continued from Act II: Slow Down- Running Together
God designed relationships, God designed marriage, and God designed family. God did not design the hectic pace of the rat race. We did! One thing we are guilty of in North American culture is being too busy. In Too Busy Not to Pray, Bill Hybels writes:
“the archenemy of spiritual authenticity is busyness.”
If busyness is our spiritual enemy, I would echo that busyness is also the enemy of authentic family relationships. In Secrets of Your Family Tree, Alice Brawand, a counselor to pastors and missionaries at Wycliffe International Headquarters, points out this idea of busyness as the root issue to dysfunction. She writes, the family in ministry has an
“Endless living in the fastlane- the pattern of ceaseless activity, constantly being on the go, and cultivating experiences of great exhilaration and great exhaustion…”
We are so busy today! We spend all of who we are with other people, or other things, rather than spending time with the people closest to us. The people closest to us get the leftovers, the crumbs, and the stuff that we wouldn’t want to give away. We are flowing with the culture rather than countering the culture. We are creating families that exceed the speed limit. I would like to suggest that if we are going to change the direction families are heading, we need to slow down and be with our family.
If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 The Message
There are three challenging and stimulating words in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 that resonate with me: leader, committed, and attentive. When I begin to look at them and apply them, the last thing that comes to mind is fast and busy. Have you ever tried to lead in a hurry or listen in a rushed state?
Leadership requires time; commitment requires responsibility; and being attentive does not happen in a state of busy-ness. The words leader, committed, and attentive should inspire us, not hinder us. Yet if our personal family experience was one where negative belief systems were shaped, these words probably not only hinder us, but frighten us.
I would like to suggest that we can be people who lead from our experience, are committed in our experience, and are attentive in our experience. Our personal family of origin experience does not need to slow us down in the race, but if we are diligent and patient, and willing to discover
who we are and what God wants to do with our experience, I believe we can be people with a rich experience that speaks to our culture and speaks to our families. By doing so, we will slow down and be with our family.