We Do Family Different: Sorry, I am Busy Resting

In a society that worships productivity and a church that values the tireless servant it is easy to find yourself entirely too busy. The spirit of busyness hails from a place of darkness that would keep you so consumed with the demands of life you have no time to spend in God’s Word or prayer, much less effectively pursuing His call. The spirit of busyness has a distinct purpose: to thwart you from doing God’s purpose and walking in His anointing.

It takes time to time to develop an attuned ear to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. The weekly schedule requires a healthy margin of unscheduled time to follow the detour of spontaneous ministry, especially ministry to your own family. When we are loaded down with a swamped schedule, often our own families suffer the greatest from our lack of ministry. Family tends to get the dregs of life.

Food for thought:

  1.  Do you better tolerate the inconvenience of helping a friend than your own family member?
  2. On that Family Time Chart, do you have a line dedicated to rest? How much time in your schedule have you set aside and protect for family rest? Nothing scheduled. No commitments.

Does it sound sacrilegious to you? Wasteful when the world needs saving? Actually, those are both lies from the spirit of Busyness. In contrast, God insisted we need at least 15% of our week dedicated to restorative rest.

Let’s not allow arrogance to mislead us nor Busyness deceive us. We need our rest. Our families need rest. If we want to do family God’s way, ministering to them in spirit and in truth we will want to remove “busy” from our schedules. Build into your schedule a margin of time for rest and being quiet before the Lord. Then encourage them to do it as well.

Personally, I like to have a minimum of 20% of my week free. Free to pursue daily time in the Word. Free to pursue my family. Free to bring dinner to a friend who needs a break. Time to encourage someone over a cup of coffee. Personally, I believe I am more able to lead, minister and disciple when I am not racing from one appointment to the next.

Take a look at your time this week and do a few calculations on your phone. If you get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep at night -no that’s not crazy- how much unscheduled time do you have left per day? Per week? What about your family? What adjustments do you need to make to your Family Time Chart?

Read Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 35:2, Mark 2:23-28, Hebrews 4:1-13, Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10, Hebrews 4:11

Lord, thank you for inviting us into your rest. You have provided physical rest for our time and spiritual and mental rest from our burdens. Guide our family in your ways like how to ” Be still, and know that [You] are God.” Keep me from being legalistic, but rather helping my family to hear your voice and “strive to enter [Your] rest.”

We Do Family Different: The Working Life

Work is easily one of the largest Time consumers. The combinations of “Work” in the family today is endless, especially when you add in the jobs of teenagers. Before we know it, the family is going every which direction and it can be hard to align the schedule to accommodate that family dinner. The Word of God gives us perspective on work and provides guidelines on how to approach it.

The Hebrew word for work is ‘amal meaning “wearing effort; whether of body or mind.”[i] Work is a gift meant to bring us a purpose, provision, satisfying industry. We pour our mind and body into the effort. Sometimes the rewards of work are not immediate as God makes our work “beautiful in its time.”

While work comprises our daily efforts, God has also “put eternity into man’s heart.” While men, women and children all benefit from industry, we were never meant to be so consumed with it we forget our eternal calling. God placed that eternal perspective in our hearts to ensure a balance between the temporary and enduring.

While work is necessary and intended to be rewarding, we were made for so much more than this life. Work cannot be our sole focus – or soul focus. The family relationships God has entrusted to us should not suffer from a schedule weighted down by disproportional work.

When it comes to the years of raising teens, work is an excellent training ground for them as they step into adulthood and take on the mantle of providing for their needs. It changes the family picture of what time together looks like. As parents, we help them learn a healthy balance between rejoicing in the blessing of work while keeping that eternal perspective.

Should you make an adjustment to the column of Work? Only you can know. Maybe you already know what your family needs but the options are not available. Or maybe those decisions are not yours to make.

I encourage your to ask God about the role of Work in your family. Is He calling you to more of it? Less of it? A change of pace? A change of heart?

