There are so many things to think about with parenting. Am I doing enough? Do I have my kid in the right activities? The right school? Do they have enough friends?
While all of these are important questions, the single most important question is: What is my child’s relationship with the Lord? And along with that question, “Is there evidence that my son or daughter has a personal, intimate relationship with God? Do I see fruit of that relationship?”
Your child’s spiritual life is all that really matters. While we can’t make our kids love God and serve Him, we can create opportunities for them to bump into Jesus. Only Jesus can turn their hearts towards Him. But to do that they need to know about Him and have opportunities to build that relationship. Our schedules should show that this is our number one priority.
As we get ready to turn the page on the calendar and start a new year, it is a great time to think through our priorities. What are we spending our time on? Is there something we have stopped doing that we should start back up? What is taking up too much time and how can we put proper boundaries around it to make it line up with our actual priorities?
Life is busy and if we allow it, every minute of the day will be swallowed up by something. Everything we do has a cost and a benefit. As parents it is our job to make sure our time is spent on the things that really matter.
What will 2022 look like?
So as we enter into the new year, ponder these few verses. Ask the Lord to guide your thoughts and show you where your priorities should lie. Do your current priorities need to be rearranged? Maybe something needs to be dropped or added. Different seasons call for different priorities. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you to the right ones.
Worry, anxiety and stress can all be indicators that our priorities are a little off. Let’s look at Matthew 6:31-34
So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Questions to ask:
- What am I worried about? (your child making the club team, your child being mad for not be allowed to play a video game, your child getting an A in Chemistry etc)
- What is my response to that worry? (private lessons, later bedtime, prayer etc)
- What does it look like to seek the Kingdom of God above all else?
- What does it mean to live righteously?
- Would my neighbor recognize God in my life? Would my friends?
As parents our main priority is to raise our children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:4-8.
Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God will all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Questions to ask:
- How do we love God with our heart, soul, and strength?
- When was the last time I had a conversation with my child about God?
- Is God a part of our everyday life or just our Sunday morning time slot?
- What commands of God are priority to our family and how am I teaching my children to follow them?
Parenting is a lot of work. It can be overwhelming at times the amount of stuff we have to do. But if we pause for a moment, Jesus makes it clear there are only two things that are actually important. Check out Matthew 22:37-40
You must love the LORD your God will all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.
For 2022 ask yourself these questions.
- How can I love God more this year?
- How can I love others more this year?
- What aspect of God will I focus on teaching my child this year?
- What are ways I can give my child the opportunity to love others well?
Now schedule those into your calendar first. Then with the time that is left fill your calendar with the other stuff.
Practical Examples to bring God into everyday life:
- Talk about what each person learned at church during Sunday lunch.
- Find a devotional for each member of the family to study
- Study a book of the Bible together or read through the Bible together
- Read a book with your child and discuss the chapters
PS: We can’t do this parenting gig alone. None of us have all the answers! What are you doing to be a better leader and parent for your family? Is there a parenting class you can go to? A book you can read? Do you have a community of friends that you can do life with? A community that models a relationship with the Lord and that can sharpen and strengthen you? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, ask the Lord how He would like you to pursue these in 2022!