Are you tired of feeling like you have to do it all to be a “good Christian family”? We are very quick to judge ourselves as not doing the right things, or not doing enough things to be a good Christian family.  This is a false standard.  What is a good Christian family anyway!  Our goal should be to create a space where our children grow in their faith and in their confidence to be who God made them be, our goal needs to be peace and harmony in our home – not just copying what other Christian families do.  When we know what is important to us, we can find the right way to make that happen in our family.  But we have to remember, every family is different. And trying to keep up with the Christian Jones’s is never going to work!

 

 

Stop Doing All the Things Good Christian Families are Doing

So I was talking to a parent the other day and they were struggling with this idea of fitting in family devotions and dinner time together after the husband got home from work, and then having enough energy to connect with each other after the kids went to bed. Their question was “How do we fit it all in?” And so I asked them, so why are you wanting to do those things? What’s your why behind those things? And as it turned out, they had been brought up in Christian family, and these were the things that their parents did, and these are the things that they had been told good Christian families do.

And so they were trying really hard to make all those things fit in their day. And I said to them, look, best I can tell you is stop doing all the things that good Christian families are doing. 

Don’t get me wrong – these are good things.  But we need to do them because we want the fruit of these actions or activities –  not because someone else told us these are the things we should be doing.

Anytime I hear someone say – I should be doing this… I have to ask them to think some more.  Why should you?  Who told you that you should?

Of course there are things that we should do – we should obey God’s word for starters… we should be kind and loving, we should pray and read God’s word, we should talk about our love for Jesus to our children – we do these things because God asks it of us.

But if we list all the things we should be doing as a good Christian family – how many of them are good ideas, not directives from God’s word?  

How many of them do we do because we think we should rather than they help us achieve our vision, purpose, goals for our family right now in this year?  

The internet is full of great ideas to strengthen family life and relationships.  I talk about some of those things.  They are good things.  But we need to do them because they fit our family, because they work for us – not because of some secret list that we are told will make us a good Christian family.

 

 Some of the things I’ve seen on this list are:

  • Family devotions
  • Date nights
  • Family Nights
  • Be at every sports game and recital
  • Dinner together
  • One-on-one dates with our kids

I remember back when our kids were little and one of the things that I felt all good Christian families do was to have a family night. Friday night family night.  In my family growing up, we had family night – though it was Sunday.  Lots of fun memories.

To be honest, come Friday night, I was done being a parent!  Pete worked away from home, often got home Saturday, so the idea of having fun with my kids, after a week of homeschooling them, and living a full life – I was done.  So I started Friday night pizza and video night.  You’ve probably heard me say it before – I didn’t do this for fun family togetherness – I did this because I was exhausted and didn’t want my kids to talk to me – so I gave them video and pizza!

Family Night is a good thing.  But in that season of our life the way other people did it – didn’t work for me.  We had family devotions in other ways throughout the week.  We had fun togehter in other ways throughout the week. 

Another thing I processed was dinner time. Way early in our family life, two little kids and I told myself -All good Christian families have dinner time together. And I was really struggling at making all the things happen in our family. And Pete was coming home after dark. The kids were cranky and tired and really should have been fed an hour earlier than that and been ready for bed by the time he came home. So waiting till Pete came home till we had dinner together was just full of pressure and meltdowns.

Yes, we hear that having dinner time together is a good thing – so that is what I was trying to do. But when I stepped back and looked at what was happening – (a) we weren’t having family time over the meal, because the kids were too tired so it was just chaos, and (b) we had already had lunch together because we were farming at that time, and Pete was home for lunch and most days we had that together. So I was putting pressure on our family trying to do things the way I thought all good families did it.

The kids were seeing Peter and I engaging with each other. We were having fun together and building memories, but it wasn’t happening at dinner time. And so for a year or so, when the kids were really little, I gave the kids dinner before Pete came home from work. Then when he did come home, it was a family fun time, and everything was calm. The kids had been fed and bathed, and once he cleaned up, he read them a bedtime story and helped put them to bed – and then we had dinner together. So it was a different way of looking at our afternoon/evening – but it served us at that time.

So ask yourself – are there things that you are doing because you think that is what a good Christian family would do?  That isn’t a good enough reason to do something.

 We have to ask –

  • What do I want my family life to be?  
  • What do I need to do to acheive that?  
  • How can I do that in this season of family life? In the circumstances we are in right now how do we do that well?  

There is always more than one way to do something.  

 

The reason why we have to think this through, it’s not that those things are bad things. I’m kind of tongue in cheek here, all good Christian families do this. And I’m saying those words because that’s the message that we tell ourselves. That’s the things that run through our head. And then when we don’t do them, we tell ourselves that we’re not a good Christian family. And so it’s just a messy narrative that we tell ourselves – and one that we’ve got to stop telling ourselves.

A family reading the Bible

 

Rethinking Family Values?

So what do we need to do instead? We need to know what we want in our family.  We need to know the values we want to live by in our family. We can then research and find examples and ideas and encouragements from people who’ve gone on before us on how they achieved that. 

