Protecting Priorities and Reclaiming Boundaries

Five months ago, Chad and I found ourselves standing at a major crossroads. 

At that point we had been parents for a whopping nine months and were still trying to figure out how to balance those new roles and responsibilities while maintaining a healthy marriage, participating in local ministry and simultaneously running two businesses. We felt like we were drowning. A huge opportunity presented itself to Chad, wrapped in a Creative Director role for an online marketing company. It was risky, but we saw the reward. We saw its potential to take the pressure off of us in a transitional period and also help us chase our dreams in the long run, so after much deliberation and focused prayer, Chad took the job and he was “all in.”

The company was great and so was the job! The vision and mission were inspired—and inspiring—and we loved the opportunity to be part of it. We gradually learned, however, that the expectations of the role and the pace of the quickly growing company were causing us to compromise our own family boundaries.

Over the years, Chad and I have collected an embarrassing amount of unwise life experiences and tough life lessons. We know all too well what it’s like to be workaholics (and to watch our family topple because of it), to eat unhealthy food with unhealthy habits that lead to unhealthy lifestyles, to let resentment and unforgiveness burn holes in our souls, to help others chase their dreams at the expense of our own, to spend foolishly from a full bank account and also spend wisely from an empty one, and the list could go on and on. I can confidently say that we have risen stronger from all of these experiences over time as the Lord has continually humbled us and encouraged us along. 

In so many ways, when I look at our current state of life, I feel so underserving of the blessings that surround me. To protect those blessings and to create a future we know we can be proud of, Chad and I have intentionally set up boundaries for ourselves and our family, priorities that we agree to keep in order, and “sanity guidelines” to keep our day-to-day in check.

Earlier this week, we thought about the crossroads we stood at five months ago. We had forged full steam ahead in one direction, inadvertently leaving important things in the dust behind us.

Focused effort requires you to move your attention away from some areas in order to elevate another area. Unfortunately, we realized that we were taking our attention away from the wrong areas to elevate something that did not give forward progress to our family vision or the calling we felt God had previously given us, personally. Ultimately we had to ask ourselves, "Is it worth sacrificing the quality of our present for a hypothetical future?"

Chad felt it was necessary to quit his job. And yes, he "quit." It wasn't a pretty or professional "resignation" due to the deep emotion and passion that surrounded it. We may not be proud of the reactionary way it ended, but we certainly are looking forward to what's ahead. We both learned an incredible amount (on all levels) from this opportunity and we are deeply thankful for every part of it. From this we will rise stronger.

I want to throw out this encouragement to anyone reading this: No one will ever understand your personal dream in the same way that you do. The sacrifices you make and the priorities you set are for a reason and the boundaries you enforce have purpose—to you and your family. You can’t expect someone else to protect those things like only you can. If you sense that the current risk is greater than the future reward, it may be time to make a change or turn back—and that is ok—even if others don’t understand.

Since making that painful decision earlier this week, we already feel an incredible peace, a motivation that is unmatched, an energizing joy, and a gratefulness that is indescribable. In this case, turning back was the risk and we are already experiencing the reward.