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Like many of you, my wife and I are the parents of young children.  We wouldn’t trade these days for anything in the world, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s 24/7.  We’re also self employed, and as our business and responsibilities grow, we’re feeling the pressures that come with filling every role from receptionist to CEO – while also raising a family, maintaining our marriage and serving our community.  I imagine many of you feel a similar pressure, so I thought I’d share this story.

 

The other night, after a string of tough days, we fell into bed, both of us almost asleep before our heads hit the pillows.  But in the stillness, as I tried to quiet my mind, all I could think about was how hard Jennifer’s day must have been with all she had on her plate.  I realized I’d spent my whole day taking great care of my to do list, but not taking great care of her.

 

(READ or LISTEN – your choice)

 

Sigh.

 

I reached over, took her hand, and gave her a little squeeze.  “How are you holding up?”

 

Tears welled in her eyes, and she said, “I’m okay… It’s just a lot, you know?”  I gently squeezed her hand again.  Then the tears came.  “Sometimes I just wish we could move to the middle of nowhere and get a cow.”  This is absolutely hilarious if you know Jennifer.

 

“We can, babe.  We can do that.  We can move to Montana and get a cow!”

 

She laughed out loud and asked me if I was gonna milk it.  The thought of me trying to milk our cow dried her tears and had her laughing just a little too hard, if you ask me.

 

“We don’t have to stay on this road, Jen.  Maybe it’s too much.”

 

She thought about it for a while, and said, “No… this is our road.  I know it’s where we belong…  I just hope it’s all worth it someday.”  I knew what she meant.

 

We laid there in the stillness, partners – no blame or hurt passing between us – but feeling the weight of what this short season of life is requiring us to carry.

 

And then the question came…

 

I looked her in the eyes and said, “How would you know it was worth it?

 

“What do you mean?”

 

I mean, what would life need to look like someday for you to be able to look back on this season and say it was worth it?  What would life be like?  How would you know it was worth it?

 

You guys, it’s a simple question, but I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure I’d ever asked it about my personal life – at least not like this.  I cling to benchmarks in my work.  And when I reach my goals, I’m not surprised because I’ve pictured the end product from the very beginning.  So why am I not projecting my personal life with that same kind of attention and detail?

 

If we’re honest, most of us would admit our personal goals are more like wishes than a forecast of what’s actually to come.  A hope, more than a plan.  So we keep running and running, doing and doing – trusting and hoping we’re on the right road.  We stay busy – life makes sure of that.  But are we effective?  Would we notice if we got off course, or are we so busy that we’re unaware?

 

Jen and I sat up, and for the next half hour, we talked about what life would need to look like someday for us to know that this present sacrifice and investment was worth it.  We talked about things like financial freedom, but that obvious stuff paled in comparison to the intangible things we stumbled on.  Who would we be?  What would we know?  How would we help?  What would we leave behind?

 

Since then, I see everything through a new lens.  Does this get me where I’m going or does it steer me away?  If it’s hard, but it gets me there, I’m in.  If it doesn’t, in this season when I have so little “extra” time and energy to spare, I might need to let it go.

 

If you could look into your present life from somewhere further up ahead on your road, would you sign off on how you’re spending your time and using your life – or would you recommend some changes?

 

How would you know it was worth it?

Thirty minutes answering a simple question brought us clarity and peace we really needed – and quite possibly saved me from a future milking a cow in Montana.

 

This Post Has 50 Comments

  1. michele

    Hi, Mr. Scoggins.
    Whenever I expressed that something was just too hard or painful, Gramm’s would always tell me…”then you are missing something.” I don’t think what she was trying to teach me was that everything is supposed to be easy peasy, but you know how like someone once said, “no pain no gain.” And somehow now this has become reality…bummer…huh…because where is the joy in that?

