (almost 7 years) and joining another the middle of next week. To be honest, it’s both scary and exciting! This is an opportunity that I have been waiting for, and am thrilled to be given the chance to succeed in an area I’m truly passionate about (details forthcoming).

With the longer commute and increased responsibilities, I need to ask myself a couple questions: how will this impact the people I love the most (namely my wife and children)? What am I going to do about it?

My wife read me a quote the other day by Michael W. Smith, that I feel is wholly appropriate: “My life isn’t defined by my music. Music is my vocation. My life is characterized by my relationship with God and my family.” While I am far from a professional musician, you get the point. I want to leave a legacy that is marked by Jesus’ call to, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19-20). I want to be remembered for how I invested my time into people, not “things”. I want to pursue relationships, make decisions, and give generously in light of the Kingdom. In five years, will I be saying to myself, “I can’t get that time back”? I sure hope not. Today, I’m evaluating my commitment to God, my wife, and kids. Here are three things that I plan on doing over the course of the next three months:

1. Stay regular with God. Everything funnels through this discipline. The time I spend with God directly impacts the other relationships I place value in.

2. Date my wife. Especially with the new baby coming in a couple months, I want me wife to know that I still cherish uninterrupted time with her. I am committed to taking her out and spending “date” time twice a month, just me and her. Also, a friend of mine suggested “couch time”–the first 10 minutes of my time home after work is dedicated to my wife, where we can just talk on the couch.

3. Engage my children. When I come home from work, I want to try to give them my undivided attention. There will be times later in the evening or the next morning, to check e-mail. Put that blasted phone away! I want to slow down and take time to truly hear them and respond… I want them to know that they matter.

As a disclosure, my family is truly excited about this opportunity for me. My wife is the ultimate “I’m in your corner no matter what” kind of partner. To be honest, it would be hard to do much of anything if it wasn’t for the unbelievable support I get from her every single day. With that being said, I need a gut/motive-check from time to time. My prayer is that, through it all,  I would be intentional to not to sacrifice my work for my family.

How can we live like people matter?

Photo credit: josephleenovak

97 Comments

  • Moe

    February 16, 2011

    I am so happy to hear this. I suppose you PPT skills were admirable.

    From someone who works in the corporate world in New York City, I am the first to see how so many people have given so much more time to their work at the expense of family time. Like you, I didn’t want to be that guy who left the office early in the morning while the kids were sleeping and arrive late in the evening when the kids were in bed. I need me some cuddle time with wife and kids.

    I’ll be praying for you Dustin. I admire your heart, I really do. You are in the minority my friend. Many people have sold their soul to the “corporate” devil.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Moe, as a matter of fact, it was probably those ‘skillz’ that sealed the deal. :)

      And, thanks for your support – I appreciate it.

      Reply
  • Jim F

    February 16, 2011

    Continuing to pray for your transition.

    Your three things are dead on – keep them in focus – not just now but always and it will be a great guide through the years.

    Thanks for sharing this Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your readership the encouraging words!

      Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    February 16, 2011

    Sounds like good stuff dude. I love the intentionality of those 3 points. Those things will keep you grounded for sure. And if you get off track, we’ll call you out in the comments. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Tough love, huh Tony? A little blogcountability (is that a word?) is a good thing. :)

      Reply
  • Michael

    February 16, 2011

    Dating my wife is something I’ve done a poor job of. We make excuses that we are too busy or that we can’t find a sitter. She needs to know she is a priority.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      You know, I’m with you Michael. I want it to be a priority for me as well. In the past (well, at least over the past couple months) sadly it has been my wife who has planned out days for us to set aside, coordinate sitters, etc. Almost like she’s pursuing me sometimes. I want to flip that, and (like you said), show her she is my priority.

      Reply
    • Adam

      February 17, 2011

      Agree with you Michael. My wife and I are bad with this too.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    February 16, 2011

    Your Priority Three Check List is superb. Of course it will be putting God first and all that, but the practical side of your life needs to be addressed as well, and you nailed it.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, D. A simpleton like myself needs things to be broken down and practical sometimes… :)

      Reply
      • Donald Borsch Jr

        February 16, 2011

        D,

        If it ain’t practical, it probably ain’t spiritual.

        Remember, being too Heavenly-minded only renders us no earthly good.

        Practicality and being a covenant son of God walk hand-in-hand. Your post here proves that.

        Reply
        • Anitra

          April 29, 2016

          She is soooo darn cu!!t!e!! Love the one of her getting tickled on the couch and the one of her digging in the cabinets. And the one of her looking through the baby gate. Great work Miss Jeni!!!