Then we need to look at our family, look at the season of life we’re in, look at the circumstances we’re dealing with looking at ages of our children and the lifestyle that we’re living and look, have an honest look at what we’re dealing with and work out how we can live out the things that we value in our family.

So a principle for us was that we wanted to have family time. It didn’t have to be, it didn’t have to look like family time in, all the Christian parenting books, it didn’t have to look like family time of what my parents did, didn’t have to look like family time of what my friends did, but it had to be family time for us. So for our family, it worked great for us to have Sunday morning breakfast. 

Sunday morning breakfast was a time where we talked about life, we talked about God, we talked about how God related into all areas of life. We had fun times, we talked about silly things, we dreamed and joked, and that was our family time. Other families, Sunday morning, that’s just a crazy time. And you don’t want to do that. 

 

So it’s got to work for you. So if you hear yourself saying, “We should be doing this…” Just stop and ask yourself,

  • Why are they doing that, what is the fruit, or what are they aiming at?
  • Do I want that in my family life? 
  • And how can we get that fruit in our family? Considering our circumstances?

Don’t simply copy the action – but take hold of the principle and find your own action to make it work.

Look, I hope that what I’m saying makes you just pause. And really think about the things that you are pursuing and think about the things that are putting pressure on you. Ask yourself, why am I doing this this way? 

Now, to be honest, sometimes the things we want to do might be putting pressure on us because there may be some other things we need to let go. We can’t do all the things. We have to decide what things are important to us And how are we going to make that happen in our family’s situation?

I hope the ideas that I throw out, episode by episode, week by week, are good ideas, but they have to be thought through what works for your family right now. And that’s what you pursue.

 

I’d really appreciate it if you are enjoying the podcast, even though we’ve gone into a slightly different model at the moment with me just having a quick chat with you. But if you are enjoying the podcast, I’d love it if you could leave a review, let me know your takeaways. When you leave a comment and review, that just helps the podcast stay in front of people’s eyes – – – or ears so to speak! 

So until next time, stay heart focused. I’ll catch you later. See ya.

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Let God settle your Heart

Who needs this reminder today?🙏Be still and know that I am God!💫

Two instructions from God:

  • Be still – stop being anxious, running around on the inside.
  • Know that I am God. – This is addressing your heart. Know. Believe.

What this says to me is – Live in ways (do things) because I am God.  When things are going crazy – do things in ways because God is God. When you face disappointment – do things in ways because God is God. When you are overwhelmed – do things in ways because God is God.

If you believe it – you aren’t putting it on, you aren’t pretending – your actions become consistent with what you believe.

I hope this is a timely reminder for you to quieten your heart and listen for His voice, and trust that He is with you today and in the coming week.

 

Do you know why you do the things you do in your family?

This is an important question for parents to think about – and to be able to articulate. When you are able to explain it to your children you are then able to teach those values to your children.

Family life isn’t one-size-fits-all. We need to be thinking parents who understand God’s word, who are humble enough to learn from others, and brave enough to think it through.

Your family needs will change as the years go by – but your values won’t. Think about how you can live your values in each season of family life.

I’d love to hear about your family – What is one thing you know is really important to you for your family?

Who do you Listen to?

My dad used to ask me who was the final authority in my life. I had a few options – my friends, myself, my dad, or God? Well God was always the right answer. God has the final say in my life.

Then dad would ask me – so I know what you think so-and-so thinks about you (because so-and-so had just made me feel inadequate, unaccepted, or hurt in some way) but what does God say about you?

I would repeat back to him: I am God’s daughter: He made me and He loves me, and He has plans for me.

Dad would then also ask – who else loves you? Of course the answer was – you do! and I would smile through the tears!!

We would then talk about how God sees me in the situation I was facing, and how I could honour Him with my responses.

You see, being a daughter of the King doesn’t take away the hurt and pain of living in this world. We will feel the pressure of comparison, perfectionism, and fear of failing – along with many other things – but is that the final say?

  • What does God say?
  • What does God say about you?
  • What does God say about the situation you are in?

Are you prepared to change your perspective for God’s perspective?

It doesn’t matter what we struggle with the inner conversations are the same – being a teenager struggling with peers or being a mum struggling with doubts about doing all the things.

Who is the final authority about your life? What does He say about you? and How does that change how you view yourself, and the things you have to do?

Further Reading:

10 Ways Parents make Parenting Hard – Harder than I has to be: We can make it harder than it has to be by the habits we get caught up with but you can catch yourself and start responding differently.

Pursue Peace in your Heart and Home, and have a Good Day: When we pursue the things of peace, our choices reflect Christ’s righteousness; our right standing with Jesus, brings joy and peace every day.

3 Little Changes that will make a Big Difference in your Family Life:  Sometimes it is the little things that we can change in our family or parenting that will make the biggest difference.

 

1 Comment

  1. Lyn

    Love this, thanks!

    Reply

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