Find Rest for Your Family
- Monday, January 19, 2009
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Tim Kimmel's book, Little House on the Freeway: Help for the Hurried Home, (Multnomah Books, 2008).
How fast is your family running through life? If you always seem to be in a hurry and struggling to keep up with your activities, it’s time to slow down. That’s easier said than done, though.
Real rest can only be found in Jesus, through the peace that He alone can give you and your family. Here’s how you can find the rest you need:
Diagnose the problems. Figure out what kind of hurriedness is afflicting your home. Is your family so busy that you all can’t relax? Are you uncomfortable with quiet? Are you seldom satisfied with what you have? Do you live according to shifting moral standards – sometimes going against your convictions when it’s more convenient to do so? Are you overworked and underappreciated? Do you worry about things you can’t control? Are you only happy when you’re successful according to how the world defines success? Do you often doubt God’s power, grace, or sufficiency? Are you discontent? Do you lack genuinely intimate relationships? Do you have a tendency to try to control your life?
Look internally, not externally. It’s unrealistic to expect that the external stresses in your life will just magically go away. But you can experience real rest inside your soul no matter what kind of stressful circumstances you’re going through in your life. Realize that rest is a choice make in any situation. Ask God to help you learn how to be calm even in the middle of a storm. Remember that He loves you, made you with a purpose, and guarantees you hope. Let those realities sink into your soul and give you peace.
Forgive. Your soul can’t truly rest until you forgive as God calls you to forgive. Take an inventory of the people in your life to determine who you may still need to forgive for hurting you in the past. Then rely on the help God promises to forgive each of them. Once you give others the gift of forgiveness, you get a valuable gift in return: rest for your soul.
Live within the limits. Choose to live within the limits of biblical standards that God has created for people’s protection from harm. The more you live by what the Bible says, the less you’ll struggle with fear and regrets, and the more rest you’ll enjoy. Whenever you experience guilt, consider honestly if it’s alerting you to sin in your life. If so, be quick to confess the sin and repent, turning away from the sin and toward God. Every day, do your best to align your actions with your beliefs. Make sure that what you say you believe is what you’re actually doing, consistently. Give every part of your life – your work, relationships, etc. – to God, without holding anything back. When every aspect of your lifestyle reflects faithful living, you can experience genuine rest.
Look at life with an eternal perspective. Ask God to give you His perspective on your life so you won’t waste time or energy on pursuits that don’t really matter. Recognize that people are more important than personal gain. Invest in relationships first and foremost, since love is eternal. Never sacrifice what’s permanent on the altar of what’s immediate. Don’t let each day’s urgent issues that come up distract you from pursuing what’s most important. Instead of fearing death, accept it as an inevitable part of your future, and prepare for it by making the most of every day God gives you on earth. Rather than trying to avoid aging, learn all you can as you grow more mature. Keep in mind that time will move forward quickly for you no matter how well you do or don’t use it. Every day, thank God for the gift of the time He has given you, and do your best to invest it well.
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