For those unfamiliar with medical sales, there isn’t a time clock to punch in and out of. You wake up with no income in the morning, and what you earn in that work day is what you bring home. This lends itself to excessive hours and an overwhelming desire to do the most with your time.
Over time, you have a tendency to lose perspective in two areas. First, you can desire to stay out working, sacrificing time spent with your family. Second, you start to believe that you are in control of your success.
The first time this reality came to a head was in 2003. My career opportunities were like I had never experienced before. Coupled with the fact that I had moved an hour from my territory, I was literally only home to eat dinner and sleep for an entire year.
The company I worked for compensated me for being an absentee father and husband by exotic trips, crystal trophies, titles of acclaim and a Rolex watch. I was at the height of my profession… and arguably at the lowest point in my personal life.
I had given all of me! After the fanfare stopped, and the truth of Proverbs 5:10 became so evident. I had only trips, trinkets, titles and a brand new quota. I had no memory of my daughter at five and my son at three. This haunted me.
I had sold out; I was so ashamed of how quickly I could neglect my priorities. For years I wouldn’t wear that watch. It represented everything I hated about my choices.
Today, though my schedule hasn’t let up much, I do make a greater effort to protect the time spent with my family. I wear the watch now because doing so removes any value I had given it, and I love to sit and watch old home videos and relive what I missed first hand. I realize that I’m eminently blessed.
Another lesson from this time was about who is actually in control. Too often I see myself as the captain of my own ship, in control of my own destiny. I scurry around my little fish tank and worry about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it. When all the time, as James 4:14 reminds me, it is God who sustains me.