Monday, September 25, 2006

Goals...

What is your goal as a parent? To make sure you child gets into a good college? Or he grows to be a great ballplayer or musician? To ensure she is a benefit to society—loving and serving mankind?
These are all good goals. Worthy. They are the reasons we sit through all those baseball practices and schedule in music lessons. These are dreams we ponder during pregnancy, prioritize during preschool years, and pay for during elementary school, with hopes of payoff when our children reach their teen years.

Our dedication can’t be denied, but the question has to be asked . . . are we hitting the mark? Is all our time, money, effort paying off? If your kids are anywhere under age eighteen these are good questions to ask. And in asking them myself, I came across an answer—sort of.

This is a quote from Oswald Chambers in the devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest.” Chambers is talking about the goals of missionaries in this passage, but I feel as if it’s the same whether you are a missionary, or a parent, or a wife, or a Christian of any sorts:

“The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.” September 23.

Deep, huh? Read it again.

My goal as a mom is to do God’s will. It’s not to make sure my kids get good grades, eat healthy food, or develop good habits. I WILL do all those things, but that is not my goal. My goal is to do the will of my Lord.

For my family, this includes homeschooling. It includes studying the Bible every night with our kids and praying as a family before we go to sleep. It means serving God and children weekly at church. It means opening our home to the orphans and widows (literally).

John and I have come upon God’s will for our family over time. It’s not like we purposely set out a time schedules for our children’s spiritual development and then plotted how to get there. (Although if there was a book that helped parents do that, I’m sure I would have bought it!)

Instead, we have grown in our own walk with the Lord. We daily seek Him in Bible Study and prayer—alone and together. We bring our kids’ needs before the Lord, and we listen to that gentle nudging.

One example is lately I’ve felt God asking me to make it a priority for one-on-one devotional reading with the kids. I’m working that way, and I haven’t arrived (one is on board, with two to go). But it’s on my mind and heart and I’m taking steps that direction.

My goal is to do God’s will. God’s will includes many things, but mainly it’s bringing the eternal into our minds and focusing on what God desires from us, which isn’t much—just our souls, minds, hearts, and hands.

This whole thought may be overwhelming, but remember that knowing God’s will always comes down to one thing: relationship. And when your relationship with Jesus becomes the focus of your day and the joy of your life, it will affect every other relationship you cherish.

Like a love struck teenager, as you think about Jesus during the day, talk to Him, and rejoice in awe of His love for you, you will grown to know His voice. And His voice will be your guide daily . . . hourly. And as you take this path to Jesus’ heart, your children will follow. As you model and mold a relationship with the most important aspect of your life, they will learn how to do the same . . . through you.

Deep, I know. But it’s real and freeing. It’s also much easier to focus on one thing “Jesus” than any ten-point plan for raise godly men and women. Guaranteed.

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