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Three Reasons You Should Keep Hustling When You're Dog Tired

I'm working on a big project that represents both a personal milestone and what I hope will be a tremendous help to parents seeking to build their families. Shh ... don't tell anyone just yet. I'll share more details soon!

In the meantime, the process of putting in extra hours early in the morning and late at night got me to thinking: What does it take for worn out parents to get ahead on the things that matter to them?

From my own personal experience, it requires at least three daily personal reminders. Equip yourself with these tools and you'll command your destiny:

  • You have gifts. Too often, we resign ourselves to second-class status because it takes copious energy and fight to bust it day in and day out. We just don't have it in us. Or so we think. But I'd remind you of Paul's instructions to the young preacher Timothy: "Do not neglect the gift you have" (I Timothy 4:14, ESV). Each of us has unique talents and gifts to give the world. Our children are precious and worth every ounce of sweat and blood. But so are you. It's like the flight attendants tell you every time you board a plane. Put on your own oxygen mask, then help your child. (I'm not advocating oxygen deprivation or abandonment of children, incidentally. Just a little TLC for your own sanity.)
  • You have a sweet spot. As my podcasting idol Ken Coleman likes to say, your sweet spot is "the intersection of [your] greatest strength and [your] greatest passion." It's energizing and deeply rewarding to be doing work you love -- and yes, that includes parenting, but also other things that matter to you. Not everyone is blessed to be in a great job. Some of you probably work to keep food on the table and the lights humming, and that's totally fine. Just know that I want you to look for that next opportunity that elevates your family and your ability to pursue what matters most.
  • You matter. This one's easy. Every life matters. All of us get down and discouraged. It's natural. But don't linger in the pit of despair. Surround yourself with positive people, fellow parents, family and friends with a great sense of humor. Find people who will remind you of what you contribute to the world, however small or big your circle of influence might be.
These three principles, though I haven't always embraced them as fully as I should, have propelled me forward ever since Julie and I decided to get out of debt and change how we live every aspect of life starting seven years ago. 

Those decisions led me to embryo adoption, and to little Phoebe. 

What adventures are you putting on hold? It's high time you turned them into reality.


Anonymous said…

I can well remember those busy busy exhausting years with four children. Now I am at the other end of life being 82 years old. There are things I can share with you young parents. First of all...the years fly by and soon you find those little people are busy with lives of their own. They seem to think that for some reason Mom and Dad are not as smart as they once thought. Just not with the program. They are in and out of the house and really don't want to be kissed or hugged these days . Some how those parents have become an embarrassment . Privacy becomes a big issue and areas of life are a secret. Who are these people? Where did our babies go?
Right where you wanted them to go and hopefully they are armed with all the knowledge you have taught and shown them through the past years. There are memories to share of good times together, of hard times when family pulled together as a unit to make a fortress against a rough row and appreciation for being raised with love and direction.
Are you everything your parents hoped you would be as an adult? Parents can only do their best but need to remember that there are many many influences out in that world . You can't wrap them up and protect them as you can when they are little but knowing you wanted them and cherished them and told them often will be their security blanket out in that cold uncaring world.
Be have the hardest job ever!!
Nate said…
Thank you so much for this comment! You're so right -- the years really do fly by, so we've got to use the time wisely. I remember going through these stages myself and am hopeful our children will successfully navigate them with our help and, even more importantly, by relying on the foundation of a firm faith and trust in God. In the meantime, we'll love on them until they shout, "Uncle!" :)

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