Frustration. Anxiety. Stress. Failure. Incompetence. These are all emotions that I visit as a parent more often than I would like to admit. I have big dreams and desires and ideas about what Family Discipleship should look like in my own family. There is a passion for families to disciple their children that wells up inside of me and it begins with me and my own children. I often set expectations upon myself and my family that are so far out of reach that the only thing that I do reach is a sense of failure. Every post in this blog comes out of a personal place for me. But this one is a bit more personal than others. I admit that I fall short of what I think “the perfect Family Discipleship” family should look like. I believe that if I am feeling this, than others may be also. I am so grateful for the wise council of others that has been given to me over the years. Here are some pieces of council that I have received that helps me in times of despair. The answer isn’t to lower your expectations or give up or try harder. The answer comes in determining what we celebrate!
Celebrate movement! Rather than asking yourself the question, “Is my family where I want it to be?” Ask yourself the question “Is my family looking more like Jesus than last week, last month or last year?” Rather than asking yourself, “Are my kids living an exemplary Christian life?” Ask yourself, “Are my kids one step closer to Jesus?” Replace the celebration of reaching a destination with the celebration of movement toward Jesus. “Life’s a journey” is not just a great little slogan to put on bumper stickers. Celebrate the journey.
Stop Comparing! One of the reasons that I can visit the world of frustration, anxiety and stress is because I am often comparing myself to others. Compared to that mom, I really blew it. I really want to have it all together like that mom, and I don’t. If only I had the time and money and resources that that family has….then I would be where I desire to be. This is a dangerously slippery slope!!! Compare yourself only to you. Are you growing closer to Jesus? Are you living the life that Jesus has called you to? Are you one step closer to Jesus?
Be Realistic! I am a goal oriented person. I’m also overly optimistic. The way this plays out in life is that often my goals are not realistic, maybe even impossible. I believe it’s important to set goals for yourself, for your kids, and for your family. Without a goal, the likelihood of movement is limited. Without a clear direction, ending up where you desire is unlikely. As our culture is setting “resolutions” for the New Year, this is a great time to not just set a new resolution but make some real goals for your family. Let’s start with the purpose of a Family Discipleship Path. Family Discipleship is based on the idea of moving purposefully toward adulthood with strong relationships with God and family. Without that goal, who knows where our path may lead. However, if you continually set unrealistic goals for yourself or your family, you will continually find yourself struggling with a sense of failure or incompetency. Use the acronym to ensure that it is a SMART goal. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Recorded, Time bound.
Please share some wise council that you have been given that helps you stay in a healthy place in your family. What are some emotions that you struggle with as you walk the Family Discipleship Path? What helps you maintain a healthy perspective? What are your goals for your family this year?
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