I Decided To Take A Walk Instead.

I’m not that good at picking up on moments of opportunity. Even when they’re standing right in front of me, I miss them. Yesterday, however, a small voice spoke to the deepest part of my heart and caused me to seize the moment.

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I was in the middle of a very frustrating situation. There’s frustration and then there’s FRUSTRATION! I’m sure some of you understand what I’m talking about. To make a long story short, this blog, was crashing nearly every time someone navigated to a second or third page. People were sending me emails and texts saying they were getting error messages. I was nearing panic levels of epic proportions, and anyone who knows me well knows I never panic.

I had already been on an online chat for an hour with my server’s technical support trying to determine the issue. I took their advice, made some changes, reset a few things, but nothing was working. By 4 pm I was in my second chat and my frustration was growing. All I could think of were the thousands of readers who were being shut out. I couldn’t stand the thought.

“If I have to work all night to fix this, so be it. It’s worth it!” I decided.

As I sat at my desk in my home office, fuming, my kids were getting ready to take a walk with my wife. It was a sunny fall afternoon. Perfect for a stroll around the neighborhood.

“Dad, are you coming? We’re walking down to Miss Jen’s house,” my 11-year old said from the dining room.

“Not this time buddy. Daddy’s got work to do. My blog is crashing and I have to figure it out!”

He looked at me confused. He had no understanding of what I just said. After all, in his world, the biggest concerns are “Do I get to ride my bike?” “What’s for dinner?” and “Can I watch Transformers before bed?” It mattered not that hundreds of thousands of readers were possibly not able to log on. He could have cared less about database error messages or how slow pages were loading.

It consumed me. Often, it does. More than that, it often becomes an obsession. I want this blog to be good. Heck, I want it to be great, all the time! I’m driven by this. Sometimes, admittedly, I’m so driven that I forget about the people I’ve been blessed to live life with- my wife and kids. It happens more than I’d like to admit.

My children pulled their coats and shoes on, and began filing out our front door. I glanced up and watched them leave.

And That’s When It Hit Me!

The still small voice I mentioned earlier, spoke. “This can wait!” it whispered to my heart. “Get up and go with them. Take a walk instead of worrying about this right now!”

“But…the blog, my readers, the errors!” I argued silently.

“It will be okay,” the voice replied. “It will still be here when you return. You need to seize this moment with your wife and children.”

The voice was right. I spend too much time, and too much energy on other things, and often, my family pays the price. Granted, there’s work to be done. Confessions Of A Parent is read by hundreds of thousands of people each month. I love all of our readers and subscribers. And I love to interact with people from all over the globe. But my family must take top priority.

Sometimes, I confess, I’m really bad at making sure of that!

It ‘Happens’, But It Needs To Change!

It happens often to all of us. You, me, our spouses, our friends and our neighbors wrestle with it. We are so busy with so many things, that our family drops from first place to second, third, or even a distant fourth. It happens…but it needs to change!

Before I point a finger, I’ve got to deal with the four pointing back at me. That’s why I decided to write this. I believe a balance must be achieved and I’m saying this to myself before anyone else. In terms of my situation yesterday, the work was not disappearing, the frustration wasn’t going away. It would be there when I returned.

So, I Took A Walk Instead!

I listened. I followed what I heard in my heart. I put my work on pause and got up. Gosh, it felt good to do that. It wasn’t easy at all, but I did it. In the back of my mind the panic persisted. But, that’s always there. For anyone who is driven to succeed like I am, you know; the panic is always there!

What will someday not be there are moments with my children. Someday, they will be all grown up, scattered across the country, leading and loving their own families, working hard at their jobs, building their own dreams, and I will be an old man, living out the glorious days I’ve been blessed with. That’s just reality.

What I hope is not reality are the moments with them when they were younger, that I traded for something I thought was more important. Something that was fleeting. My heart aches as I think about that. I shutter to think of how often I’m so driven to succeed that I miss the moments that are right in front of my face, beckoning me to seize them.

There is no substitute for hard work. When it comes to this blog, and the books I’m working on, hard work is the bottom line. I have to give it everything I’ve got. You do too. There are people depending on us. You have co-workers who are waiting for you to finish a project. I have readers (you) who anticipate great content. That’s very important to me. My heart beats for speaking hope into overwhelmed people’s lives. That won’t change.

What needs to change is my list of priorities, and the frequency I seize moments, like the one I was given yesterday. The hardest part for me is staying tuned in to them.

I took the walk with my wife and kids. I hit pause on fixing the errors on my blog and walked out of my office, and down the sidewalk with these precious people God has blessed me with. Guess what? When I returned home I was able to resolve the issues. (Big shout out to Bluehost for their awesome customer support!). In my heart, I’m thankful for the voice. I’m thankful for the prodding. I needed to seize this moment. Who knows, I may have missed more than I could’ve imagined if I didn’t!

Question: Do you struggle with priorities? Who or what is most important in your life? Join the conversation. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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  • Allisonm

    Smart man! Rhythmic activity, like walking, helps the brain reregulate at the most basic levels and improves our ability to manage stress and solve problems. Some extra oxygen to the brain never hurts anything either. Your walk was actually part of a well-reasoned strategy for resolving your server issues.

    When I couldn’t figure out how to solve a problem at work, I used to go around and refill all of the office copiers with paper (about 10 reams per machine). It was repetitive and somewhat mindless, but it helped my brain reset and reorganize the information I had so that I could return to my office and make meaningful progress.

    • Thanks Allison! The exercise did help me re-focus. I need to get better at making this a habit!

      • Allisonm

        The fact that you got to spend time with your family-members is like adding expresso cream frosting and a big scoop of coffee almond fudge ice cream to your cake!

  • Great choice! Hopefully I’ll remember your example when I’m face with a choice between work (“urgent”) & family (“important”).

    • Thanks Joey. I hope I remember this post when it comes down to it… 🙂

  • Daniel

    As I find myself in those panic moments it seem that the harder I try the worse it gets. More often than not if I take a break to refocus, clear my thought when I return the issue is typically that I was overthinking and missed something small. And maybe this is God’s way of rewarding you for listening to him say talk a walk….

    • Daniel, great insight here. I think it was His way… 🙂