God moves and provides behind the scenes long before we see it. Prayer begins that process. As hard as we work, in the end God is our Provider and He opens the doors we need. If there is no door, He creates one. Remember our post on Hope? God’s answer to you is always: Yes, Not right now, or I have something better. Put your Hope in him and listen to His direction before you make adjustments to your Family Time Chart.

I want to hear from YOU! How do you define work? How has it differed from season to season in your life? What about your family’s work life? If you could encourage someone here about faith and work, what would you say?

Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-15,Matthew 6:24-34 and Proverbs 16:1-3.

Proverbs 16:1-3,9

Father, though I plan my career and seek to provide for my family I recognize “The plans of [my] heart belong to [me], but the answer of the tongue is from [You].” Though my ways seem pure to me, I will “commit [my] work to the LORD, and [hope that] your plans will be established.” Heavenly, Father, give me wisdom for healthy boundaries. As we make our plans for work, align us with your purposes and establish our steps. I submit our work to you in Jesus’ name, amen.

**Tip: Not sure how to hear God’s voice? Personally, I often ask for Him for an answer and then to give me confirmation. Usually I sense the answer through scripture reading and prayer, then I wait for that sacred echo. The random comments and phrases that pop up out of nowhere and confirm what He is speaking.

[i] Strongs Exhaustive Concordance

We Do Family Different: Family that Sticks Together

“Where does the time go?” Now you know! Take a good look at that family time chart again. Shifting your family compass from the here and now to doing things God’s way may feel overwhelming. Relax, God’s got this. You are after all, being led by the Holy Spirit or you would not be reading this post.

Now that you have mapped out your week as a family you have a better understanding of where the time really does go. Today, I encourage you to prayerfully consider each activity and decide whether the pursuit is led by God creating an enduring family bond that stands the test of time. Or, perhaps you will find some pursuits are not led by God and have only a temporary bond if at all.

As you wrestle with your time, put a star by those with the most potential to bind the family unit together. If there is any pursuit that fails to bind the family together it may need to be tweaked, rearranged, or considered for removal. For now, leave the Adjustments column blank. As you return to this chart throughout the study you can add adjustments on how to best use each activity to God’s purpose of binding your family together in unity.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. The stakes for our time is high. Paul describes us as jars of clay, meaning our life is fragile and fleeting. The shape of each family is beautiful and unique. Some have adult children while other’s young families, some are single parents others have a spouse. Each is beautiful, and only you can choose day to day activities that best serve a purpose beyond time.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Jesus, I need you to give me the eyes to see our time as a family. What has eternal value and impact? What is temporary and transient? Teach our family to value our time together serving you looking “not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” In your name I pray, amen. 

I love this topic because different families bond different ways! Comment below and share your ideas and activities that bring your family together!

We Do Family Different: Beating the Clock

Is there anything more earthly than time? Establishing a family foundation that endures is important since the framework of our lives is Time. Time is the most finite thing in life. While time can be utilized well, it cannot be stretched or multiplied. It is what it is and we must learn to live within its limitations. It is too easy to become lost in the day to day losing sight of that which binds. Before Jesus went to Heaven his final recorded prayer revealed our deep need for unity and love for each other. He knew the distractions of life can take root among members of a family, even His.

Without doubt, one of the largest obstacles to doing family God’s way is how we utilize His gift of time. Work, school, technology, sports, extracurricular activities, television and movies are just some of the pursuits families engage in today. Some of these activities are required for survival while others fill in the rest. The key to finding balance is to remember God has not called us to withdraw from the world we live in, but to shift the focus of our pursuits from temporary to eternal.

Read Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 16:9

Here’s a fun activity! In the space provided make a list of your family’s weekly activities and pursuits. Write an approximate amount of time spent on each activity. Begin with the activities that consume the most of your family’s week.  Once you have a better grasp on where your time is going, submit it to the Lord and ask Him about any adjustments you need to make.

