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The End of the Day

May 17, 2022

I'm writing this on Monday evening.

After work.
After taking the kids to swim lessons.
After trying to get dinner ready.
(My wife is a hero and typically does a lot, if not most of this. But she had to work late tonight.)

Are you ever exhausted at the end of the day? Especially after a Monday?

A typical Monday goes like this:

Alarm goes off.
Jump in the shower,
Grab a quick breakfast (probably don’t have time).
Hop in the car,
Leaving 15 minutes early to get to work and prep for my first meeting.
Accident on the interstate,
All lanes are shut down—
Go from 15 minutes early to 20 minutes late.
Late to the first meeting,
Try to wrap early, but still late to the second meeting.
Now heading to lunch.
Check in on projects.
Wrap up work day.
Options in front of me:
I could go work out or
Go home and hang out with my family.
I really need to work out;
I’m definitely out of shape.
But I really need to get home to my family.
I skip the workout, head home, and walk in the door.

This is the moment I need to be fully present for my family, but often I’m not. I’m distracted, thinking of the twists and turns of the day’s events, and it’s difficult for me to give my wife and children my best, my undivided attention.

Did you know that the Jewish day starts in the evening? Their days begin at sundown when their work is finished. That concept is an interesting shift from my typical perspective. Often at the end of the day, one where I’ve been pulled in a million different directions, I’m just trying to power through this time—to just make it to bed.

If we embraced this practice, imagine how this would change these hours for us.

How much more do I have to offer at the beginning of the day than at the end?

I want to live and lead in a way that I offer my best to the people who need it the most. I don’t want to run out of steam before I get to the most important part of my day.

I’m from the south, so this is a good illustration for me: Imagine going through the buffet line, and you see there’s one last bit of macaroni and cheese in the edge of the pan. Do you want to take the last, cold, crusty scoop? Or do you want to wait for them to bring out the fresh pan of hot, bubbly macaroni and cheese? I know where I stand. I’m holding up that buffet line to wait on the good stuff!

I don’t want my family to get the last little bit—the leftovers. I want there to be an abundance, so I can give them the best, not just what’s left.

In my current stage of life, I need to focus on my family. However, if you’re reading this, I’d challenge you to think about who needs to receive your best but often just gets what’s left. For you, it might not be the time at home in the evening; it might be the big meeting that you need to be fully engaged in but you’re not. Maybe it’s the Sunday School lesson you need to prepare that’s been pushed to the back-burner. Maybe it’s a phone call that you need to make to your friend that’s struggling, but you squeeze the call in during a quick commute when you’re partially distracted.

Take some time to think about this question:

What is the part of my day that most needs my time, energy, and effort, and how do I allocate my energy accordingly?

This week let’s make every effort to give our best, not what’s left, to the people most important to us.


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