Loving My Family: Pursue, Provide, and Protect
Pursue: In the past I’ve written about how men must pursue, as we reject passivity. More than anything else, pursuing my family involves how I use my time.
After a long day (or any day), my tendency is to retreat to my laptop or smartphone, instead of spending time with my family. This passivity is easier than engaging my wife, and more worthwhile (or so I think) than building with Lego bricks.
But then I remember that my daughter will be out of high school in four years, and my sons aren’t far behind. I need to “make the most of my time” (Ephesians 5:16) with them while I can.
And then I remember my wife of 15 years. I get so caught up in the busyness of parenting, work, and ministry that I forget a very important part of our relationship: that we are friends.
In Real Marriage, Mark and Grace Driscoll write:
“Marriage often starts out as a journey between friends. It gets off course as friends become business partners trying to pay the bills, parents trying to raise the kids, . . . .
Perhaps the key is to always be working on the friendship, because in the end the rest of marriage seems to come together more easily and happily when you are working on it with your friend.”
Provide: The past six months have brought a lot of transition for our family. I started a new job in a fairly-new non-profit, working with children and youth in under-resourced communities. I love the new opportunity I have, but being an entrepreneur (especially in the non-profit world) is financially challenging, to say the least.
God has been gracious to provide for us through this journey (especially through a church body that is showing their love for us and for their city). But God is teaching me that despite what I love doing, providing for my family must remain paramount.
I’m not sure what this means exactly. It may mean working more part-time jobs for the near future. It may mean that I take a job that I love less if it means a better situation for my family. It may just mean trusting God to provide.
But I do know that I need to be a diligent worker, so that I can continually provide for my family. My family needs me to work hard — both to provide for them, and so they can see an example of hard work.
Protect: Thankfully, I don’t live in a place where I fear for the safety of my family. But protecting them doesn’t just mean physically. I also need to protect them emotionally.
God has been showing me how unkind and rude I can be. When I am harsh with my family, I “provoke them to anger” (Ephesians 6:4). My failure to love them directly leads to them not loving others.
This year, I’m asking my family to hold me accountable to be gentle, kind, and patient with them. I will regularly ask them if I’ve done anything to treat them rudely and disrespectfully.
Asking them will be the easy part. The hard part will be receiving their words with humility and without defensiveness. But I will keep asking God to soften and change my heart, so that I can protect the emotional state of my family.
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