Growing Disciples at Home – Part 2
Have you ever felt that your life is on fast forward and someone else has the remote? Life is busier than ever before. Technology really didn’t help us much. As a matter of fact, I could make a case that technology has made my life busier. “Opportunities” (which I am told I cannot live without) and demands on my time seem to arrive by the truckload at my front door. With time and financial pressures increasing by the minute in hurried families, we need some heavenly help for the home.
If you as a parent or grandparent desire to achieve some balance in the rat-race of raising kids, you need to make some critical decisions. As a church, it is our desire to help – not hurt.
In part 1 of our discussion, we expressed a biblical path for Rockpoint as described in Deuteronomy 6:4 – 7. Our desire is to come alongside you as a parent/grandparent and help you disciple your kids. In order to do this, we want to help you slow down and avoid family burnout. By following a few basic principles, you will discover quality and quantity time you didn’t know you had, and bring a breath of freshly needed air into your home.
First, place your own spiritual growth at the top of your list. If you as a parent are not growing spiritually, then the only source of spiritual input into a child’s life is the church. We already established last week that your primary role as a parent is to disciple your kids. You have more hours and more teaching moments with your kids than any other person on the planet. That does not mean you need to be perfect or have a theological degree. You may be a brand new believer in Jesus or just starting down the faith path. But, if you are not growing, you will not have anything to pass on to those following you. Make a commitment to grow spiritually in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Finding time to daily read the Word and pray, along with attending church and a small group, is a great start. If you need help, let us know.
Second, prioritize those events and activities that will strengthen your relationship with your kids and their relationship with the Lord. If you are honest with yourself, this is going to mean you have to suck down some tough medicine. I personally see too many families choosing to spend vast amounts of time helping their child become a better athlete, musician or student, and very little time growing closer to Jesus. Parenting by activities seems to be the norm, and the traveling coach has more sway on family decisions than the Lord does. – Yes, you as a parent have to help your child evaluate opportunities based on gifting, interest and talent levels. – However, please make the spiritual development and growth of your child the major priority in their life. As a church, we are going to help you do this by providing resources and activities that will help your child or student grow. We want to work with you and equip you to make some good decisions that have eternal value.
Third, discipline your desires and learn to be content. There is a reason Paul the Apostle learned how to be content in all circumstances (see Philippians 4:11) – he stopped trying to keep up with the Goldbergs (he was Jewish). He found his satisfaction in Christ and drew his perspective in life from God’s Word. If your goal is to gain instead of give, you will live life in the fast lane. As you do, you will blow right by those that mean the most to you. Sure, you may achieve your goal, but at what cost to those around you and your own spiritual growth? If parents choose not to live by this principle, then you cannot expect your kids to live any differently. I find it so ironic that after a child learns to say “no” at age two, parents spend the rest of the child’s life telling them not to say “no” but to say “yes” to everything that comes their way. “No” really does work when you need more margin in your life. That leads me to my final point.
Fourth, build rest into your home and personal life. Now this may look different for each of you based on what brings rest to your life and soul. However, the principle is still the same. Each of us needs to build margin in our lives and our families so that we are not filling every moment with activities that do nothing more than make us more anxious and stressed. Sometimes you just need to cancel everything and stay home. And, by the way, whatever happened to shutting the TV off and reading a good book or listening to some music? Silence actually can be sacred. Say “no” to outside activities so that you can plan for dinner and devotions as a family. Schedule a family game night or just hang night and then go to bed early. If you do not want to live life on an interstate, then you must pull over into the rest stop and take some R and R.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
As a church, we are committed to helping you find quality and quantity time as a family. We want to help those of you who have children and grandchildren make good decisions with your time so that you can disciple your kids and grandkids. Therefore, Rockpoint may have less activities offered in the future. Our desire is to create some margin in your life as a family, and then provide tools for you to use that time wisely to disciple your kids. After all, we are here to support you.
To be honest, if you do not make some intentional decisions as parents to put God and your family up at the top of how you spend your money and time, you will continue to live life in the fast lane. On a personal level, we made a set of major decisions as a family that guided us throughout our child-raising years. Our goal was not to be our kid’s best friends, but to be their parents. God and church were at the top of where we spent our time. Any athletic or music event was a choice. Our kids could and did get involved in these opportunities, but we limited how many, and made decisions based on how much time and money was required for participation. We also made sure our kids got to bed at a decent time, especially when they were younger. They were so much more rested for the next day, and we had some mommy and daddy time in order to maintain sanity!
Let me recommend a great book for you on this subject. It is Little House on the Freeway by Dr. Tim Kimmel. You can find it at www.familymatters.org. They have a wealth of resources that we use at Rockpoint for our approach to grace-based parenting.