We buy into lies that keep us from having enough energy for both work and home. These distortions of the truth are usually subtle, but sometimes they come in the not-so-subtle variety. The very first sin happened when the serpent twisted the truth of what God said to Adam and Eve. This twisting of truth affects the lies we buy today as fathers.
Many of them sound like truth on the surface and may even contain some elements of truth. However, if we aren’t careful, we’ll find ourselves deceived and struggling in giving enough energy at home. There are three lies that we are especially prone to as men. We'll talk about all three in detail in future posts. For now, let's talk about the lie us dads often say: "I need time to unwind."
Question: How do you unwind?
Lie #1: “I need time to unwind.”
Sounds innocent enough, right? We all do need time to unwind. The problem arises when we take this too far and our home time on nights and weekends becomes all about unwinding.
It’s one thing to take a few minutes at home to recover from a busy day. It’s quite another to spend hours playing video games, catching up on the news or binge-watching Netflix (insert your favorite way to unwind if I didn’t mention it).
I find it easy to fall into this trap. I’m an introvert, which means people drain me and I regain energy from spending time by myself. In my day job, I’m often around people for several hours straight and I need refueling time with nobody around. But it’s easy to abuse the few minutes I need to re-energize and turn it into an entire evening.
I have missed out on time with my kids because I’ve been so focused on unwinding from a busy day.
Is it possible your need to unwind is related to something besides the daily grind of busyness?
- You may be in a dry spot spiritually and it’s impacting you emotionally and physically.
- You may not be taking great care of yourself physically and it’s influencing your energy level.
- Or, perhaps you aren’t organizing your time efficiently at work and it’s unnecessarily draining you.
Biblical fatherhood understands it’s crucial to think through why you need to unwind and address the need meaningfully but not excessively.
I have found I’m able to unwind while still spending quality time with my family. It may not be my favorite leisure activity to play Chutes and Ladders with my five-year-old, but if I reframe my thinking, I can turn a draining activity into a refueling activity that involves her in the process. Plus, I’m competitive and have a slight love for winning board games when I play against my kids. The process of unwinding may need to be redefined.
Here’s the truth about needing time to unwind: it’s not your biggest need.
Your biggest need as it relates to energy is the restoration and rejuvenation from God that comes from the practice of spiritual disciplines and Sabbath.
Jesus Himself practiced getting away and spending time with the Father. Track with me for a minute. If Jesus kept a busy pace of ministry, but regularly took needed time away, do you think you somehow are better than God-in-the-flesh?
The key difference between unwinding and true spiritual rest is simple. Unwinding is about unplugging from life’s pressures and activities. True spiritual rest is the opposite. True rest is more about plugging into God’s power and resources.
About the author > Mike Lovato, M. Div.