    I have always thought “worth” to be more of a philosophical context something that is intrinsic to people. I totally love Ms. Swindoll’s correlation and I don’t think I have ever heard one better, tho the Shakespeare at the end might make me a little biased  And if you think about her premise….and worth is a constant not a variable, then joy would be a result, not a goal. Soooo if you work hard and live life to its fullest there is a possibility that you will have “many” joy-filled moments. Sooo, that would mean the harder you work the more there is a chance for joy… seems worth it to me. And personally if I am the one that determines the worth/joy then I think I would take huge gobs rather than little drops because they both would cost the same.

    P.S. Several of your blogs are worth reading over and over, what a great help these models have been to me!

  2. Luci Swindoll

    This contemplation is fabulous. Thought-provoking. And well-described. Thanks for another blog w/sensitivity & originality. Some of the answers to the questions you and Jennifer pose can’t be answered w/foresight; only hindsight. You won’t know if the cost is worth it until the price is paid. My belief is, the best any of us can do to determine the worth of something is predicated on this premise: “if the joy of having it (whatever the “it” may be) is worth the pain of paying it off, then the price is right”. If, on the other hand) there’s not enough joy when all is said and done, then (to me) the price is too high. And, the determining factor is everybody has to decide for him (or her) self. Therein lies the rub!

  3. Ron England

    Chance– I am so pleased to have been directed to your blog by my brother. And then to be made aware that I could subscribe! I never KNEW! I consider mysef tech savy why didn’t I see the subscribe button?? Oh I was on my mobile…

    Thanks for the reminder to stop and count the cost… I enjoy your post greatly!

  4. Deborah Kaminske

    Sometimes we just have to expect the results may or often not be exactly what we wanted but if in the process we loved one another as ourselves & did our best to serve others & promote truth in our small corner of the planet, then it was all worth it in the eyes of our creator.

  5. Dana grimes

    Perfect question! Just finished chapter 4 of John maxwells book ” the 15 invaluable laws of growth.” Chapter is entitled. “The law of reflection”. You have to pause and ask those personal awareness questions. Good job, Chance. Love to Jen and girls.

  6. Mary Kelso

    Hi Chance! You may not remember me, but I was a fellow student at Belmont with you, Mary Jo Troyer at that time. I stumbled on your blog from a twitter link and was delighted to find it was indeed the Chance Scoggins I remembered from school.

    Great, great post, one I will certainly share.

    The subject is dear to me as I raise three small men and strive to construct something sturdy and lasting in them in a world of Tinker Toys and Legos. Love the question…would I change what I’m doing now? Probably some of it.

    Thank you for the challenge.

    1. Chance

      Thank YOU for reading, Mary. Made me happy to see your name! :)

  7. Tara Alemany

    As you’ve probably surmised from our interactions, I love this post… The title caught my attention at the start. It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with God about.

    This Sunday will mark 6 months since I found out that my fiance was dead. After 12 years alone, waiting on God’s timing and direction and desiring God’s best for me, I finally met the man who completed me. And, much too short a time later, I was suddenly alone again.

    While I’ve been through many painful things in my life and found a way to bring glory to God through it all, I found myself devastated by this loss. I’ve taken comfort though in Jesus’ words to Simon Peter in Luke 22:31-32. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

    As a writer and a speaker, I’m slowly processing what God’s doing in my life by writing a book about the experience and the lessons God has shared through this time. That’s how I’ll know that it was all worth it… If I can bring comfort and peace to others through my words and strengthen them through the sharing of our story, then this pain will be worth it. In the meantime, I hold on to the fact that “The Best is Yet to Come.”

    1. Chance

      The best IS yet to come…yes. And I’m looking forward to reading your book when it’s done. Thanks for your support of this post, Tara!

  8. Kim Cunningham

    Absolutely. I’ve been in the place of everyone but me, and it was weary. I probably have less time now with pursuing a few things for myself, however, I am more energized and engaged. I say no to purposeless things to say yes to greater things.

    1. Chance

      I love your last sentence, Kim. That’s post worthy.

