Over the last several years I’ve spent a lot of time looking around me, pondering the way we live in our home, and the way I see others living. And I’ve reached some conclusions.
It’s important to know at the beginning of this conversation that in this household we approach life as having this one ultimate aim: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever”. Glorifying God is nothing less than what I owe Him, for what He has done for me. It’s also what I want to do, because of what He has done for me. That “enjoy Him forever” part? I get to have that as a goal along with glorifying Him? How amazing is that? And you know what I’ve found? If I shoot for the “glorify God” part, I always get the “enjoy Him” part along with it.
So anyway, I’ve looked around and I’ve identified some things I don’t want.
I don’t want to be a slave to my things. I don’t want to miss my children’s little years. I don’t want to be too stressed with trivial things to enjoy life. I don’t want to be so busy I spend our lives hurrying my family. I don’t want to be too consumed with myself to notice the needs of those around me. I don’t want to regularly utter phrases that start with “I wish I could…” and end with “…but I don’t have time”.
All this pondering has simplified life for me. Here’s what I’ve concluded:
- My role right now is to raise our children, “training them up” by showing them what it looks like to live a life that glorifies and glories in the Lord. It’s the biggest honor and privilege I can imagine (as well as the most frightening responsibility). I LOVE being home with my kids. Sometimes I can hardly believe something this fun could be what I should be doing with my time.
- I have to SHOW my children what loving the Lord looks like. And of course we all automatically think that means praying and reading the Bible, and a huge YES to those things. It totally means that, because those things are how I draw closer to the Lover of my soul. It also means loving those around me, showing my kids that life is about something bigger than us. I think that means loving those closest to us – our biological family, our church family, our friends – in the active, “love is a verb” sense. And I think that means loving those close to us in proximity (neighbors, coworkers) in the “love is a verb” sense. You know we don’t do this anymore? I don’t know my neighbors. I don’t even know the names of most of my neighbors. That has to change.
- Love lived out is messy and intimidating and unpredictable. It’s vulnerable. It’s sending cards, and baking cookies, and shoveling walks because we can, and being there to laugh and listen and comfort and cry and pray. It’s our time.
Active love is a calling. People are the important thing. They’re the only thing we can take with us, as they say. When I ponder all this deeply I recognize that I can’t do any of the above, especially that last one, if I’m too consumed with activities, meetings, my stuff, etc. I don’t want to be consumed with those things. Okay, if I’m honest, occasionally I do. But I don’t want to want that. So I’m asking the Lord to constantly pull me up short and make me remember that I know my role for now – the only time I have – and it is to glorify God through the active love of my husband, my children, and my family/friends/neighbors.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2
So full of truth!!! Practical, everyday, love (as a verb.)
I think the enjoyment of life that you describe is another key thing that children need to see. Why would they want to grow up to be Christians if the Christian life is full of discontent/bitterness/etc.? It may not always be fun to be a Christian, but it is good, and you are showing that to them.
Great point, Anna. I agree. Christianity can look like a set of obligations, or it can look like a joy-filled relationship (and many things in between). I certainly hope what we model for our children is the latter.