When Work & Family Collide is the first book I have read from Andy Stanley. And it was very helpful to me personally. Stanley's main idea in this book is that we are all going to cheat something. There is never enough time in the day to do everything that we need to get done. The main two areas of our life that often compete with each other are our families and our jobs. So, if we are going to cheat, as he argues we all do, why not cheat by design (this book was previously published under the name Choosing to Cheat).
The most common excuse people give for why they cheat on their family with their job is because they simply have to do it. There is nobody else that can do what they are doing. The really good Christians at this point, Stanley points out, will pray that God will fill the void at home while they have to rush off to their job. He points out the error in that thinking:
"First, we are assuming that God could not just as easily fill the void at work as he could the void at home. Second, we are asking God to fill a gap that only we can fill while we scurry off to do a job that a thousand other people could do." (29)
Another error that Stanley points out is that it is not just enough to say we want to be with our family. It is not just enough for us to say things like, "Well, they know my heart." He makes the point that our family can't see our heart, but they can see our schedule (44). Maybe we need to love our families with our schedules more than we do with our words.
His main textual argument in the book is Daniel. When faced with a situation of having to please King Nebuchadnezzar or his invisible King, Daniel decided that he needed to honor the Lord. No matter the circumstances. Drawing out principles from Daniel, he says that when we are in a similar dilemma, we should make up our mind, come up with a plan, and then set up a test.
Maybe the most helpful sentence in the book is when he shared this question:
"What change would your spouse like you to make in regard to your schedule?" (96)
That's not just a good question to ask your spouse. That's a great question! To further that thought, he says later in the book:
"Let's face it. One day you'll come home from the office for the last time. Nobody retires from his or her family to spend his or her final days in the office. Your last day may be at sixty-five when you retire or at thirty-five when you're laid off. Either way, you're coming home. What and who you come home to will be determined by how you live out your priorities between now and then." (130)
This book is easy to read, filled with stories of successes and failures. It is a book that can be read in a few days (or hours) if you give it time. Whether you struggle with balancing work or family, or think that everything is okay, this book could be helpful. His principles are biblical and convicting, which makes them very helpful. I would highly recommend it to you.
I received a copy of When Work & Family Collide by Andy Stanley from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.