          Reply
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        • MarkIn context the fire is an adulterous woman. I’d appreciate if you’d stop equating all women with adulterous women. How are you to learn to regard your sisters in Christ with chastity?I’m curious how you treat your biological sisters.

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          Sheesh, when I was living in NYC, during the spring and summer months, I think it was the last Friday of every month that these same re-turds would have a bike-in, where they would clog the streets riding their bikes. Their “point” was that NYC should have bike paths, which is not practical in NYC, so until that happens they’re going to throw tantrums and block everyone. So there! Yeah, same schmucks. WWBD? What Would Breitbart Do?

          Reply
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  • bill (cycleguy)

    February 16, 2011

    Congrats on your new job Dustin. I have this sneaking suspicion that with the wife you have and the love you have for God and your family you will keep things in line. it won’t be easy but you will make it.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, Bill… I really appreciate your words of encouragement!

      Reply
  • Ben

    February 16, 2011

    These 3 points are so key, and it sounds like you’re on the right track. Transitions are always exciting for me, I’m anxious to hear about your new position.
    Also, keep in mind that if you start to slack on any of the 3 points, we will hold you accountable, ’cause that’s how we do :-)

    I’d expect nothing less from my merry band of e-brothers as well.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      February 16, 2011

      >>Also, keep in mind that if you start to slack on any of the 3 points, we will hold you accountable, ’cause that’s how we do :-)

      I’d expect nothing less from my merry band of e-brothers as well.
      ———————–

      Word. I am so in on this, you have no idea. Men being men, complete with inappropriate scratching, public belching, and unshaven faces. Add accountability, and you have The Twelve Disciples. Bingo.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        February 16, 2011

        …and I fully expect you and Donald to bang at my door, pin me down, and make me eat tofu (yuk!) if I slack off.

        Ben: Band of E-Brothers… I like that.
        Donald: Inappropriate scracting… I would expect nothing less!

        Reply
        • Donald Borsch Jr

          February 16, 2011

          Band of e_brothers? Ben…you are onto something here. You might want to copyright that label.

          Reply
          • Ben

            February 16, 2011

            We’ll get a shot of us all @ catalyst, and then photoshop a cover. That’d be dope.

            Reply
      • Moe

        February 16, 2011

        the question then becomes…. Who’s Judas?

        Reply
        • Dustin

          February 16, 2011

          With a face like this, I chose Ben.

          Reply
          • Ben

            February 16, 2011

            YES! haha

            Reply
          • Moe

            February 16, 2011

            You win Dustin!!!! LOL

            Reply
            • Donald Borsch Jr

              February 16, 2011

              But a black and white photo of Ben would really capture the mood.

              And he needs to be wearing a Bon Jovi fringed leather duster.

              Reply
              • Ben

                February 16, 2011

                That hurts Don, I feel like I’ve been shot through the heart, and you’re to blame.

                Reply
                • Donald Borsch Jr

                  February 17, 2011

                  Ben,

                  Don’t give love a bad name.

                  Reply
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                    July 19, 2016

                    That’s really thinking at an imsrispeve level

                    Reply
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        • Donald Borsch Jr

          February 16, 2011

          Haven’t we all been Judas once or twice already, Moe?

          Reply
          • Moe

            February 16, 2011

            Yes Donald, we have! :/

            Reply
  • John

    February 16, 2011

    Great post. I have been thinking about this same issue myself lately. I feel like I have sacrificed time with my wife and also my relationships with the rest of my family for the sake of my job and my ministry. I get busy with both and every one is put on the backburner for a while.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks for your commment, John. Saw your post (with similar thoughts) earlier, and want you to know you’re not alone! Like folks said earlier…. we are sticking together!

      Reply
  • Jay Cookingham

    February 16, 2011

    Dude, you keep those three things the main things and your family will continue to be blessed as I’m sure they are. Praying for your new job and adventure!

    “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, Jay. And I really, really like that quote. Thanks for sharing it.

      Reply
  • Ann Kroeker

    February 16, 2011

    I slipped over from TheHighCalling.org, where you’d left a comment on Duane Scott’s article “The Chair.” This is such an important topic, but so hard to pull off. My husband has left to be home for a family event, and the guilt and pressure from his boss were intense. He was *angry* that my husband left, and though he hasn’t yet threatened that my husband would lose his position, he’s definitely communicating a “Work First” priority. What’s a husband/father to do? Risk not being able to provide in a shaky economy? And as the wife, is it best for me to simply accept this current state of things and support the pressure he’s feeling, continuing to serve dinner at 8:00 p.m.? I’ve tried to pretend we’re European. In France they eat late every night. Even school nights. It’s one way to adjust. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Ann, thanks for stopping by and commenting! That is such a tough situation, and one that needs to be handled delicately. I think, more than work, more than the busyness and more than all the things pulling against us, we (as husbands, fathers, friends) need to remember that our attention and focus matters. Yes, work is important (for sure!), but so are our families. Our wives need our focus; our children want to know they matter.

