Fight For Intentional Time With Your Children
It was the end of a long, productive day. I had accomplished everything on my to-do list and was feeling quite satisfied with my accomplishments.
As I walked past my 2-year old’s room, I noticed him playing by himself, and a deep sense of sorrow came over me. I had not spent time with him that day. I mean, I had cared for his needs, but not spent any real time loving or enjoying him. How could I have gone all day without taking a moment to play with him, love on him, or even just read him a book?
I quickly reasoned my concerns away in light of my busy day. After all, I had cleaned the entire house, done the laundry, prepared for a small group, and made dinner. Plus, there is always tomorrow. I will be much less busy then so I can spend time with him tomorrow. As I turned around and headed towards my next task, I began listing all the things I had done and thanking God for helping me complete them. Suddenly God interrupted me. He spoke very clearly and intently as He said: “I already sacrificed my son. I don’t need you to sacrifice yours.”
I nearly fell to the floor! I was devastated. Hadn’t God called me to be faithful in the small things? I had accomplished all the small things that I felt were important for that day, everything that I felt needed to be done. But God wasn’t pleased with my sacrifice. God never called me to sacrifice time with my son so my to-do list could get done.
Soon after that day, I came across Psalm 127:3, which informs us that “children are a gift from God, a reward from Him.” When God brought me to this verse, it nearly floored me again. Children are a reward from God? So, God gave me a reward, an amazing gift, and how often do I not appreciate it? How often do I push it aside for something I deem more important? How often do I get frustrated with this precious gift because I have chosen to overextend myself in other areas?
None of us mean to do this, but we get so used to everyone else dictating what we should do with our time or what we should place importance on, that we lose sight of what really is important. If we are not careful, we will allow our lives to be planned out for us through the activities and demands placed on us by others. Before we know it, our children will be older, and we will be left wondering where the time went. Did we leverage the time God gave us with them to ensure they knew how much they are loved, to impart the wisdom we have to them, and to train them to live a life devoted to God?
This is never more of a problem than when they are little. How could building a cave and pretending to be a bear be more important than keeping my house spotless or taking this phone call from a friend? When they are so little, it is so easy to miss the importance of the little things that they need. But God’s view of what is important is much different than ours.
In the busy world we live in, we must actively fight for intentional time with our children. We must actively fight for our calling as parents to remain the primary focus in our daily lives, only under our relationship with God and our spouse. We must fight for rest in our calling as parents, understanding that getting everything done can often mean neglecting the most important things. We must be intentional in our decisions about where to spend our time and where to allow our children to spend theirs. We must recognize the season we are in, celebrate it, accept it, rest in it, and enjoy the rewards of it.
I guess the question we should ask ourselves is “What do I consider the small things?” What small, seemingly insignificant tasks do I consider so unworthy of my time that it no longer even makes it on my to-do list? Is it reading a book with my child, playing princess, getting down in the dirt to dig for treasure, or cuddling while we watch their favorite movie for the 40th time this week? Perhaps good relationships with our children, our spouses, our family, even our friends are built on the small, seemingly insignificant things, the little, everyday things. Maybe life as a whole is not about the “doing”, but instead about the “being”.
Let’s not let these precious rewards from God slip through our hands while we are so busy “doing” what we feel needs to be done. Let’s instead make a commitment to “be” in the season God has placed us in, to be intentional about quality time, to be their parent, and to be available for them.
Lord, forgive me for taking the precious reward of my children for granted. Holy Spirit, help me to rest in my calling as a parent, to rest in this season, and to release anything that competes with Your plan for our family. Let me see my children and this time that you have given us as the invaluable gift that it is, and help me to steward it well. I thank you for this new passion, focus, and strength in life, in Jesus name.
Special thanks to Lori Thomas for the guest blog. You are an amazing woman of God. Thanks for loving me and other moms like you do!