Referencing my post from this past Monday, I’m sure many of you were asking, “Who has time to smell the roses?”. In our fast paced world, it is difficult to find time. In fact, satan would like nothing more than to keep us busy every single day so that we do not ever have a moment to experience God and His blessings. If he can distract us, then he can strip us of our joy, our witness, our families, and ultimately our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I, for one, am not going to give him the satisfaction! Every moment can be a teachable moment. I don’t want my children’s relationship with God to consist of a weekly visit to church. I don’t want them to have to find time to fit God into their busy schedule. It should be the opposite-they need to their busy schedule into their life with God. It may be difficult to make a drastic change in our lives, but we can take one step at a time to experience God more in our daily lives and the life of our family.
- Give God first priority. I know it is difficult to drag ourselves out of bed earlier, but we have to start our day with God. You’re probably thinking you need your sleep, and I’m sure you do. I am a bear if I don’t get 7-8 hours of sleep. However, I have found God is so very faithful. If I get up early in the morning and give up some of my precious sleep time so that I can communicate with the Lord in prayer and by reading His Word, He is faithful to keep His promises to me. He refreshes and energizes me more than sleep ever could. It also gives me lots of ammunition against the enemy. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT.
- Read the Bible and pray with your children. Teach them how to apply God’s Word. Seek Bible studies and family devotionals as guides.
- Follow a routine. Our days with our children are too busy to live floundering about. If we have a routine, we can have a guide for how we would like our day to go. We don’t have to strictly follow the routine, but we can use it as a guide. Children need stability and routine. They will be less likely to have meltdowns if they know what to expect throughout the day. They may not always like or want to do what is on the schedule at first, but they will adust to the routine. At the end of the day, you want to be able to say you have done something to glorify God and build His Kingdom.
- Limit time on tv, internet, and video games. We’re fooling ourselves if we believe we are doing a good job guarding our children from the evils of this world if we allow them unlimited access to television, internet, video games, etc. Even if our children are old enough to know what not to look at, they can still be accidently exposed to something evil even for a brief moment. Repeated instances like this makes our children less sensitive to what is not acceptable. They begin to think it’s not a big deal and they are wrong. It is a big deal to God! “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. If our children are absorbing the things of this world through tv and the internet, they are keeping bad company. They may not cause a big stink when you begin to limit these activities, but it is better for us to watch them have some tantrums now than for us to deal with what this media is doing to their spirits later. It is not our jobs to do whatever it takes to make them “happy” in the moment. It is our job to do whatever it takes to save their souls!
- Volunteer. Teach your children how to volunteer by taking them to a homeless shelter, food pantry, hospital, nursing home, children’s home, etc. Let them experience the blessing of helping others and the spiritual rewards they will receive. They’ll also realize how truly blessed they are!
- Take walks with your children. Show them God’s wonder and creation all around them. Talk to them about why it’s important to enjoy the outdoors and also to exercise their bodies so they can serve others and God.
- Bring the outdoors inside. Use flowers, photos, artwork, television shows, music, etc. that exhibit and display God and His creation. If it doesn’t glorify God, then don’t utilize it or allow it into your home. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT.
- Make time to play wholesome board games and other activities that bring laughter and fun into your home and allow you to relate with each other.
- God is connected to every aspect of our lives. If you are seeking Him with all of your heart, it is easy to see Him in many circumstances. Times when He has protected you on the road, healed a boo boo or illness, provided financially, etc, share these with your children.
- Discipline and manners. When disciplining your children, use God’s Word as the basis for the rules of your home. You can use your concordance or bibically-based parenting books that categorize it for you as a guide. One very organized guide I use besides my concordance is Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel. She organizes the book into categories of typical misbehaviors in a home and then “tool boxes” to help parents creatively correct the problem. She references scripture and also includes a section of prayers your children can pray. When we teach our children good manners, we are teaching them to be respectful of others and put their feelings first. We are also providing a pleasant witness for others. Ultimately your children will learn invaluable disciplines that will eliminate some of the arguments and problems in the home. This leads to more enjoyment of your family and more time to experience God’s roses.
- Healthy eating habits. We need to be sure that our children are eating food God created, not food created or processed in a test tube in some chemical lab somewhere. Take them to farms, grow your own small garden, etc. Show them whole food God created for them to eat and allow them to smell, taste, touch, and even help you cook with them. Expose them to it more than just once. Even if they never like broccoli, they will still learn it is healthy and they can say they’ve tried it. We also need to be sure they eating in moderation. We want to teach them to be grateful for the food God has given them and to eat proper portion sizes to practice responsible consumption, not glutony or waste. We also need to be sure they aren’t raiding the pantry every hour, which will help them learn to eat when their body needs fuel not just when they have a craving or they are bored. Teach them to rely on God to fill their needs instead of food.
- Chores. You can teach your children about serving God and others by doing simple chores around the house. Show them what it would be like if no one washed the laundry or cooked dinner. Praise them when they help with the chores. Show them how very much they blessed you and you appreciate it! You could even reward them with allowance. I would suggest you do not pay them for taking care of their own responsibilities and also give them chores that benefit the whole family, and that their reward for those be the simple joy of serving. Then give them extra chores like pulling weeds, sweeping the porch, etc. for which they can earn allowance. Then show them how to tithe and save using principles of the Bible. They will be blessed and will enjoy blessing others.
I know what you are thinking, some of these items don’t have anything to do with taking time to smell the roses. Maybe they don’t in the world’s point of view, but I believe they all have a kingdom focus, which brings us closer to God and experience Him more. In all of these instances, we are taking the moments of our day away from satan and giving them to God for His purpose. We will feel better physically and spiritually. We will smell the sweet aroma of His presence like that of sweet roses. We will experience blessings pouring down on us like silky rose petals. We will begin to see Him in everything, everywhere, and that is more precious than any earthly rose. The Rose of Sharon is the most beautiful, extraordinary, and valuable rose of all!