Monday, October 15, 2012

Who's On First?

So. Whenever I hear somebody get all swoony and say, "Oh! Family is everything," I always think, "Uh, no. It's not. Jesus is everything. Family is simply important."

What can happen when you believe family is everything?

Well, you can crumble when Aunt Matilda says, "Would you like me to teach you how to decorate, Dear? You just don't seem to have the knack." Then you wonder if everybody who steps through your door thinks your decorating sense is, well, nonsense.

If Grandpa Joe tells you, "If you vote for ________, our economy and our whole Country will crash and burn," you can begin to doubt your decisions, any of them Past, Present and Future, especially if six of your relatives tell you six different ways to think/vote/believe/eat/part your hair. 

If family is everything, they can talk you into marrying the wrong person, buying a house that's right for them (but all wrong for you), sending your kids to a school they will hate or advising you to raise them in ways contrary to your own common sense. 

If family is everything--if they reject you--you can feel unaccepted by the whole world. When they die, your heart, your vitality, can die along with theirs.

If family is everything, the controllers can control you and pooh-pooh the will of God for your life, causing you to reach Heaven after having lived somebody else's life down here.

And who wants that?

Of course, sometimes family gets it right. Yes! Sometimes God does speak through them when He's not been able to get through the Stubborn Wall in our head. 

But what He prefers?

That we love Him more than anyone else, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  That we recognize His voice as a sheep knows his master's. That we remain mentally healthy--not confused--and that His Word becomes the final one, the word we follow, the one we obey, even if He's leading us up different trails than our relatives. 

And this is just a personal thing, ok? But I believe we should voice clear boundaries with relatives--which parts of our own life we will discuss and which parts we will not. Especially if previous conversations crushed us so low that we could no longer set our minds upon true, noble, lovely and pure things as Phillipians 4 instructs us. Sometimes we just need to say no.

God insists that we take care of our family, yes! That's big. But Jesus also said that His family is made up of those who do the will of His Father and I believe He asks that we, too, broaden the scope of our conception of family and freely welcome all those 'God's-will-doers', as well. 

God's love which pours from us is more than enough to include everyone on the planet--as long as, truly, God remains first within our own heart. As long as He, alone, means everything.


 "He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”   ... Luke 10:27

"He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said,“Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  ... Matthew 12:48-50

"Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work".  ... John 4:34


I've updated my Autumn Around Here blog in case you'd like to see more autumn photos. You'll find them here.


 "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety."   ... George Mueller



Mary said...

I also think that, as I get older, I "choose" my family. There are those friends I call first in crisis. Those I want by my side in times of trouble, and they are not always related to me. They are a gift from God.

Elizabeth said...

Very well said Debra!

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world so many things would be different. And for some, I do think families are everything GOD meant for them to be. They are indeed blessed. The rest of us have to live a bit differently. But it can still be great. Hubby, now retired, and I are going onto a new life now, doing things quite differently from the past. We think this train ride will be interesting and fun (tis already actually, tho we are still finishing up our move and paredown...but approaching the finish line)! Time to board that train!!
Elizabeth in NC (for a few more days)