Family Rules

If you ever feel stressed, a bit cranky, or as though you’ve been hit by a bus, this blog post is for you.

Family RulesIt was the last day of school, and my son Jon cheered with delight on our drive home. Outwardly, I applauded him for his learning and growth; inwardly, I felt . . . well, as though I’d been hit by a bus, which often tumbles me into being testy and short-tempered.

Reason being, my son with special needs goes to a great school for kids with learning differences. The staff and teachers carefully plan the students’ entire school-day schedule.

No stress.

But when summer rolls around, the thoroughly planned daily/weekly agenda falls on the shoulders of parents and caregivers . . . which brings lots of stress. In addition to the busy lives we all live, Jon’s school-day schedule was not finished, and the ol’ capricious state of anxious worry began to rise within me. I don’t know about you, but stress and I don’t do well together. I become cranky, the kids scatter, and even the dogs keep their distance.

A few days later, things were quiet around the house, and I noticed a “Family Rules” plaque which hangs close to the entrance of our home. How easy it is to miss valuable advice when tension fills our heads and worry floods our hearts.

Tired of myself and tired of being tired, I pondered each rule and asked myself some questions.

  • Was I choosing to be kind, thankful, patient, and polite?
  • How was my attitude . . . grateful or complaining?
  • How were my manners with others . . . thoughtful by saying please and thank you?
  • Were my responses to others loving, forgiving, honest, and kind?
  • Finally, was I praying and in communion with the Lord?

Notice that the “Say Your Prayers” rule appears at the center of the plaque.

I didn’t pass with flying colors.

What Was Christ’s Attitude?

Christ encountered more pressure, pain, and hardship than anyone who has walked the earth.

Called to walk among us and sacrifice His life that we might have the hope of eternal life, no one can have more reasons than He did to be stressed out. But was Jesus ever stressed out? The four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—provide a close-up view of how Christ lived His life.

The picture is multicolored. Christ received death threats beginning just after His birth, unfair judging, ridiculous insults, discrimination, and relentless questions by the pathetically proud. All the while, He loved His enemies, cared for the downtrodden, healed the sick, opened His arms to the undeserving, listened to those in pain, responded to many in need, and lived peacefully in the midst of it all.

Never was Christ portrayed as losing his wits, frazzled with pressures, jittery with anxiety, hassled or worried—even though God’s plan for His life was far beyond the worries of our own modern-day daily schedules and planned summer events.

Help from God’s Word

So what can we learn about living out a few of the “Family Rules” in spite of our circumstances? How do we remain calm when storms hit, when sorrow spills, or when life isn’t as we planned it to be?

The answer is found in the gospels . . . weaved within the words and chapters, we see a model of one who consistently communed with the Father. He was obedient unto death, focused on His call, and dependent on God in ALL THINGS.

  • Luke 24:49 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is present, willing to fill us with all strength.
  • John 14:1–16:15 promises the Holy Spirit is our advocate, present to encourage, instruct, and strengthen us.
  • Finally, John 15:4 offers the final answer—or “rule” shall we say: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (NLT).

Let Me Hear from You

Christ, our ever present strength, our unconditionally loving and kind and forgiving Lord is waiting for you to reach out and rest in His calm hands. And how do you get there? Always remember to “say your prayers.”

Questions:

  • Have you broken away from the Vine?
  • How is your connection to Christ’s life-giving strength?
  • Does the love of Christ flow through you?
  • How are you doing with some of the “Family Rules”?
  • Better yet, how would your family say you are doing?

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