If there is one thing that I have learned being married, having kids, and life itself is that everyone does things differently. Everyone has different circumstances, family, heritage, dietary needs and abilities. The way that people operate in their homes, make choices and come to conclusions are all different. How people manage and run their homes, parent their children, acquire goods, vacation and build familial relationships are all very unique to each family. There are definitely things in scripture that we are instructed to do and not to do. There are definitely sinful habits and behaviors that should not been emulated or esteemed; that is not what I am talking about today. On the same token we definitely should be thoughtful about how we do things, be intentional about our choices and for the most part know WHY our family does the things we do. Or if you aren’t married, why YOU do what you do.
It is always fun to talk to couples and families that have been married for 20 years or so and hear the quirks and comforts that have emerged. Going to certain restaurants on certain days 20 years later because of that one year when the dinner was ruined. Or sticking to certain recipes or meal planning because of a family members restrictions. Hopefully, I can make my point clear, it is fun to see that often the reason people do things is because that is just what works for them. Even if it is different than what other families are doing.
There are things that I do in my parenting for honestly no other reason than that is what worked best for me at the time; casual and simple as that. There are things we do in our marriage that we haven’t changed because it’s working right now. Sometimes it just needs to be as simple as that, “because it works” and sometimes that is the only goal. There might be a better system or process and maybe at some point how it is done will need to change. Usually I think it is too easy to look around and compare myself to others and think that I should be doing something differently simply because, “that is how they are doing it and look at how great it is working for them!” NO! Some people can do way more than me, and some can do way less. Some have completely different strengths! Some people have different support in their family. There are definitely heart principles and things that should be common among the lives and families of believers, but the way most of the day to day tasks are carried out are unique to the individuals. If I continually evaluate other peoples lives and apply their principles to my life frustration and disappointment will result. Believe me, there is major wisdom in seeking council, asking for ideas and learning about how and why people do things, sometimes those things will fit for you, great! But don’t be discouraged if they don’t. It is great to work toward things, create the life that you want to have and work towards goals, but be we need to be careful not to make an idol out of living, dressing, acting, entertaining, serving, managing a home, or “enter it here” just like another person.
A great place to start is to ask the Lord, what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. Evaluate your life and see if there are any “rubs”; processes or habits that aren’t quite working or resulting in an appropriate heart attitude. Also look for strengths and things that really are working well. Look at the strengths and the rubs and see if you can identify WHY that is or is not working for you. Take your findings and consult your authority (husband, pastor, parent, teacher, boss) and ask them what you should be doing/what the end goal is. It is tempting for us to want to know exactly what to do. Give me a list! It just isn’t quite that easy. Be sure that you are looking at biblical principles and the condition of your heart. That is what The Lord sees. Do your best to understand what the bible says about what you should be doing at this stage of your life and how you should be doing it. Do word studies or read applicable chapters. Now that you have an idea about what you should be doing and how your should be doing it, evaluate your life and how you do things and come up with practical, easy ways that make sense to you. Do what works! Sometimes planning to have a meal out or brought in is what works for me to have a joyful and rested heart when Gavin comes home. Sometimes I go to bed with the house messy because there are more important tasks at hand. I love ordering basic things on Amazon and having them delivered, because that is what works! Many of the things we do are not hard and fast rules that have 10 points of scripture to back them up. It is important for Gavin and I to major on the majors (scripture, biblical roles, ministry, building our family, appropriate heart attitudes) and minor on the minors (some chores, some schedules, some habits, recreation, leisure, whatever). It is important for me to do what works to maintain a biblical heart attitude. An amazing home cooked meal and spotless home but a scattered, tempted, sinful distracted and frazzled heart is not an even trade for me. A more simple dinner is just what works for me to maintain a heart that pleases the Lord. Once I get comfortable or in a routine with what works, than I can challenge myself to do a little more. The way I clean my bathroom accomplishes the goal. It is clean and presentable. There is probably more that I could do more often but the need is met. I use my stroller because I am usually carrying stuff and I have a bad back, holding my kids is really hard for me. It is what works. We need to remember the end goal.
The point of our lives is the bring glory to God and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. We want to worship, please and enjoy Him forever.
The only person I should be striving to live EXACTLY like in every way is Christ Jesus who is the Son of God. The reason that it is important to have the freedom to “do what works” is that anything that isn’t helping us accomplish our end goal is distracting us. Constantly focusing on the process and seeing how our processes measure up to those around us is a distraction. Trying to constantly do things like other people is like jamming a triangle toy into a square peg. It just doesn’t work. But as a triangle, go through your space often and swiftly, rejoicing and encouraging the square peg to do the same. You can fit a square peg into a round hole, there is just a lot of damage done to both the peg and the hole. Would you be willing to simplify some areas of your life, if you knew it would result in a more godly heart for you? Can you be content to live the life that God gave you and rejoice in Him because of it? Are you able to look to God alone for standards and life habits?