Six months ago I announced that I was quitting my job to become a stay at home dad. That decision was the culmination of a four-year life transition that saw my wife begin a new career so we could become a one-parent-stay-at-home family. We didn’t know at the time how it would turn out but were willing to give it a shot.
So far it’s been spectacular!
Life has certainly changed and for that I’m very thankful. Not that life was so bad before. However, in the past six months I’ve witnessed multiple issues our family used to have melt away because of what I now do. Plus, I’ve seen new avenues open that could not have been pursued in our previous state of life.
What’s Changed That I’m Thankful For
Before our weekends were one crowded mess of activity. Everything that we could not get completed during the week for lack of time was packed into the weekend. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, and yard work all had to get done on Saturday. Some of that was often rolled over into Sunday, making that day more hectic. Throw in some blog writing, a friend’s birthday party or a family outing on the weekend and we were screwed.
We now have our weekends back! I’m doing all the household chores during the week while everyone is at work or school. My writing is done during the week so I don’t have to cram that in on Sunday night. All of this has helped us rest more on the weekend and actually pursue some activities that we enjoy, not that we have to do.
Of course you already know what this change has done to my stress level. It’s gone way down. At least that’s what it feels like.
Reducing stress and lessening our burdens is a constant battle. We know life isn’t fun when we are carrying an 800 lb. bag of stress on our back and walking a tightrope. Everywhere we turn it seems new stressors create tension and cause us to pull our hair out. Even the very task of trying to reduce stress can become stressful when we can’t seem to accomplish it.
I think obviously freeing up time by quitting my full-time job was the biggest factor in reducing my stress. That’s 8+ hours a day that can be re-allocated to other tasks. It’s given us margin and breathing room so that life isn’t piled on top of life each and every moment of the day.
The Family Time
This has all led to an increase of time spent together as a family for which I am extremely thankful.
In many ways I feel like we are making up for lost time. There were times in the stretch of three years that my wife was in school and studying to pass the CPA exam where it seemed like I never saw her. Our kids were put through that burden as well, not being able to spend as much time with their mom as they would have liked. While she is still busy, the days of her not being available at night or on the weekends are gone. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
What’s New That I’m Thankful For
Of course with the freed up time from work, blogging has taken on a whole new dimension.
I was able to attend the personal finance conference FinCon in September. What an event! Not only did the speakers and breakout sessions provide a wealth of information but being able to meet many of the bloggers I had connected with online in the last two years was really special.
In October I pushed myself through a 31-day writing challenge. The goal was to write 500 words for 31 straight days. I completed that without missing a day, even though I succumbed to a sickness that swept through our family about midway through the challenge.
In November, I was able to attend another blogging conference at the Billy Graham Center in Ashville, NC. This was specifically for Christian bloggers and I was able to make a great many connections there that will prove fruitful in the future. Listening to author and speaker Jon Acuff was worth the trip all by itself.
The reason I share all this is to underscore what having time can allow one to do. I know from having been there myself that finding time to produce quality content while also holding down a full-time job is probably a bloggers #1 challenge. I didn’t realize how much I had been struggling with that until now.
Being a Youth Pastor
When one thing goes away something always fills the void. In my case that thing that filled the void of leaving my job to become a stay at home dad came completely out of the blue.
In September, I was asked and took on the youth pastor role for our church. It seemed like a natural fit considering my time working with teens in school. Plus, I had been thinking about how I could use some of my freed up time in a special way. I can’t think of too many other things where it could be used more wisely than helping young people grow in their faith.
Giving Thanks in All Things
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God…” – I Thessalonians 5:18
Life circumstances come and go.
Some we feel good about…others we don’t.
Some we have more ability to change than others.
Some present new opportunities we weren’t anticipating.
Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you can find it within yourself to be thankful. It’s an attitude I’ve tried to cultivate through the years even when things are going tough. We can always find that ray of hope that turns our perspective around to see the bright side of things.
What are you thankful for right now? What has changed for you this year that you were not anticipating? How did you handle the change? How do you go about reducing your stress level when you get really busy? In what ways do you maintain a thankful spirit even when things are going tough?
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