I’ve recently been asked to travel more, and I’m worried about its impact on my family. How much travel is too much? How do I know when to move on? What if moving on will impair my family financially?
We live in a culture that lauds hustle and career advancement, but rarely weighs how such endeavors affect our families. Your impulse to ask these questions is an evidence of God’s grace at work in you.
While there is no verse to prescribe a quota about how much time away is too much, Scripture is always sufficient to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). Here are some questions to consider.
1. Is this a temporary increase or a new expectation?
Just as an accountant can endure grueling hours during tax season, yet maintain a godly work-life balance overall, it’s important to consider the full picture. What are the long-term expectations? Will you be able to maintain rhythms of faithfulness within your family, your church, and your personal devotion? Some travel schedules are just too costly to sustain, but if this is only a temporary or seasonal need, it might be worth the sacrifice.
A person who works a 9-5 job isn’t necessarily more devoted to their family than someone who travels.
A person who works a 9-5 job isn’t necessarily more devoted to their family than someone who travels. What is your pattern now? Do you already feel run down from work? Do you struggle to engage with your family? If so, traveling might deplete you even more and hurt your family life.
Or do you tend to be more intentional, more present, and more involved after being away? If so, God might use your busy travel schedule to help your family thrive.
2. What does your spouse think?
It’s crucial for married couples to navigate these decisions together. If your spouse resists the idea of you traveling more, listen carefully to their input. Consider their concerns—and express your own—with humility and love. If traveling is fueling stress and resentment in your marriage, it might be time to request a more feasible schedule or start looking for a new job.
If your spouse is supportive, yet still feels burdened by extra responsibilities when you’re away, ask how you can help ease their load. Perhaps you can set aside money to pay for babysitting or housecleaning or takeout while you’re away.
Remember, your Enemy wants to sow discord in your marriage. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
3. Will this hinder your ability to disciple your children?
Scripture doesn’t say how many hours in a day or week or month we must spend with our children. What might be “too much travel” will likely differ among families based on their specific needs and season of life. But if you have kids at home, remember that discipleship takes time.
In a Christian, two-parent household, childrearing and discipleship is a two-parent job.
In a Christian, two-parent household, childrearing and discipleship is a two-parent job. It’s not just for mothers. It’s not just for fathers. It’s for both. All parents must consider whether their choices enable them to exercise a primary role in their children’s discipleship. If not, something needs to change.
In Deuteronomy, God commands:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (6:4–7)
Training up our children in the knowledge of God doesn’t happen haphazardly. It requires our presence and diligence.
Wes Stafford, former president of Compassion International, traveled frequently for work. Given that his job was ministry to orphaned and impoverished children, it would be easy to conflate priorities. Yet Stafford knew this God-honoring call didn’t usurp the higher call of fatherhood. He wrote:
When all is said and done and I stand before my Lord, I am sure he will value more what I have done in faithfulness to my two children than the ministry to millions of children in poverty. I don’t know what you are doing in the workplace or what impact on the world you are making, but if you have children entrusted to you, I am dead certain the same is for you. They are precious, deserving of our time, attention, and serious commitment.
4. Is the financial cost worth it?
Provision is important, but it’s just as important for us to delineate between needs and wants. The financial cost of living under a stricter budget, or not getting house projects done, or missing out on some experiences we want to enjoy, might be worth it compared to the cost of being away from your family too much.
Provision is important, but it’s just as important for us to delineate between needs and wants.
Financial stability is a blessing, but it’s not everything. If resentment, or hurt, or loneliness is being sown into your family in order to maintain a certain level of financial freedom, it might be time to move on, trusting God through any financial strain that choice may bring.
Love Limits Us
The more we love someone, the more our choices and decisions are tethered to their wellbeing.
Positioning your heart to view the spiritual health of your family as greater importance than career success, or even financial security, will help you discern whether the traveling becomes too much.