  9. Mary

    Chance, Thanks for sharing this. Russ and I so enjoyed the reflections you shared.
    Nearly 5 years ago cancer struck me, my family. We had the “How will you know” moment. Probably the most difficult time in our lives to date, it caused us to find clarity in the essentials, the eternal and made us prioritize. Fortunately, all is good on the “no-cancer” front, but that Stone of Remembrance still marks our lives. We are constantly reflecting, evaluating & adjusting our lives so that Christ’s purpose and paths for our lives is the road we are on. It’s then and only then, that our family has real peace in the midst of storms.
    Love to you from Russ and me.
    Mary

    1. Chance

      Love to YOU AND RUSS from ME, Mary. Thank you for this comment. I didn’t know about your battle with cancer. I’m so thankful you made it through…and that you found the treasure on the other side of it. Love you.

  10. Judy

    I know I already told you, but I LOVE this post! THANK YOU for sharing your personal story :) Once again, ya got me thinkin’ …Also, I know Im on FB too much, when reading comments here and I am looking for the “like” button ;-) x

    1. Chance

      :) Thank YOU, Judy… so much. :)

  11. Mary Graham

    This is fabulous, Chance. I’ve always known you have a great heart but I’m falling in love with the way you put your heart into words in these posts. Thank you.

    1. Chance

      Heart = Full Thanks, Mary. I love and respect you so much. Your encouragement and support shouldn’t mean this much to me, but it just does. Thank you.

    2. Chance

      Is Mary Graham commenting on my post?! Heart=Full

      I love you and respect you more than you know. Thank you, sweet friend. Your encouragement means more than you know to me.

    3. Gail Hyatt

      Hi Mary. :-)

  12. Brent

    Great post! We are facing alot of changes this year, but wanting to walk through them with “knowing it was worth it” perspective. Really encouraged by the post today. Thanks.

    1. Chance

      I’m so glad. Truly.

      Chin up… It’s gonna be worth it, even if you can’t see that from where you are now. With the right heart and perspective, which is evident in you, it becomes inevitable.

  13. Michael Hyatt

    This is the first post I have read in a long time that made me tear up. Absolutely brilliant. Thanks so much for writing from you heart!

    1. Chance

      What a treasure these words are to me coming from you. Thank you.

  14. Gail Hyatt

    Chance,

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time! Beautiful. Transparent. Inspirational. Hopeful.

    Thank you. I’ll be sharing it!

    Lots of love,
    Gail

    1. Chance

      I kept a smile on my face all day because of this – thank you. And thank you so much for sharing this with your friends. It helped a lot… Writing is so much more fun when people read your post. ;)

  15. Noel McKelvey

    Hey Chance, you did it again….facing many many of those same questions these days…. thank you for the kindred spirit!

    Blessings!
    Noel

    1. Chance

      We’ll get ’em answered together, one by one. :) Thanks for the support.

  16. David Harper

    Great post Chance, really good stuff man that keeps resonating with me.
    Keep up the great work!

    1. Chance

      Thanks, David. That means a lot to me. Thanks for the encouragement.

  17. Jim Sterling

    Thank you Chance, I’m so looking forward to sitting together somewhere in the future and having a hearty laugh at what God has done. You are a huge encouragement.

    1. Chance

      I look forward to that day… for BOTH of us. Thank you for your faithful encouragement. Your consistency means a lot to me.

  18. Theresa Mazza

    My husband and I recently had a conversation like this. We ended up moving to Colorado at the end of a season of thought and prayer. I haven’t had to milk a cow. Thank goodness. Great post Chance. Lots of wisdom! My husband and I continue to check in. It’s so important to keep the main thing, the main thing!

    1. Chance

      My husband and I continue to check in. It’s so important to keep the main thing, the main thing! (dig that)

      If you want to try, you can borrow our cow… just come to Montana. It’s not too far. ;)

  19. Katrina Cotney

    I often feel this way in my daily walk. The past two years have been very different than I thought it would be at this time of my life. But I do know that God is with me everyday and I keep trusting that he will see us through to the end.

