by Pastor Craig
The presents have been exchanged and opened, the parties were rocked, the food was eaten, and the church services were experienced. I hope you had a great Christmas season for 2019 and your family benefitted from the extra time together. As we enter 2020, we get the fresh opportunity to make the time to spiritually access where we are with God and lead our kids through spiritual conversation and evaluation.
We all know what it’s like to go to the doctor, dentist, or auto mechanic. We either go because something is wrong or for preventative maintenance. Those visits are not the most fun thing in world, but they are important. What we do get out of those visits is necessary information. There is freedom in knowing the information and setting a plan to get things fixed or decide to get an upgrade (insert joke here). The process isn’t at the top of anyone’s list, but it is important and sets us on a path with clarity and direction.
I want to recommend you make the time over the break to do a “spiritual checkup”. Do this for yourself, with your spouse, and with your kids. Our kids are growing up so fast and we need to be proactive with the limited time they are under our roofs. Let’s make the most of God’s directive to lead our kids and “bring them up” versus watching them grow up. I also want to tell you how much your kids want to hear from you. As they go through middle school and high school they don’t want to be, nor should they be, micro-managed. They do, however, want your evaluation and encouragement. They usually won’t come out and say it, but they do want your involvement and evaluation of how they are doing with the guidance you have been giving them.
The English word for prayer means “to beg” or “to ask”. The Hebrew people understood prayer to mean “to self-evaluate”. This meant prayer was more about examining themselves and seeking God to transform them versus mostly asking for things.
In order to do this well, we need to have a clear target. We can’t tell our kids to be “good kids” without defining what that means. We can’t be a “good employee” if our superiors don’t clarify what that means. You can’t go after goals and characteristics if you don’t know what they are and that’s a frustrating and confusing way to live. What I have done with my family, and what I recommend to you, is to prayerfully ask God for the qualities and characteristics you want as your goals. When these are established you and your kids will be able to live out of clarity, freedom, and accurate identity.
Keep in mind God is not about behavior modification, but about transformation. In Romans 12: 1-2, God tells us to be living sacrifices and to transform our minds. The emphasis is on inside out transformation versus outward behavior. Therefore, as you pray over this and put plans together, seek God’s guidance for heart transformation.
If you have character qualities or specific spiritual guidelines already established, great! Nice job. Stay on it. If not, don’t despair. It’s always the right time to seek God for guidance. The main thing is to make the time to be together in conversation with your family about how you are doing. There is such freedom in this process. Imagine what it would be like for your family to sit together, without devices, and talk with common language about your spiritual characteristic goal!
So, what is the next step? Take action! What plans or goals should you establish for your family? Well, that’s up to you. You are not alone however. We have a church staff and the Student Parent Connect Group ready to help you. I would love to meet with you to talk about this process, share what we have done in our family, and help you get going. This is my offer to you. There will be encouragement and support for you in this process. Go forward with courage to be proactive. Make the time to do the maintenance required for spiritual health just like we do with the doctor, dentist, or mechanic. It is worth it.