I couldn't explain why, but for months, I had a gnawing sense that my life was off track. And I certainly never would have guessed the marital havoc I'd reap because of my misplaced priorities. Feeling unsettled, and with the thought that physical exercise would clear my head, one spring day I grabbed my shiny new ax and headed out to begin splitting wood.
Why is Maria* so unhappy? I wondered. She'd grown up in a violent home that ultimately exploded in divorce, but hadn't I rescued her from all that almost 15 years ago? She was now married to a successful doctor from an intact Christian family. Wasn't that enough to bring her the stability, security, and "normal life" she'd always dreamed of?
What Maria hadn't dreamed of was a husband whose medical practice kept him away from his family until long after the kids had gone to bed. During the little time I was at home, I was usually preoccupied with finances. I took big risks to achieve financial "security." So what if we occasionally bounced a few checks? We lived in a huge new house in an exclusive neighborhood.
Yet I felt empty. The harder I worked to give Maria everything she could want, the more a cold, deep chasm widened between us.
Finally, desperately, I lowered my ax and cried out to God. "There's got to be more to life than this. I want your best, Lord, no matter what the cost."
Instantly and clearly I felt his response: No matter what the cost?
The hair on the back of my neck stood up. But I was desperate. Even if this was a warning, it didn't matter; my life needed to get back on course.1