    1. Chance

      I’m sorry for the tough road you’re on… but I do believe it will be worth it in the end.

  20. Kim Cunningham

    Thoughtful post Chance! I try to remember that these 24/7 days of raising children really are the happy golden days. I want to will myself to slow down and enjoy more moments instead of being run by people, programs, and agendas. This is hard when I also have dreams and goals that I do want to pursue now. It is a crazy balancing act around here. I often can’t go at the pace I would like with my dreams, but in the end my family is priority. I dont always wake up remembering that, but life has a way of reminding me.

    1. Chance

      Jennifer would agree with every word you wrote here. The thing I remind her (and myself) is that there is no magic day that’s coming when we’ll suddenly have time to pursue our dreams and goals… Life will always fill up what we haven’t scheduled. But it’s also true that we have more than a full plate as soon as our feet hit the floor. So we tell ourselves, “I can’t change everything. I can’t do everything… But I can do SOMEthing.” I think the only way we’re gonna get there (especially good, caring parents) is if we carve out the tiniest slivers for ourselves… but do it consistently. It’s a balancing act for sure – I just think moms get cut out off their ‘to do’ list for everyone else’s sake. Our families have gotta be our priority, but we should also be taking small steps for ourselves as individuals.

      Do you agree?

  21. Erik

    We long for this Chance, but I’ve found we innately struggle to live into it. This kind of definition seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually pretty scary. Ambiguity helps me dodge responsibility. Clarity is costly because now I have to do something about it.

    Great challenge my friend…

    1. Chance

      Ambiguity helps me dodge responsibility. Clarity is costly because now I have to do something about it.

      YES!!! Well said, Erik. Love your comments.

  22. Shannon Wexelberg

    Chance, this is soooo good. I confess I’ve done the same thing… Created measures for success in my work & ministry but not so much for my personal relationships. Wonderful food for thought & lessons to apply. Thank you, friend!

    1. Chance

      Thank you, Shannon. Feels good to not be alone in the naughty chair. ;)

  23. Anna-Emily

    Once again you write about something that speaks to me from the first word to the last one. I’m at that point of my life when something important is over and I can’t help looking back and thinking “Was it worth it?”. Last week I said goodbye to a very dear friend of mine who had to move back home. Now thinking about everything that was invested into that relationship, I can see it was all worth it. No matter how much it hurts to say goodbye, no matter what happens next, if I had been given a chance to start it all over again, I would have done it all the very same way. I wouldn’t change a single thing… that’s why I know it was worth it. Thank you for such a great post, Chance!

    1. Chance

      Yes, Anna-Emily. And the coolest part about it is that the seeds are planted, but they haven’t begun to grow fruit yet. That friendship, even the hurt of saying goodbye, will someday produce something you NEED at just that moment. We can’t even begin to see the future value of our current struggle.

      1. Anna-Emily

        Yes, this friendship will last no matter how big the distance is. First days after saying goodbye are the hardest. I’ve read a quote the other day that said – Sometimes, the people who are thousand of miles away from you can make you feel better than people right beside you. Thank you for being one of those people for me.

  24. Pam

    I think the cow in Montana is looking better and better. I absolutely know the brief sacrifice is nothing compared to the end result. It’s just hard to slow down long enough to remember that the end result will come at the appointed time. Thanks for making me stop long enough to evaluate and remember to enjoy the everyday, mundane things. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

    1. Chance

      :) Sweet comment. :)

  25. Annette Denton

    This blog could not have come at a more perfect time. Being a mother of two young children, I sometimes just feel the emotional and physical strain. I have so many hopes, dreams, goals. Thank-you for putting things into perspective for me this morning.

    1. Chance

      That makes me so happy to read. I’m glad you were encouraged. :)

  26. alece

    THIS.

    so powerful. i need to think through what that means for me in my own life… what would make me look back and declare it all worth it…?

    1. Chance

      Would love to know where the questions lead you.

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