Pausing for Peace


Brad Mathias shares some ways parents can cultivate peace in their home.

As a father and a husband, I’m reminded of my responsibility to cultivate peace in my home—peace, not as the world gives, but peace that flows from my proper relationship with God and from each of us to one another. It's an easy concept to understand, and much harder to do. I call this, the Pause for Peace, an essential in every Christian home.  

My kids are most likely just like yours, anxious, overwhelmed, impulsive and emotional to the extreme. Given to their own devices they will, in nano-seconds, drift away from the real to the imaginary.

Their world of instant entertainment, technology and psuedo-relationships (via texting) will quickly overtake and replace peace or contentment with an agitated state of growing uneasiness. Subtly, they may begin to notice all of the things they DON’T have. They notice all of the things that other prettier, and more talented people have. Their perspective becomes inward, selfish and small. They fail to realize the images and sounds that they are observing are not real. It breaks down their concern for others and they realize that the world in fact does not rotate around them and the fun begins.

Often that’s when we arrive home from work, and although we can’t exactly figure out what's wrong at home, we can sense something is. The peace of our homes has evaporated while we went to work, and our kids appear to have morphed into nasty little gremlins and the fights, insults and irritations explode. Those are the times we get to choose, either to step into the situation with grace to uncover its cause or to close our bedroom doors and have them microwave their own meal.

As parents, it's our job to intentionally seek to break that mood and help everyone re-set. If we avoid it or simply react to our kids' frustrations, fears and self-doubt, we essentially amplify the ill effects. If I arrive home from work too tired to recognize that one of my kids has had a really tough day and simply respond to their irrational behaviors, it further charges the negative environment of our home, and we all have a bad evening. Why does that seem to happen so often to so many of us? It’s not a fun way to live, and it’s certainly not what we were promised in the scriptures.

I believe it's simply an issue of taking time each day to read the scriptures and to be in prayer and contemplation. If I do that regularly, I essentially live my life with a renewed sense of purpose, strength and patience. When I take the time myself to see beyond the obvious circumstances of my world into the realm of  faith, I am tapping into the power and grace of  my Savior. Without it, I’m rushing off to battle without any armor, and without a refreshed heart. I’m going into a world and a day unprepared with only my own meager reserves of peace and joy. This is a prescription for exhaustion and frustration.

In those daily times of renewal and encouragement, we can simply allow God to speak to us directly and personally. His Word and our humility prepare us supernaturally for the very issues we will soon face in our day. We engage our day with unexplainable understanding and patience for our kids, our spouse and our work. If we skip that time, we are trying to run a marathon on empty and have nothing left to give when we finish our days and arrive home.

In the end, if I’m peacefully living out the day, then I have a much better chance of ensuring my family will, too. Parenting and faith should be intertwined daily, perhaps hourly, in our lives, not segregated from Sunday to Sunday. There are no new ideas here, just a reminder to myself that I’m sharing today with the genuine hope to see my family and yours ”keep it between the lines and on the road of life."

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