      But yeah, there will be long days, late dinners… it’s so important to adapt and remember to even take advantage of those opportunities to invest in the ones we love. :)

      Reply
  • Jason

    February 16, 2011

    I love that three point list. It’s a good way to live. And congrats on the new gig!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, Jason. Will certainly share more when I can!

      Reply
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  • seekingpastor

    February 16, 2011

    Living like people matter involves “being there” when you are there. Be an active participant in their lives, in your conversations. Not letting the stress and excitement of a new job distract you from what is going on in the lives of those you most. Things like that. Congrats!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      thanks for the thought, matt… especially the challenge to be an active participant. it’s one thing to observe (hear, etc), but its another thing to be actively listening (responding, challenging, etc.).

      Reply
  • kristinherdy

    February 16, 2011

    I love the list, here. Now, stick with it. I feel all the difference in the world is made when relationships are a priority over tasks. There’s always more time to DO, but never enough time to BE.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      >> “There’s always more time to DO, but never enough time to BE.”

      Exactly. Thanks, Kristin.

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    February 16, 2011

    For me the biggest challenge is putting down the phone and giving people my undivided attention. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have my phone in my hand all the time, but there are a lot of times that I will be spending time with someone, and just pick up and glance at my phone – almost like I’m bored with them. Definitely not the image I want to give them.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Jason, I’m sure we’re brothers from another mother… I am the same way. Sometimes my wife is like, “We’re right here.” Ouch!

      Reply
  • Melissa Brotherton

    February 16, 2011

    I may not have a job, but I have to keep those same three priorities in my life as a SAHM. I can get distracted by blogging, twitter, FB, TV, books, and on and on. Great list, Dustin, and praying for you in the transition!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Melissa, I’m sure my wife (who also stays at home) would agree with you. Truthfully, you guys have a tough job. Kudos to you!

      Reply
  • mo

    February 16, 2011

    Awesome thoughts! I’m right there with ya, with work, church, the new baby, and this business I’m trying to get rolling. I love that couch idea.

    My wife and I write in a little notebook and pass it back and forth.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Mo, interestingly enough… later last year we did the pass-a-notebook-back-and-forth thing for a few months. It was actually really, really good. We lost touch with that over the last couple months… something we should reconsider for sure. Thanks for the reminder!

      Reply
      • mo

        February 17, 2011

        I actually wrote in the notebook after forgetting to check it for a few days last night. thanks for reminding me too :)

        Reply
  • Brandon

    February 16, 2011

    Great points… although the last 2 don’t pertain to me yet! :)

    Keep up the great blogs!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, I appreciate you stopping by!

      Reply
  • kevin

    February 16, 2011

    Awesome stuff. Pumped for you. I’m in the same boat, re: wife support. Without it, I would still be in a miserable place with the only company I had ever worked for. With it, taking risks and hoping for the best.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks a lot, Kevin. I thought of you with all the stuff you went through last year in starting your business. I hear you on the wife support. So important!

      Reply
  • Sean Sabourin

    February 16, 2011

    Dustin,

    Good for you. I love what you said,

    “I want to be remembered for how I invested my time into people, not “things”. I want to pursue relationships, make decisions, and give generously in light of the Kingdom.”

    Also, I really appreciated the three points you made about your priorities. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely be praying for you and your family.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Sean, I really appreciate that. Thanks for the encouraging words as well.

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    February 16, 2011

    Congratulations on the new chapter in life’s adventure!
    Will be praying for you and the family during the transition. Looking forward to hearing more details.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Thanks, KC- appreciate the prayers for sure!

      Reply
  • Alex Humphrey

    February 16, 2011

    As everyone above me has noticed, this priority list is fantastic!

    I am praying for you in this transition.

    For myself, as I get ever close to marriage, I am reminding myself daily of what is important. My wife (to be), my parents, friends, siblings, and most of all my God.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 16, 2011

      Alex, truthfully you are a step ahead of the game if you’re thinking about those things now. Well done, my friend. And, thanks for the prayers… I appreciate them.

      Reply
  • Larry Hehn

    February 16, 2011

    You have the big three in place there, Dustin. That’s a great start. All the best to you in your new job!

    Reply
  • Michelle

    February 16, 2011

    first of all, congrats on the new job and the new baby on the way. Exciting :) Secondly, so many of the things you say on this blog I’ve read and watched in Growing Kids Gods Way. Have you ever done that class before? I don’t think you need too. Seems like you already got it down!

