Being chronologically credentialed (older), I had the pleasure of speaking to moms of young children at a Mom2Mom Mentoring Banquet this week. In preparation, I let my mind wander back to those hectic days when I was 30 with four small children under the age of 6 and jotted down 7 things I wished I’d focused on way back then. For the next 7 weeks, I plan to blog on each topic so here is a snapshot of what is to come.
1. ENJOY LIFE. I recall how the days seemed to drag by, yet somehow the years seemed to fly by. Doing things over, I would slow down and enjoy life more, one season at a time. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to rob, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life.” That sounds like He intends for us to enjoy life. Maybe that is why He often asks me the question, “Are you fun to live with?” My answer is a good barometer of whether I am enjoying a rich and satisfying life which often depends far more on what is going on inside than what is happening outside.
2. TRAIN YOUR KIDDOS TO BE ENJOYABLE. Some kiddos are easy to enjoy straight from the womb–mighty few. The rest we need to be train. Ephesians 6:4 says this, “Do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” One way to keep from exasperating your kids is to make your home a positive environment, instructing them what “to do” more often than screaming out what “not to do.”
3. SIMPLIFY. As an avid multi-tasker, I am constantly working on this. I am learning 1) to say NO to stuff which we think that we own when in fact the stuff more accurately owns us– our time, our money, our focus. I’m also learning 2) to say NO to activities. When asked to do good things over the years, my default has always been to say YES unless God says NO. Recently, I felt God’s prompting to change my default answer to NO unless God says to say YES. I found I’m not nearly so quick to overcommit. As I focus on my main job right now of finishing writing a book, I can’t do every other good thing that comes my way. Hmmm. I wonder what my life might’ve been had I taken up this habit sooner – rich and more satisfying?
4. HONOR YOUR SPOUSE. God puts us in a family setting in close proximity with each other so that we can learn to love and honor people before our own needs and desires. We are also in a family to learn to communicate and relate so we can truly enjoy living together. Really communicating takes hard work, but it is so worth it. “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.” Prov 31:11
5. TAKE TIME FOR YOU. Moms need time outs too, time out of the routine, time to get refreshed.We also need to take time work on ourselves. The issues that we ignore and refuse to let God deal with don’t go away; instead, they grow over the years and often have huge consequences (like overeating has for me.) “Don’t be misled. God is not mocked. You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7
6. STAY CONNECTED TO GOD’S FAMILY. God had no intention of us doing life on our own. Our best years have been when we were strongly involved in a church family doing life together with a small group of believers. “Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”. I Th 5:11
7. GET TO KNOW JESUS INTIMATELY. Now let’s get to the bottom line. These six above items pale in importance to this, the main thing. As Stephen Covey said, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” The more I really experience Jesus’ presence in my daily life, understand who He is and what He is doing, the more rich and satisfying life I have, regardless of the circumstances of life that surrounds me.
When asked what was the most important thing in life, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul & mind. This is the first & greatest commandment. The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:37 So, to sum it up, we only have two jobs in life: # 1 love God, #2 love others. That’s it. Period. And the bottom line is that this is what brings a rich and satisfying life.