by Paul Tautges | April 13, 2020 1:04 am
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
A checklist popped up on my to-do list today that I thought I would share, as I think it is something we will all find helpful right now. The reason it popped up this week is because it’s Easter week and I had anticipated that at least some of my extended family would be together for a few extended days. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 stay-at-home order we will not be together. However, I’m sharing it because I think it’s a vital list of reminders for all of us as we adjust to the new family dynamics of this time of shelter-in-place, as we are sharing more time and space than normal, as our routines have been disrupted, and as there are no doubt more occasions for conflict and frustration.
By now, most households are experiencing some restlessness in the sense of being more easily annoyed and more easily frustrated. Words come out a little bit harsher, hot buttons are activated a little bit quicker, and irritation creeps in a little bit faster. We are all having to fight against the flesh and are having to work much harder at being full of grace and love.
This list is something I made several years ago when our family was adjusting to changing family dynamics – an adult son, an adult daughter and her new husband, aging parents. No longer were we living together as family, but instead had extended visits in each other’s homes.
Because after our first Christmas together I was convicted that I needed to be very purposeful in preparing for our times together. Sure, I had carefully planned the meals, some fun outings, and things to do together, but I had NOT prepared my heart for the temptations that would arise. That Christmas I found myself irritated by little things, judging how my family members did things differently than I did, and unrealistic expectations. I found that after a few days of “living together,” my words became less kind, my selfishness boiled up, and the peace and joy I so desired was escaping me and was no doubt evident to my family. The time that I looked so forward to had turned into frustration and an occasion for me to be less than patient, unkind, and prideful.
I created this checklist to pop up on my to-do list before each holiday and family vacation. WHY? Because this list is something I need to have at the forefront of my mind when more bodies are sharing space, when family is visiting, and routines are not normal, when there is more occasion for conflict and frustrations. I pray this checklist helps guide your interactions with your family as you spend these weeks together.
I’ve incorporated the checklist into a devotional format so you can use this as a family devotion as you all strive to walk in a manner worthy of Christ’s call! (You can simplify this with your younger preschool children by talking about one character quality each day.)
Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Ephesus. The entire book is a letter of encouragement and admonition (caution, warning), written to remind believers of their immeasurable (infinite, large number of) blessings in Jesus Christ. And he wrote to not only encourage them to be thankful for those blessings, but also to live in a manner worthy of them (live in a way that reflects Jesus).
Today’s post is written by Bobette Hatteberg, the Children’s Ministry director at Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heigths, Ohio, where I serve.
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