Last night sitting around a friend’s table, we began talking about spiritual growth. Tim had this great insight. “We are taught that spiritual discipline and getting to know God is through an hour of study, prayer, reflective journaling. I love that stuff, but today my life does not have room for that. I have these kids and they want to be part of my time. I have seen them as a distraction, but perhaps I need to see them as avenues that in this season that God is using for me to understand him.”
One thing about spiritual practice is that we ‘should’ on people a lot to get them to grow in faith.
You should read the Bible. You should pray daily. You should be part of a small group. You should tithe. You should… But, perhaps people are not there. Perhaps, a prayer in the car on the way to work is all that people have.
There is a pastor I admire who has an integral part of his development is a quarterly three day retreat. I love three day retreats. However, my life with my wife does not allow it. She starts work at 6AM. To ask her to change her schedule for my three day retreat is an incredible burden and might even be a little selfish. However, in the back of my mind I think… ‘I should do a three day retreat if I really want to be…”
Part of this story of faith is that I must disciple my own kids and let them see some of the good choices I make in my life of faith is about them. If my choices is always about others then they may resent church, Jesus, and God. What has my life taught them?
Here is what I am trying to convey: there is no formula on how to be a parent or how to be a person of faith. If you try to fit yourself into somebody else’s mold…you will fail or be miserable. People may give you advice, provide a model of their experience, but ultimately it is up to God and you to figure out.
Disciples of Christ-Visalia what are our hopes for you.
- Know the Bible more over time. Either daily reading. Personal or group study. Spend some part of your life in the word. It could be as simple as reading the Bible stories to your kids. Dads we need you to do this.
- Pray regularly. Daily prayer is best but pray as often as you can. Those prayers need to be modeled with your kids at bedtime or at meals.
- Find ways to spend time with your family at the table. Turn off the TV and spend some time with each other. TV can come on sometimes and be the center of the event. Pizza and movie night. LeBron’s decision party(Maybe not)
- Quit measuring your life against others. You are not the greatest parent in the world and you are not the worst. However, your task is to love these kids and to pass along the faith. Do the best you can at this given time.
- Last thing, find people to help you. Other parents who you can trust not to judge you but who will listen first and encourage you. Maybe somebody who will pray for you. Sharing with others the joy and struggles of being a parent of faith might be helpful. To learn that a friend had a moment when they blurted out in the middle of the grocery store, “Quit acting like morons!” to their kids may give us some hope along the journey. We are not alone.
What if that was our goal to build a spiritual practice that worked for us?