I should be a minimalist. After all, about once a week, I imagine how liberating it would feel to pack up 90% of all my kids’ toys, and sling them out of the second floor window of my home. Clutter free carpet. Beds that have nothing underneath them. Kitchen islands that are only for preparing food.
I’m not willing to put the necessary “energy” in to becoming a minimalist. I would LOVE it, but…in this particular area of life…I’m way too chill. Grandparents ARE going to say “yes” to the things I would have given a big, fat “no.” I AM going to bribe kids with whatever works to get whatever to work. #dontjudge
I’m not mean enough to accumulate an “appropriate” amount of “stuff.” Kate (Madelyn’s BFF) just gave her the most awesome, mind blowing, precious, tiny, fuzzy, most amazing miniature dog figurine in the world. We currently have 14 tiny, fuzzy little dogs. Why did I let one fuzzy dog turn into three litters? I don’t know. I guess I’m just glad she has a friend that adores her enough to share fuzzy dogs?
Life is messy. Two weeks ago, I told my kids that if they memorized the Old Testament books, that I would clean their rooms. Who knew that “someone else cleaning your room” was the secret to life? I felt like a rock star…cause my kids did Jesusy stuff outside of Sunday school. Obviously…my kids were thrilled. Less than 24 hours later, one child had completely destroyed her room. I don’t need to explain how I reacted. You know. “Parenting” at expense of my entire family’s sanity is obviously backwards/broken. #noyoucanthaveatoy #stopasking #pickthatup #nomoresugar #stopleavingthisthere #cleanupyourroom #CLEANUPYOURROOM #runawaycrying
If you are a Christian parent, you are a children’s minister. #rocketscience At church, I can get pretty sassy about this concept: While the average church attendee doesn’t want to be surrounded by whiny, spoiled, messy monsters, I’m not trying to help adults be more comfortable with kids. I’m trying to show kids that God is real, and that he makes things different. But, as you can imagine, it kinda hurts my feelings to
admit type this: I would be a lot more comfortable with my home life if my kids would just do what I told them to do. Christian parenting is not about making comfortable adults.
Here’s what Richard Foster says in his book, “Celebration of Discipline:”
The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style.
To attempt to arrange an outward life-style of simplicity without the inward reality leads to deadly legalism.
Insert celebration dance here. I’m okay! Trying to keep my kids/car/house/Friday folders/life in order is not simply a force of will that I’m failing at. So, Amber, chill out…but don’t check out:
My life is not simple. My mind can be.
How do I create in myself and my children an “inward reality” that is simple? (aka…not materialistic, messy monsters)
Separation: an exercise in fasting
What would you do with your next two hours if you didn’t have any stuff? My first thought…take a nap! Second thoughts…yoga, go on a walk, have a conversation with a friend, etc. Try spending some time each week with your family…without your stuff. Don’t talk about it. They will think it’s punishment. 🙂 Just do the creative work to make it a positive experience.
Connection: an exercise in meditation
Have you ever meditated? I know people who think it’s totally stupid, but for me, a recovering over-thinker, meditation is a nap for my never ending stream of questions/critiques/observations. Meditation, however, is not about separation. I’d drive myself crazy trying not to think. It is about connecting to something. I “connect” to different things in meditation. I start with my breath…then usually add some sort of stretching into it. However, I always end with submission to the reality of God. He is good. He is smart. He is strong. He is the only presence from which I cannot separate. Here’s what God says about himself in Isaiah 55:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Connection to a God that is so big and high can seem like an impossible task for us humans. That’s because it is. Connection to God is less about doing something…and more about the desire to submit to things you cannot see or understand.
Teach kids that being a Christian makes you different. Teach them that God does not go in to our human categories. He’s not a special day of the week. He is not one of your [many] check boxes. When everything is a flipping, hot mess, he is God. When everything is cleaned up and organized, he is God. When my kid destroys a room that I just cleaned up, I can separate from my stuff, my kids’ stuff, my life, my kids and clearly see my constant connection to God. Do it…just you and him…for a moment. It is from that place that your children will see and learn about
not being materialistic, messy monsters your inward simplicity. Not from a clean house.
Now…I’m getting off this stupid computer to go clean my house! 🙂