Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bar Room Brawls in the Living Room.....and the Heart

What are you compelled to do?


What are you naturally drawn to....that you just HAVE to do in this life?


This question came up recently, as I was praying about prioritizing my life and seeking some answers as to what I should be pursing in life and what I need to remove from my overflowing schedule. Let's face it, there is only so much time in a day and one person can only do so much. So....what does God want me to really invest in?


As I was pondering this, an all out brawl broke out down the hall.  I heard one of my boys screaming in pain, which quickly escalated into anger as I heard him attack the offending brother.  I ran down the hall as fast as I could, and came upon what looked like a bar room brawl. As I reacted to the "flight or fight" hormones surging through my body, I automatically entered the boxing arena and pulled the two boys apart. My first reaction was anger, but I knew fighting anger with anger isn't particularly effective, so I just stood there for a minute, holding the boys apart from each other and quietly prayed for wisdom.


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In that moment, I knew one thing. Prioritizing the vast opportunities that can fill up my life, is key. I have to put my family and home life at the top of my priority list, right after my quiet time with the Lord. I need to draw wisdom from God every single day and stay plugged into His Word for wisdom, peace, direction and to change my own heart so it becomes more like the heart of God.


I know that in my humanity, I cannot solve all of the problems that arise in our household. I need clear wisdom and direction and to have the ability to teach our kids correctly, not out of human instinct.


Situations like the "bar room brawl" in our house, will arise because we are all human and we are all sinners. How can I help my kids learn to love....I mean, really love each other with a selfless love?  In my own wisdom, I can't. I need God. I need His wisdom. I need His direction. I need His insight. I need His strength. I need to bask in the beauty of the only TRUE love that exists.


You see, I really like peace. I really like beauty. I really like a "happy ending" and I am compelled to look for the happy ending, to create a peaceful atmosphere and to capture the beautiful moments in life. Consequently, these little bar room brawls that occur from time to time and the squabbles in the kitchen over who has to wash the dishes, or who last folded the laundry, or so and so won't stop telling me about the book and I'm not finished reading it yet....don't fit into my neat, tidy, organized, peaceful, beautiful, happy idea of how life should be. Their little brawls actually shed light on a place in my heart that needs to be changed. I felt angry over their fight because it interrupted my peace. It forced me to take action when I wanted to be busy doing something that else. I wanted to plan. I wanted to make lists. I wanted to organize this somehow very messy life and they needed me to stop focusing on what I want and start focusing on what they need.


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So, the answer to the original question of what am I compelled to do in life, comes back to this. I am compelled to know God. I am compelled to search my own heart in the light of the scriptures. I am compelled to grow. I am compelled to take my thoughts captive....to really know what thoughts plague me, that are wrong, to face them and deal with them and to overcome them with the right thoughts. I am not compelled, naturally, to know God. I am compelled since I have given my heart to Him because He has shown me the incredible power of my own sin nature and how much I need His saving grace.


"I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,"


II Corinthians 10:1-5


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."


Philippians 4:8


So, I have made my lists and kicked to the curb the unnecessary distractions that keep me from focusing on what is really important. Our kids only have one childhood.....which means there is one opportunity for their parents to focus on their character development and to prepare them for the mission God has planned for their lives. This takes time, focus, effort and sacrifice, but it also does not have to be done in our own strength or wisdom.


As for some of the other things I am compelled to do in this life......well, I am compelled to give thanks to my Creator through the lens of my camera, to pull my car over and take a minute to "smell the roses" and bask in the beauty of the creation surrounding me, so I leave you with these little point and shoot pictures of gratitude.


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