being content with what you have

3 Signs You’re Letting What You Want Distract You From What You Have

Every man is created with a God-given drive to accomplish something meaningful through his life and his work. We are driven by success. This is especially true vocationally and financially. But the opposite is also true. As the old saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” When men find themselves lacking a specific role to fill, they naturally begin to struggle with meaning and purpose.

As a result, men are often driven to measure their success by good things like work and financial accomplishments rather than the best things, like healthy family relationships and legacy. Does what you want compete with being content with what you have? One of the most common ways this manifests itself is in misplaced priorities. Here are 3 signs you may be letting what you want distract you from what you have.

1. Your current priorities are more about things than people.

Someone once wisely said that the most important things in life aren’t things. And it’s true. As nice as it is to experience the feeling and accomplishment of owning a nice car, a beautiful house, and plenty of other expensive toys in the garage, none of those things is the true standard of a man’s success. If all we leave behind us is a bunch of stuff, we’ve missed the entire point of life itself. Solomon, known as the wisest man, said this about a man’s life and labor: “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity… one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh.” Deep down, all men know that the only things that truly matter are the same things that matter on a man’s deathbed—family and friends. Most men would do well to give more priority to their current relationships than their current list of wanted things.

2. You have a greater vision for your work life than your home life.

As men, it is very easy for us to naturally be so task-oriented and driven by success that we strive for excellence in our work, but settle for a half-hearted effort at home. We have goals of climbing the ladder or getting that next raise, but we have very little if any goals for our home life or family. Men come home tired and on empty, and so their family gets Dad’s leftovers. While fathers and husbands may intend to invest in their families, their good intentions are regularly overcome with inconvenience. Because when there’s so much that could be done, the easiest thing to do is nothing at all. Men, God has given you a family. Be the second shift dad who gives 100 percent at work and at home. Get a clear vision for your most lasting legacy while there’s still time.

3. Your commitment to financial success exceeds your drive for family success.

No amount of financial success will ever erase the regret of failing at family success.

This is the one I struggle with the most. I am driven to get everything paid off as soon as possible in order to be debt-free by the time the kids leave home. And while this is a worthy goal, it is not the end-all that I sometimes make it out to be. Taking time to personally invest in my family and the vision and goals I have for them is of supreme importance. This practically looks like me taking my kids out to eat, or scheduling that vacation time and making the financial investment into our family getting away. No amount of financial success will ever erase the regret of failing at family success. A man can have both. But it’s crucial that you keep them in the right order, so as not to let what you want distract you from being content with what you have.

Sound off: In what ways do you struggle with being content with what you have?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you need from me in the next couple of weeks?”