Family Time Chart

 i.e. Work   

Psalms 37:23, John 17:15

Father, I lift up our family to you and submit our daily activities to you. Let our steps be “established by the LORD, [as we] delight in [Your] way.” Help me raise them up in You. “I do not ask that you take [us] out of the world, but that you keep [our family] from the evil one.” Do not let us be consumed with the pursuits of this world, just as Christ was “not of the world.” Rather, I ask you to “sanctify [our family] in the truth; your word is truth,” in Jesus’ name, Amen.

We Do Family Different: Speak or be Silent?

Years ago, I visited a very sick, pregnant woman in a Catholic hospital. There were verses all over the walls and a crucifix hanging above the bed. She wanted me to pray for her healing so she could go home and be with her family. Her mother was happy I had come as a friend from church to encourage her daughter. When I asked her if she wanted to join us in prayer, she backed away horrified that I would pray publicly. (As public as a private hospital room can be that is.) She told me she did not approve of forcing faith on others. What if the nurse walked in and overheard us? I looked again at the verses on the walls and the cross over the bed and told her the nurse was likely not going to be shocked, may even be encouraged by it. Besides, if we really did believe what we claimed, why wouldn’t we be bold for Christ? There she stood in front of me, wringing her hands terrified to pray in front of someone much less speak of her faith.

“Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” A common quote people reference to St. Francis of Assisi. Problem is, Francis of Assisi never said anything like these words. However, society has used them to train Christians to silence. We do not want to “push” our faith so we quietly live our lives hoping our family absorbs the truth through a process similar to osmosis.

Kids are quick. They pick up on far more than we give them credit for. However, wrestling through a matter of faith tends to be a private affair and kids do not get to see the whole picture, are not privy to the process. While observant they miss out on vital information and lack the ability to connect the dots. They need to know about about that process if they are to have Hope. Your testimony is their inheritance. Your ceiling, their floor.

I encourage you to talk to them about it. Tell them what wrestling through a hard season looks like for you. What it looks like for others. Your family needs to hear these words if Hope is to have a firm foundation in their hearts. Today, kids are drowning in hopelessness and its time we love them well by giving them a faith and hope to cling to.

You do not need to have “arrived” before you can speak to your kids about your hope in God. Neither do you need a Masters of Divinity from a seminary. As a parent, God ordained you and gave you the authority and the commission to teach your kids all about Him. He does his best work through average people like you and I. The prayers of a parent are precious to Him and he will guide you in what to say. Raising your family to have Hope goes beyond taking them to church and silently modeling a life of Christlike living. It takes a lot of intentional teaching and training.

Read: Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Proverbs 1:8, 3:1 and pray Psalm 78:5-7.

Psalm 78:5-7

Father, give me the wisdom to teach boldly my children your testimony, “that the next generation might know [Your power], the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in [You].”

What about you? Do you have a story about sharing your faith with your family? Family can sometimes be the more scary than a stranger because they see our every move.

We Do Family Different: Hope

In the United States over the last twenty years, according to the American Psychological Association, “Suicide… ranks as the second [leading cause of death] for 10- to 34-year-olds. It remains the 10th leading cause of death overall.” Hopelessness is a disease that has crept into the hearts of our young people. How sad.

Uniting Hope to Faith and Love creates an intrinsic powerhouse so that when trials come a person is trained to deal with that heartache. The men and women of Hebrews 11 saw and understood their earthly situation. But, they faced it with Hope for the promise and a Faith that forged new paths.

When kid’s grow up knowing God’s answers are either: “Yes, Not yet, or I have something better,” they are rooted in the strength of their Faith and their Hope for the things promised. That is what we want to see our children doing. We need to create a family environment founded upon a Hope that perseveres in the face of pain.

Read Hebrews 11 and pray 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Father, show me how to build this family upon the foundation of your Hope they can say, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

We Do Family Different: Faith vs. Realism

We know from experience children believe anything is possible and anything can be accomplished. Their tender hearts are designed to dream, reach, explore and be groomed for their God-given purpose. God created family to be the place where a child grows and flourishes into the man or woman they are called to be.

