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Walking and Waiting for Weary Parents

Description

Brad Mathias talks to us about slowing down and spending quality time with family... with no disruptions.

One of the greatest battles a family can fight in today's instant, adrenaline-charged, techno-wired lifestyle of over commitment is stagnation… kind of ironic isn’t it ?

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
 they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
 they shall run and not be weary;
 they shall walk and not faint - Isaiah 40:31 English Standard Version (ESV)

stag·nant

–adjective

1. not flowing or running, as water, air, etc.

2. stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.

3.characterized by lack of development, advancement, or progressive movement: a stagnant economy.

If your family is anything like my family, we are all running so hard, connecting with so many, for so long, with little or no time set aside for ourselves that we run our emotional tanks completely dry. We over exert ourselves until our emotional, physical and spiritual strength is completely gone. Zip. Nada. Zero. We run so far we forget exactly where we’re supposed to be going and then we find ourselves needing to remember, to redirect, to refresh.

It was another crazy whirlwind of a week with our oldest friends and family coming to our home; ministry outreach at our local coffee shop on Friday evening; church set up on Saturday and Sunday morning services all requiring our full attention. In the end, it was five days of living crammed into three. Not all that unusual for us, with three teenagers, two-part time jobs, a family of seven and our ministry commitments to our local church, full-time vocations; it’s hard to find a way to slow things down. So for the mere sake of keeping up, we try to just keep moving so we don’t drop.

Exhausting.

By Sunday afternoon, I was thrilled to see the rain settle in to keep us from being tempted to do even more. I crashed in the bonus room with my family and watched “True Grit” and sipped sweet tea. It was nice.

It had been too long since we had simply stopped.

I’m going to crawl out a bit on the proverbial limb and assume… most likely these issues are as true for you. We've run until we’re whipped, worn and empty, and then we have nothing left to share, to say, to feel for each other. We’re stagnate. Our emotional lives are simply overwhelmed and we sense something critical inside of us is missing, or gone. We feel it in our homes and it bothers us. If we stop and think about it, we find the awareness of unease is elusive, hidden from clear sight…but we can smell that something rotten is in the well.

I believe stagnation is a common condition that causes great illness in today’s homes and families, including my own. We rush so valiantly out to serve others, to help minister to everyone but our own. Not cool.

So…let’s agree to pull back, review, revise and simplify our lives wherever God leads us to. If we don’t, we risk our own kids at the altars of ministry martyrdom. And that’s NOT a good thing. When we fail to invest our best into our own homes, our marriages and our relationships will suffer. Fathers, we must lead here for our wives and kids. They most likely will not “feel” like doing much of anything when they are on empty (your kids will try to slip away to their iPods, most wives will retreat into their bubble baths and a book and we will be tempted to seriously consider the merits of watching some championship golf or how badly our car needs to be cleaned). Fight the temptation to go passive and simply check out and isolate. Look for ways to re-connect yourself with your wives and families and your kids with each other. It will take an effort, but in the end, it gets things moving again and breaks the stagnation of your home.

What’s that look like for you…not sure. But look and listen and obey. God will show you exactly how to touch and revive each member of your home. For us, it was an hour of “whoonu” - a mindless, super easy, any age kind of game that every family should have. We laughed, we joked, we teased and we argued, it was perfect. In that little moment we as a family did something vital, we focused on each other. No iPods, no cell phones, no tv, no technology interrupting us. We simply ate our popcorn and nachos and enjoyed being together.

Play games together, watch old family videos, walk your neighborhood, sneak a Sonic run, but please make it a priority to focus on your family. Slow life down and mark a few previous commitments off your calendars.

Refresh yourself in the word of God, in quiet, in contemplation. Remind yourself that God has a Sabbath for a reason, and it’s a commandment for us to STOP and REST. Renew your strength, quit moving, quit solving problems, quit trying to be god. He can handle it.

I’m talking to myself right now

I could quote pages of scripture that would prove this idea to the point of absurdity, as being more than just my opinion… but sincerely my hope is for you to refresh your own soul and protect your families from overactivity. The irony is… when we allow ourselves to run too fast and too far without rest, we tend to become stagnate and we lose our way.

Grace to you and your homes as you prayerfully and intentionally seek to “keep your families in between the lines and on the road of life." Let’s commit to slowing down our pace and enjoying the view this summer…together.

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