- I am realizing that some of my motivation for the decisions I have made have been made out of fear of man, not out of trust in God.
- I am realizing that I am teaching my family to idolize family and therefore that we exist to meet the needs of the people in our family, rather than the needs of the people outside of our family.
- I am realizing that I may be teaching my children a wrong view of church. We have become so consumed with family, and really good things to do with family (But even good things can become wrong things), that we have little energy left over to help our children really engage in the church and be the church.
I understand that this does not mean that I am to abandon and hate my family, but that it does means my love and affection for Jesus should be so great in comparison to my love for my family. However, I am still trying to figure out what that practically means. How do I live this? In my human mind, it is hard for me to realize that God wants me to sacrifice - even my family life - to follow Him. But, these are not my children and this family life on earth is just temporary - a gift for a season - on loan for me to steward well. Idolizing this gift is not stewarding it well. Jesus is calling for a greater devotion to Himself than even to my own family. It is hard to sacrifice my whole life for Jesus, but that's what He asks. It costs much to follow Him. It costs much to be His disciple. Is there joy? Is there blessings? Yes, yes! But it is not easy, and it was never, ever promised to be easy, no matter how much we have twisted it to be so in our modern American culture.
I am not swinging the pendulum the other direction and thinking that I need to neglect my family either. I am just trying to bring that pendulum back to where God intended it. The greatest command that we have as a Jesus follower (male or female) is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. and then secondly to love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27) So I am called to love God above all else and then to love humans (I believe that neighbor can be translated all humans, everywhere). Absolutely, of course, this includes loving my family. However, nothing is said in these two greatest commands about prioritizing family above our neighbor or neglecting our neighbor for our family.
Jesus never asked me to sacrifice myself for my family. He asked me to sacrifice myself for Him. That's hard to swallow as I have given so much of myself for my family, and to know, that perhaps in giving of myself, I have unknowingly been neglecting the very One who gave Himself for me.
I am not sure where I have landed with all of this, besides understanding the temptation that I have fallen into. Perhaps that is the place to begin. We are praying over many changes in the coming year that will help our family align more closely with being disciples of Jesus. I will close with a provocative passage that has been eating at my brain. I am still studying this and its context.
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-37)
I don't type any of this with certainty, arrogancy, judgmentalism, or feeling as if I have the answers. It's what my heart is wrestling with. Things are not always as black and white as we would wish them to be. I am learning that there is life in the gray, and sometimes Jesus is found right inside of that gray. All I want is to find, and follow, and know Jesus in a way that I have never known Him before.
This is my journey to Him.