Monday, October 14, 2013

Family on Purpose {making time}

“But I just don’t have the time.”

It’s an echoing refrain of our busy days. We can’t seem to find the time, the energy or the resources to do this parenting thing well. We feel overwhelmed and we give up before we even begin.

Maybe you’re in that boat? Maybe your burdened down by work and obligations and events and heavy things like so many suitcases on your back. And the thought of adding one more to do seems like enough to do you in.

Take heart. Parenting on purpose is not just what we do, it’s a change in our way of thinking. This kind of family on purpose is about looking at things differently. It’s about seeing our kids the way God sees them, as eternal beings who will someday be our brothers and sisters in Christ. Structuring your family around this central truth does not mean you add in all sorts of things to do, like filling your plate at a buffet. It means we select those few and tasty bites that we know will fill us up, and then leave the rest on the table.

I guess in a way it could be about doing less, but that’s not really it either. What creating a family on purpose is about is shifting our perspective on how we look at our children and ourselves as parents. It’s not adding in devotions to your already full schedule, it’s keeping yourselves open to the teaching moments that God brings your way. It’s also not throwing yourself into some sort of family outreach activity, simply because that’s something you feel obligated to do. It’s recognizing that the church isn’t the one who will lead your children to Christ and teach them all they need to know about following him. The church provides support in that, but it’s not in the staring role. It’s really about building something, about creating a culture in your house that values the eternal destiny of your children and fights for it day by day in the little actions you take.

However, if your schedule is so full that you don’t have time to even eat dinner together a few nights a week or have time to actually read the Bible together, something needs to change. It might be time to streamline your schedule so that you have time to connect with your kids spiritually. 

We're often tricked in this culture that the end all of parenting is raising children to be successful, productive, wage earning adults. Maybe even raising adults who excel at a sport or specific trade. But that’s not the point. An eternal perspective means we raise children to know Christ and to eagerly fulfill his purposes in their lives, not walk out our hopes and plans for them. That might mean we need to ditch some extra curricular activities so we can actually have family time. And when you do this I can promise you, your kids will be okay. Even if they balk at the idea. We have to look at this, and even sell it to them, from a positive point of view. When we trim the schedule we aren’t taking things away, we’re actually adding in better things. And it’s worth it. We are the ones who get to lead the way and fight for our kids. Sometimes fighting for them means making hard calls. It’s a fight worth fighting, and here’s the good news: with God leading the way, it’s a fight we can win.

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