Realism according to the Oxford Dictionary is “the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.” Key words here are “being prepared.” However, in recent years Realism has morphed into something much different: a fear-driven attitude rejecting faith and hope in an effort to avoid disappointment and therefore avoiding action. What is supposed to be a useful attitude of resilience has become a negative attitude of fear-based impotency.

As a parent, you can teach your family to view and accept a situation for what it is then how to subject it to the power of faith. When the trials and struggles of life come, bind together in prayer and encourage each other. I cannot stress the importance of siblings doing this for one another.

With God all things are possible and without faith we cannot please God. If we want to see our children move through life’s struggles with support and resilience, we must teach them to see clearly, trust in the Lord and know that no matter what their family is there for them. It must become an unshakable foundation.

Read Romans 4:16-22.

Romans 4:16, 17

Father, I pray our family would live, “with faith like Abraham.” Teach us to see the reality of what we face and still choose to believe in You, “the God who gives life to the dead and decides that things will happen that have not yet happened.”

We Do Family Different: Love

Love never fails. It is one of the most simple and profound truths of life. Love existed before man and it will continue to exist after the earth has passed away. Of course this is God’s Love. Eternal and unchanging just like He is. This Love that never fails is free of human imperfections and cannot be corrupted, twisted or manipulated for personal gain. It is however, the foundation and framework God establishes all of our relationships in, especially family.

We use 1 Corinthians 13 in a lot in wedding invitations, showers and presents and I cannot fathom a more appropriate place for it, but it should not be relegated only to that place. In truth, it really should be a gift given at all baby showers and births because Love is the ultimate foundation for parenthood and family.

My husband and I have five amazing kids that span a total of 3 years. God rocked our worlds as He baptized us into parenthood. It is a refining fire. Reading 1 Corinthians 13 never fails to bring their faces to mind as I fix my mind on these verses. Not only because I struggle to put aside my own selfishness (yes, I did just scream at my kids while writing these very words), but because as their mom I am called to walk them through the process of setting their own selfish pursuits aside and learning to live this Love as well. Family is where we learn to love as God loves us: “while we were yet sinners.”

This is the Love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day! Here is a day to celebrate the enduring love of God.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and pray Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8

Father, help me love my family as you have loved us: “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Teach this family to love each other through our brokenness and imperfection.

We Do Family Different: Choosing a New Foundation

Before you do an overhaul on your family foundation, it is important to understand the meaning of Faith, Hope and Love: why they exist beyond all else, how they feed into each other and why it is imperative to foster these three into the foundation of your family. First, Faith is a longing, a knowing. Faith is an intrinsic, driving force by the unseen that results in action. Faith is what propels us forward into the fight and it is tightly bonded to hope.

Because we were made for a world without brokenness, without violence, without sickness, without death, there is an intense yearning for something better. That “something better” is our Hope. Faith drives us forward to find our Hope.

Love ensures we find it. God’s love makes the way. God’s love reveals the Hope. God’s love establishes our Faith. God’s love is the realization of our Faith and our Hope. This is why Love binds the three together and is the greatest of these. God’s Love partners with Faith and Hope to drive us forward through life and grant us access to that which lasts far beyond.  These three combine to create an during foundation for family.

Read Hebrews 11 and pray Romans 5:1-5.

Romans 5:1-2, 5 ICB

Father, lead this family to be “made right with [You] because of our faith. So we have peace with [You] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the Hope we have of sharing God’s glory… And this hope will never disappoint us, because [You have] poured out [Your] love to fill our hearts. [You] gave us [Your] love through the Holy Spirit, whom [You have] given to us.”

We Do Family Different: Faith, Hope and Love

When we build our families upon Christ, we source our energy from His enduring faith, hope and love. They become the motivation for which we live and bind together.  While every member may not yet walk with the Lord, he or she will be equipped with the knowledge and ability to endure the storms of life. Faith, Hope and Love are not religious philosophies a family embraces. Faith, Hope and Love are the energy, the wellspring of life that spurs us forward. Faith, Hope and Love are the difference between a family living and family living well.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus offers a very specific heavenly focused faith, hope and love. The three are timeless because they originate from a place where there is no time, only eternity.