The Home Makeover (Ch. 1): Don’t Let Your Family Get Squished Like a Grape

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

What is the focus of your home? This is a core question for a family and the focus of the first chapter of the book.

In many ways, we like to straddle commitments. We don’t want to appear too radical or we prefer to not be too committed for fear of what we may need to change. But, yet, that is sometimes where a family’s struggle lies: in having too many commitments…with God watered down or out of the family’s life where He is no longer God. Not surprising. It is easy to put children’s excelling in sports, music or academics above Him. It is easy to put our career or hobby priorities over guiding our family in Christ.

A “classic” movie, The Karate Kid, offers an object lesson on this theme. The mentor to a teenager describes how one can walk down the right side of the road safely, one can walk down the left side of the road safely, but if you walk down the middle of the road… soon you will squish like a grape.

A life of faith in Christ is not one of walking the middle (although there will be temporary times that we dwell there). Do we consider God a foundation for our life and family…or do we consider Him an extra? We all split our lives into parts (or compartmentalize), but all of it comes before God. Joshua (in 24:15) describes well the reminder that a life of faith is not fallen into or lived in pieces. A life of faith in Christ (individual or as a family) is a response, a decision, to His calling (John 1:10-13; Rev. 3:20). And, as Joshua notes, it is one we express in our “households”: our families.

FOR THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION:

What makes you and your family straddle commitments? Are there areas this happens? And, importantly, how have you gotten past walking the middle (if even for a time)? (Share some discussion below by replying to this post.)

Be encouraged: The God you seek to make the foundation of your family receives the weak, the sinful, the struggling…in other words, He is open to us all in Christ. As you try next week’s activity, realize the grace of God for your family and remember Jesus words, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. As you seek to live your life as a family following Jesus, the Holy Spirit will take your small efforts and will begin to speak to your family and children through them.

FOR NEXT WEEK:

Try one of the three activities in pages 28-37 or use the discussion starters on p. 38 with your family. Come back for next Monday’s post and share experiences, questions, encourage others, etc.!

Some suggestions for doing the activities:

  • Set your family up for a success…do just one! Don’t try to do a bunch or plan really long times (If this is new, just doing one is a success).
  • Pray! Ask God to use these efforts to help your family know Him more or to help make a new practice in your family.
  • Don’t be surprised if it is hard the first time…or even goes poorly. Our families have patterns and this is asking them to do something different. Persevere, try it again and don’t lose heart if it doesn’t go well.
  • Realize your spouse may need time to think or plan. Ask your spouse for 5-10 minutes to pray and pick out an activity.

3 Responses

  1. Brian
    Busyness is one of the hardest factors for us to make too many commitments. It's almost like there isn't enough time to decide what to focus on much less do them well. Something that's helped us is trying to keep a commitment at the same time each day or week. (Like reading some Bible stories with the kids right before bed.) That rhythm has become a habit where the kids now remind us as well!! It was hard at first but it's now become a fun time that's easier to do and remember.
  2. Lindsey
    I agree. From my perspective in our family, I know there are many things we could improve upon, but it's hard to know where to start. And even if I did know where to start, it seems like even the everyday in-home busyness takes over and before I know it the day is done and few, if any, of my goals were met. Making a point to try one new commitment a day until it's a habit is a good idea, though.
  3. Angie
    One of the activities we did at home was the Family Mission Statement. I included a mission statement, nonnegotiable values, nonnegotiable activities, and even a family motto. We discussed this as a family, and were able to post it in our home as a reminder. I am looking forward to continuing to be engaged in reading and participating!

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