That’s how Andy Stanley, author and lead pastor at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA starts the introduction to his book When Work and Family Collide. “Everybody cheats.” It’s probably not what you think, but Andy is right. In the push and pull of life we make choices. We choose work over family, family over faith, fun over everything. Not always and not all the time, but when we fail to find a balance between these different aspects of our lives, we get in serious trouble. And that’s what Andy explores in this book – that line between “enough” and “too much.”
In typical Andy Stanley fashion (which is to say clear, concise, and with great storytelling ability), he examines the roles of work and family life, how easily we can ignore family in favor of work, and some of the tell-tale signs when we are in trouble. My favorite example of his is the “rock” analogy (which you’ll have to read for yourself). I’ve heard him tell this story in person and it is just as captivating then as it is in print. It’s the power of the story itself to graphically illustrate the predicament we face when we prioritize work over family.
Now even if work / family balance isn’t a problem for you (are you sure?), this is a great read for balance issues in general. Like with faith. We often put faith on the back burner for other stuff like kids sports, watching football with friends, or just plain sleep. Do we really have our priorities in order or are we simply choosing what we like the most or what is most convenient for us? Andy challenges us to look at these things as heart issues and not to ignore it. Overall, this is a well-written book that flows smoothly. It offers practical advice as well as ways to identify the balance issues in our lives. And it is extremely relevant whether you are Christian or not. Andy does use Biblical references and stories from the Bible to illustrate some of his points, but it is extremely friendly to those who have no background in Christianity at all. So feel free to share it with your non-Christian friends. They won’t get “preached” to, but they’ll see how faith can be integrated into life in practical ways.