    We had not implemented the couch time thing must lately, but the other day, I just needed to talk to my husband and I wanted the kids to give me that time. So I told them, “Give me and Dad 10 minutes and then you can ask Dad whatever you want.” Well that went over real well. My daughter always wants attention right away when Dad comes home but it makes it hard for me to talk to him about stuff. But he was good about it and told her that she had to wait her “turn”. Dad feels real special in this house. He’s always needed :). Anyway, I think it does send a message that Mom is important and Dad is respecting her and giving her time, so then the kids follow suit. At least that is my experience with it.

    My husband has been at his job for 6 1/2 years and we talked about him looking elsewhere, but since his job is so flexible, we decided he’d put up with all the annoyances (and there are many) so he could have time with his family and then he wants to explore writing if he can.

    thanks for the comment on my blog too ;)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 17, 2011

      Thanks for sharing Michelle. The idea of couch time was suggested to us a couple months back… we did it a few times and really liked it, so we’re going to try and do that more regularly. And you’re exactly right-it provided a specific time, only 10 minutes, for mom and dad to catch up, hear about their days, and show the kids that our time together is important and valuable. They can play by themselves, learn to develop a little patience, etc.

      Funny you mentioned, Growing Kids God’s Way – my wife had mentioned that book a couple times, heard good things. I sent her the title. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Tom Raines

    February 17, 2011

    Great message and list. Praying your new vocation goes well and you keep the list ever present.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 17, 2011

      Thanks, Tom!

      Reply
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  • Bryan Thompson

    February 17, 2011

    Dustin, looks like you’ve struck a nerve here. I would have to say all 3 of your ‘to-do list’ items are under the yellow line for me. I need to make all 3 better. From time with God to time (quality time) and experience with my wife and daughters! Thanks for sharing, my friend!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 17, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Bryan. We’re in it together, right? :)

      Reply
  • Keri

    February 17, 2011

    Dustin…yay for baby #3! Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl? Are you sharing that news? :) In all honesty, I have to say that it’s been baby #3 (now 10 months old) that has really made our lives complex. We are outnumbered now. And, in that sense, those 3 priorites you listed have become even harder to prioritize. But, that doesn’t make them any less important.

    Mike and I recently had an awesome convo with our Marriage and Family pastor about embarking on a ministry op. He asked us first if we could say that we devote 30 solid minutes of quality time to eachother every day. I looked at Mike with eyes as big as saucers. Seriously? NO! I don’t even get 30 minutes of quality time with myself. I think that having your marriage as the 2nd priority under God is sooooo key.

    Praying you and your wife find the balance in this season of transition, Dustin!

    Reply
  • Chris

    February 18, 2011

    Dustin you hit some key points here that we need to remember. As leaders in our family, husbands and fathers, we know in our head how the priorities should line up but don’t always live it out that way.
    God should always be first and unfortunately because of having such a large family I tend to sometimes forget I need to put him #1 because of the time and energy I need to put into my wife and kids.
    It took me 14 years to get it right with my wife and it was certainly hard when our kids were younger, however now every Tuesday night on the calendar is date night for my wife and I. Our kids have to be in their rooms by 7:30 and the family room is ours so we can talk, pray and enjoy the time together.
    I’ve also tried to make it a priority to always take my kids out 1:1 to eat and just hang and talk with them, it’s gotten harder as they’ve gotten older but still trying to.
    As you said I wanted to be remembered for how I invested my time in others. I want God, my wife and kids to know that nothing else was more important than they were.
    Thanks for writing this, a good piece to think about.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      May 22, 2011

      thanks for your thoughts chris, always appreciate them. it’s certainly a balance, but our wives have to be priority #1. then the kids. then others. but we can’t island ourselves into just one area because that isn’t right either. i like how you intentionally spend 1:1 time with yours (that’s a lot of 1:1 time!!). :)

      Reply
    • Becky

      July 19, 2016

      she made it easy to put a tasty meal on the table wi;tpnbsp;&nbs&hjust a little effort, simple family food, and she had you laughing while you cooked.this of course kept you smiling thru dinner.

      Reply
  • HealingLeaf

    February 26, 2011

    I really enjoyed reading this post, it is definitely something I need to work on as well… That “couch time” is a great idea!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 27, 2011

      Sure thing. Glad you stopped by! Let us know how the couch time works if you try it out. :)

      Reply
  • here

    October 13, 2017

    Hello to every one, the contents existing at this web page are actually awesome for people experience, well, keep
    up the nice work fellows.

    Reply

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