My day started long before my kids awoke.
When they stumbled down the stairs in search of breakfast, I was meeting with someone at the kitchen table, notepads out, laptops open. I asked my kiddos if they slept well and then pointed them toward a do-it-yourself breakfast.
I returned to my meeting for the next hour and they got ready for the day and entertained themselves upstairs.
The rest of the day looked much the same—a Skype session in Kenya and a Fair Trade Friday planning meeting. I was busy and they kept themselves busy with library books, Legos, laundry and Minecraft.
Thankfully, I have a flexible schedule. This isn’t my everyday, but it’s often because I work from home.
At one point, I had a pang of guilt at my busy day, even though most of it was built around serving others. I remembered the countless summer days in the past where we spent most days doing something fun—either crafting or at the local pool with snow cone breaks and day trips in-between.
Of course, we still have those days.
But something amazing happened when we transitioned from a child-centered home to an others-centered one with Jesus as our focus: My kids stopped demanding that every day, every moment, be about them, for them.
I did, too.
My husband led Bible Study a couple of weeks ago for families in our weekly House Church. I cringed when he described how we spent the first 15 years to ourselves. We rarely invited people over to our house. We rarely reached out to others. Everything was about us. It wasn’t all bad either—we did devotions with our kids, attended church regularly, led a safe and comfortable life. But it was missing something.
We served only ourselves.
But when we refocused our home and made Christ the center, it changed everything.
A normal day now might include rolling yarn balls during movie time that we will pass out to the refugee class we serve at on Fridays. That’s not to say we don’t have idle hours and leisure days—we do. They are a must!
But I don’t think we realized how often we served ourselves until we began serving others. It’s hard to do both—put yourself or even your family first when you’re putting someone else’s needs before your own.
Serving has changed our family. It has turned us right-side up.
We are still a messy family. But I’m learning every day that “God wants us right in the middle of our mess because it’s the perfect place for Him to shine through our imperfections.” Rhinestone Jesus.
Four Things Serving Will Do for Your Family:
- Serving will reveal our family’s ingratitude—Yeah, yikes, huh? Nothing has exposed our humanity and self-centered ways more than serving others. There have been many instances when we just didn’t want to put others before ourselves. There has been grumbling and complaining in the midst of serving. It’s revealed selfishness in my family. But we can’t improve without realizing first how hard serving actually is.
- Serving will get our eyes off yourselves—It’s harder to be selfish and only think about ourselves when we are exposed to those who have less and need more, it’s changes our perspective. A change of perspective is one of the best gifts we can offer our families.
- Serving will ignite compassion for others—Even if we don’t see it immediately, serving changes our family. We can’t always see growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. When we make serving a part of our regular lives, it can’t help but change us.
- Serving will renew our family’s gratitude—Just as serving brings out our ingratitude at times, it also give us an opportunity for gratitude. It feels good to give to others and reminds us of the blessings in our lives.