Hope for your financial life and beyond

Providing For Your Own Is Always Right

Hidden Nuggets Series #25 – “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – I Timothy 5:8

Let it go

Let it go

I was saddened the other day when I went to visit the site of a personal finance blogger I had begun to read and saw that as of December 31st he had discontinued writing. I wouldn’t say we were close blogging friends or anything but he had commented here and I had commented at his site. Plus we were social on Twitter, so I guess that counts for some connection, right?

He left a really nice closing letter explaining why he was going on an indefinite blogging hiatus. That’s a really nice touch. Nothing says “I don’t care” to your readers like suddenly disappearing into thin air without leaving so much as a whisper as to why.

His reason for stopping – personal issues.

Blogging has become an integral part of my life. I have loved connecting with people online, sharing my story and hearing theirs. Outside of my family and faith, nothing is giving me as much pleasure right now as building this site and being social with people online.

But if I came across some personal issues or my family needed more of me for some reason, I would gladly give it up.

Well…reluctantly…sadly…but gladly.

So I say “Kudos” to my colleague for being responsible and recognizing what held more value.

Of all earthly relationships, family should come first. I would step away from everything to provide for them in whatever capacity they needed.

This might sound crazy but sometimes we forget that. We get trapped (or we trap ourselves) into spending inordinate amounts of time externally focused away from the home. In those times, we over-give to whatever has captivated our attention – to others, to the boss, to our ministry, to friends, to…dare I say it…our blog (or any other hobby).

Consequently, the home life suffers.

As you can see in the Bible verse referenced above, the young man Timothy is being admonished by his mentor, the missionary Paul, to give support to his own, especially those of his household. The challenge directed at him was to be present and accounted for to provide the financial, emotional and spiritual stability for the home. To do any less would have made him in violation of a fundamental aspect of his faith.

This directive stands out for another reason that isn’t obviously apparent – Timothy, though young, was a leader in his church ministry. He was doing great things for God. Wouldn’t it seem that doing “the Lord’s work” would take precedence and carry more value than worrying about your family?

The truth is he could do both but there had to be balance. God wanted him to work in the ministry for sure, as long as he maintained perspective and didn’t allow it to interfere with his duties at home. In fact, by working in the ministry and no doubt being paid, he was very much so providing for the needs of his household.

Work, ministry, friends, hobbies – it’s all important and can be great fun. We would like to do it all. However, there will come a time when we simply have to take a break and let something go.

Because providing for your own is always right.

Have you ever been so externally focused on some task that the family suffered? How do you keep focused on providing for your family? Does this concept seem in any way selfish to you?

Image by Kenny Random at Wikimedia Commons

Next Post: Grappling With the “Should I Retire Early?” Question

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  1. “Wouldn’t it seem that doing ‘the Lord’s work’ would take precedence and carry more value than worrying about your family?” What could be more “the Lord’s work’ than taking care of our families? Great post : )

    • ” What could be more “the Lord’s work’ than taking care of our families?” Agreed…providing for your own is always right.

  2. It always makes me sad when I realize that a blogger that I’ve followed and enjoyed is no longer involved, or less so when they are still active but have drifted away from being my ‘blogger buddy’. That said, your point is very good, you have to realize what’s essential and what can be let go. I think a lot of people try to let nothing go or let the wrong things go in the times when life presents issues. Good choice by your friend.

  3. Recently I’ve been working a ton of extra time, both at my main job as well as my side job. My blog writing has really suffered, because it’s the first thing to go when life gets busy. But, like you, I believe that spending time with and taking care of my family is a primary responsibility, so the blog is just going to have to wait. A little bit longer anyway.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • You bet FI! I was supposed to start on a post tonight but let it slide to spend time watching a movie with my wife and two oldest kids. Am I behind a bit? Maybe…but it doesn’t matter…I had tons of fun.

  4. Green Money Stream says

    I’ve also enjoyed blogging and the relationships that I’ve formed with others as a result. But it can’t compare to the real relationships I have with family and friends. It is certainly hard to try to do it all. Lately, I’ve been giving myself a break and just doing what I can as far as the blog is concerned. Since I have a family and a full-time job, those two things just have to take priority. I’ve relaxed the pressure on myself to keep to a strict posting schedule and I’m happier for it.

