There was a time when I became a “ghost dad.” I wanted to make a lot of money. I thought making money validated who I was. I now know that it was messed up. But during that time, I became a ghost dad. How do you know when you’ve become a ghost dad? Your children will speak about you in the third person—even though you’re in the same room.
My family was preparing to go somewhere and one of my daughters turned to my wife and said, “Is daddy going with us?” I was in the van! I was gone so much—she was around 10 years old at the time—and she couldn’t wrap the idea around her head that I was with them. I had become invisible, a ghost dad. How do you keep yourself from becoming a ghost dad, or becoming visible again if you are a ghost dad? See these 4 warning signs you’re not managing your responsibilities and ask the following questions.
4 Warning Signs You’re Not Managing Your Responsibilities
Sometimes, as ministry guys who are married, we can get caught up in what we’re doing and we can unintentionally put ministry in front of our marriages. Here’s the big question to help keep you from putting ministry before your marriage. Ask yourself: Am I managing my marriage, family, career, and responsibilities well?
Once you ask this, you need to be honest with your self-assessment. Here are the warning signs that you’re not managing your responsibilities well.
- You frequently bring work home.
- You’re too busy to participate in family activities.
- You’re stressed out, easily upset, or walk around angry.
- Your family complains about not getting enough of you.
Think about this: Would your wife, family, or career/ministry team agree with your assessment?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, it’s probably time to change how your managing your time. Listen, I know, for many, our careers and ministry weigh heavier on our scales than God or our families.
Here are the biblical priorities you must have to manage your responsibilities well.
- Yourself (if single); your marriage if married.
- Your children
- Your career and ministry
1 Timothy 3:4-5 says, “He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)”
This isn’t easy to do, but it’s essential to maintain as fatherhood and family leaders.
First Timothy 3:2-3 says, “An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy.”
So the priority is God first. Then I come after that. Since I’m married, Brenda is next. Then, our girls…and then the ministry. Are these the order of your priorities?
Think about your schedule:
- What do you do?
- How is your schedule working for you?
- Do you work six or more days per week, come home, and work more?
Do you work days and nights? Weekends? Sure, if your schedule must be to work at night, then you must arrange time off during the day. Do you have regular days off? Do you use your days off properly or for more work?
Sometimes, we think we are so indispensable that God can’t do things without us. So we don’t take the time off we need.
Examine your schedule. Think about your schedule daily, weekly, and monthly…
Ask yourself these questions about your schedule:
- Do you work a full day and then work at home constantly?
- How many nights a week are you out of the home involved with your job?
- Do you have a regular day or days off? Do you use them for rest?
- Have you discussed your schedule with your spouse?
- What do your children say about your schedule?
It’s hard to minister when we aren’t managing our households well. My retired grandfather once told me during I time when I thought I was indispensable to the ministry. He said, “You know, God did OK before you came here. And you know what? He’s going to do OK if you leave.”
Take time off. Rest. Discuss these things with your spouse and kids. Then commit to listening and doing what God’s Word says so you can be faithful to lead.