Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Obedient to Prayer

If I were to sketch out a schedule for my ideal day, there would be several opportunities for prayer sprinkled throughout. No matter where I was in any given day, I’d only be a few hours away from a pause. The positive benefits of prayer are well established, spiritually and psychologically. Why is it so hard to commit?

Like any of the other things we should do each day to be and feel our best, resistance to prayer is strong. Our minds wander, we’re overwhelmed by our to-do list, and there’s always something else to do at that moment that feels “right.”

Discipline is required to accomplish anything great, but I think that nurturing and developing ourselves spiritually requires more than just raw discipline. It’s not enough to just show up and go through the motions; we have to desire to pray. We have to be obedient.

God’s great plan for our lives is revealed through scripture and tradition. He wants us to live freely and joyfully. Our experience in this fallen world shows that living out that plan is no easy task. Even when we’re spiritually healthy, the responsibilities and chaos of our day wears on us. Our vision for the future fades in the onslaught of the here and now.

Obedience to prayer is a voluntary surrender to God’s plan. It’s sacrificing a part of our day to spend time with true peace and true love, and to place God’s will before our own.

Tomorrow morning, in the early hours after my walk but before the kids wake up, when the house is still and dark, I will not go sit down at my desk. I will not open the newspaper or open up YouTube. I’ll sit down in the stillness of the living room and spend a few quiet minutes with the giver of all good gifts.

Work from Home Dad

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent more time working at the kitchen counter than I have working at my desk. In a way, that’s a shame because I have the perfect desk setup in our family office. The reality of my daily responsibilities means that for large parts of the day, I’m downstairs with the kids.

While working at the kitchen counter has been fine, I need more space. I’ve migrated from the kitchen to the dining room table. Now, throughout the day, the kids see me working away in the dining room as they play and get their work done.

It’s a daily challenge to balance my responsibilities at work and at home, but my children and I now share a special bond. I get to involve them in my work. They see what I do, got with me to visit customers, and get to share my love of aviation. I remember how special it was as an Air Force kid to go over to the squadron and hang out in my dad’s office, or walk out on the flight line and see the jets. Now my youngest daughter jumps with glee when I announce that we’re going to the airport.

Parents have plenty to manage when it comes to raising children; even more so when throwing work into the mix. It’s a special thing for me to be able to share my work with my kids.

Permission to Push

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with work. There are busy seasons, bad weeks, and times when illness or scheduling get you behind the power curve. When your inbox overflows with emails, your task list falls apart, and you feel completely overrun, it’s important to remember that you have a productivity superpower.

We underestimate just how much we can get done with 90 minutes of solid, quiet work. The number of overdue tasks and unread emails may seem huge, but the time that it takes to process most emails is miniscule. A well-used time block can go a long way to clearing the backlog.

The best way to get back to a manageable pace is to push due dates. There are some tasks that are true priorities, but most can be accomplished in the reasonable near future. Getting behind is normal, so rescheduling overdue tasks to be completed in the coming days is usually all you need to get back on top.

Good work is only possible when you’re in a good headspace. Flailing from task to task, while feeling overwhelmed, is a recipe for mistakes that will require even more work in the future. When you get behind, take a pause and give yourself permission to push off due dates. You’ll be back in control in no time.

Work or Workout

I’ve thought a lot about scheduling over the past few months. Some of it was the normal end of year reflection, and some of it was the realization that I haven’t been walking like I had planned.

Life is about balancing competing priorities, and over the past 12 months, work and sleep have too often beat out workouts. I enjoy working out, and listening to podcasts during my walks is a great use of my time. But the pressures and deadlines have knocked me off course, and I need a reminder of why I should get back out there.

The truth is, I work better when I’ve exercised. Sleeping in gets me an extra 60 or 90 minutes of sleep, but those precious minutes don’t make nearly as big of an impact as waking up on time does.

Sleeping in pushes my workout into my work hours, derails my morning quiet time, and gets me off to a bad start. Occasionally, it’s necessary, but it usually does more harm than good.

I do best when I stick to the plan; it’s a plan that I crafted for a reason. I can get a full night of rest, workout, and get all of my work done in the same day. It just takes a recognition that everything has a time and a place, and if I want a full successful day, I need to commit to the plan.

Create Beauty

There’s so much darkness and ugliness in the world. The links that get clicked and shows that get watched thrive on it. We almost indulge the darkness.

But when we look up from our screens, when we behold the world around us as it truly is, there’s nothing but beauty. Colors, textures, weather, and creation changes from moment to moment. Each morning, the sunrise is different from the morning before. On many evenings, the gradient of the sunset delights the eyes and soothes the soul. Animals come and go, along with the seasons. We’re treated to a buffet of beauty, a world always in motion bringing new sights to our doorsteps.

We have a duty to not give into the darkness, but to bring beauty into the world. We should create beautiful art, to speak beautiful words, and share beautiful actions. We must be more intentional about creating beauty in a dreary world.