  5. Ever since I started blogging I’ve had to tweak my schedule more than once because I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with my boyfriend. He is supportive but there’s only so many times we can spend evenings with me at the computer. It’s made worse by the fact he sometimes doesn’t get home until 6:30, then we’re busy making dinner, and before you know it he’s tired from a long day and goes to bed. If something were to happen though, I would definitely step away.

    • Haha…it’s like the new date is sitting around the computer. I can certainly relate. My wife spent the better part of two straight years at the computer while she was working on her Masters and CPA requirements. It’s definitely a balance of knowing when to let go a bit.

  6. I haven’t, but I work closely with someone who does. He is so disconnected and even when he is in the same room with you he is always on the phone talking to someone else. I think part of it he doesn’t notice, and part of it makes him arrogant. That he thinks he is so important what’s in front of him does’t matter. He is on this third wife and he told me his whole family is in therapy. Man I hope he doesn’t find this. LOL! Anyway, its just kind of sad.

  7. Done by Forty says

    Truth! I have definitely let work and friendships become too big of a priority in the past. Blogging, if I’m being honest with myself, also has the potential to do so in the future. It is taking up an increasing amount of my time. I blog less frequently now to try to alleviate that, going to just twice a week. But I notice that the list of bloggers I follow just keeps growing. I might have to institute some sort of cap.

    • At one point this summer when I wasn’t teaching at school, I was following about 90 blogs a week. That felt insane, trying to keep up. That got cut back drastically once school started. Now on a good week, I track about 20ish…and not all in one day.

  8. You’re right Brian, it’s so hard to resist the urge to ‘do it all’!

    And what we’re generally doing is making a tradeoff of *stuff* for time. The younger we are, the more time we’re willing to trade in pursuit of fleeting things like money, possessions and accomplishments.

    But the older we get, the more the *time* side of the equation gains in importance. And one day we could be stunned into the realization that we ignored so many meaningful and important things along the roadside because we had the accelerator pushed to the floorboard and our eyes firmly fixed on the distant horizon.

  9. I definitely would say this is one of the biggest struggles I have. My blog has been a huge blessing as far as bringing in a little side income and also fulfilling a goal I’ve had for over four years of having an active blog that continues to grow and brings in a little bit of money to cover bills. It’s definitely limited time and energy for dates and time with each other. My wife also works half a day and sometimes a full day on Saturday, so we are both quite busy. Additionally she’ll be starting her masters program this Fall and I’m building a second website throughout this year. Life just might get a bit crazy – as if it hasn’t already. This blog is a good reminder to always keep things in perspective and ask WHY we do the things we do. I work on the sites to diversify our income, pay down debt, and build emergency savings. She is going to grad school to get a fulfilling job relevant to her passions in the field of psychology. We need to balance our long-term goals with short-term contentment, though, and never lose sight of our priorities. Great post that really made me think about this stuff!

    • Your comment sounds very familiar DC. As you know, we’ve been through a similar situation in the last several years, which is why this stuff is on my mind. Where is the breaking point? I’m not completely sure…think it’s different for different people. I think you will know in your spirit when the activities have become too much and you need to let something go.

    • DC — speaking as one who just finished school — may I suggest that you try to schedule time with your wife when she starts school? I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, but Brian and I scheduled time together, like walks or something like that. I knew it was coming, so I made sure to make time for it and prioritize it. I think very often things that pop up last minute tend to fall lower on the priority list while scheduled things are higher.

  10. Man, does this feel relevant! I’ve got a lot going on professionally these days and while I wouldn’t say my time with family has suffered TOO much (it has a little), I definitely find my focus drifting when I’m with them. To me, that’s almost worse than being totally absent and it’s something that just isn’t acceptable. Yes, your professional life matters, but it can’t be at the expense of your family.

    • “…I definitely find my focus drifting when I’m with them.” I completely get what you mean here. It’s really tough to shut down our minds from thinking about “all the stuff” we have going on and be focused in the moment with our family. I simply have to keep reminding myself that my family (especially the time I have with my kids) is limited. They will only be with me so long then they are out on their own.

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