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When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your…

When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family

by Andy Stanley

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This is just what I need! A self-help book written by a mega-church pastor! Originally this book was titled Choosing to Cheat because Stanley suggests you have to ‘cheat’ either work or family so you might as well go ahead and decide where your priorities are and ‘cheat’ at your job for the sake of your family. Waterbrook Multnomah wisely retitled this book for this edition to something less provocative. They did the same thing last year with their release of Joshua Harris’s Why Church Matters(previously titled Stop Dating the Church. Sometimes a less ‘sexy’ title goes along way towards countering misunderstandings.

I am deeply suspicious of self-help books and mega-church pastors, and doubly suspicious of mega-church pastors who write self-help books. Add to that, I am out of work. Why would I read a book about family and work? I could just read a book called When Family Collides. This would likely encapsulate my life.

Why did I read this book? While my suspicions aside sometimes mega-church pastors and self-help gurus have some good things to say and you’d be wise to listen. Andy Stanley wrote this book to address the common dynamic experienced in the modern family where commitment to work competes with our being able to give proper attention to our spouse or children. He’s absolutely right. I’ve seen this dynamic in myself. I went through seminary with a full load of classes, two and sometimes three jobs at a time and sometimes, my family got the short end of the stick. A book that addresses this problem is important and has value.

Stanley writes accessibly about the need for us to ‘cheat’ by allocating our limited resource of time, towards what really matters in life (our families). In order to help ease the fears of those of us stuck in the vicious rat race of career pursuits, he describes what Daniel did in Babylon (as in the book of Daniel) when he felt his vocation (enslaved wise-man) but up against his priorities. Instead of eating at the king’s table Daniel confronted the situation with his supervisor, listened to his supervisors concerns and set up a test (10 days no meat) to show that productivity would not be adversely affected. Stanley suggests you should use the same in your workplace (address the issue with supervisor, listen to their concerns and set up a liminal test) where you can limit your hours on the job and spend more time with family. There is wisdom in this approach, but I don’t think that this adequately does justice to Daniel’s situation.

Ultimately I maintain my self-help suspicions of this book. Self help books have some value in helping you overcome problems in your self, enact better self management and grow personally; yet when self-help gets a theological overlay problems emerge. The gospel gets short-shrifted. God’s goal for your life is not that you become more balanced in your vocational and family life so that you have a more satisfying marriage and better kids. God’s purpose is to reconcile you to himself through the work of Jesus Christ. See the problem with a blending of Biblical texts (misused) to illustrate a self-help principle, even one that is sound, we turn God into a means to a better life on our terms. Sure we should be healthier and more balanced in our lives (and there is some wisdom here) but freedom doesn’t come from establishing your priorities and following through, freedom comes when we experience our life (and families) as gift from God, and are set free from the tyranny of the urgent. That is Good news!

This isn’t a total write-off of Andy Stanley. He certainly is a good communicator and an effective minister of the gospel elsewhere, but I don’t think he delivers the goods here. It is an easy read and may be helpful for some people, but it didn’t do it for me. Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this review. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Andy Stanley did it again. Thought provoking, inspirational, and a goto book on how to juggle it all and still be number one to your family. ( )
  Gina.Wilson | Jun 9, 2013 |
Learning to Cheat – The Right Way
When Work and Family Collide (Keeping your job from cheating your family)

Who would have thought that Andy Stanley would be the one to encourage you to cheat. Well, not really cheat, but to figure out who you would rather cheat – your job or your family. “It's time to prioritize some things and slight others.” The working class today are stretched beyond the limit. Every part of your day is demanding time - meetings, late nights, conference calls and traveling away from home. Those that are dedicated to the job, may not be dedicated to their family. Even those with the best intentions of working hard “for their family” end up sacrificing more than they can afford when their family doesn't feel valued anymore.

Andy discusses real people that have been there, that have destroyed their family by choosing work over quality time at home. Executives that thought they were doing everything they could for their family, were surprised to realize their spouse and children just wanted them home for dinner. What are the warning signs that your spouse or family are feeling cheated? This book will help you find out.

Don't worry – quitting your job is not an option, nor is getting fired. Andy walks you through, step by step, to find a balance between home and work. Andy says our biggest obstacle is trusting in God. He says, “When you surrender your will to the will of the Father, He takes responsibility for the outcome of the journey.” Using the bible, Andy explains that even the mighty Daniel was caught between two parties that wanted separate things from him. Did he bend to the will of a visible king or did he trust in an invisible King - God - and stand for what he believed in? Andy has a special way of drawing you into the story, so as you're standing next to Daniel in the midst of his crisis, which gives you hope in handling your own.

In the process of teaching you how to manage your time between home and work, this book just may transform your life. It also includes a four-week discussion guide – perfect for small groups and friends to go through together.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Order this book from your local bookstore or www.amazon.com. ( )
  SonyaTyler | May 12, 2012 |
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Is Your Occupation Also Your Preoccupation? Let's face it. With all the demands of the workplace and all the details of a family it's only a matter of time before one bumps into the other. And many of us end up cheating our families when the commitments of both collide. In this practical book, Andy Stanley will help you... establish priorities and boundaries to protect what you value most. learn the difference between saying your family is your priority and actually making them your priority. discover tested strategies for easing tensions at home and at work. Watch as this powerful book transforms your life from time-crunching craziness to life-changing success.… (more)

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