Most of you reading this are experiencing life in full bloom. Nearly all of you are married and have children at various stages of development; some of you are expecting little ones to be added to your nest and others have launched their chickadees and are enjoying grandparenthood. All of you are growing in spiritual maturity, all of you are participating in ministry, and many of you are leading.
Nonetheless, busyness and complacency are two little foxes who will threaten your vineyard -your life, your home/family, and your ministry – and bring it to destruction if you don’t trap them.
Sneaky Fox #1 – Busyness
If Satan can’t make you sin, he will make you busy. He will especially rejoice in making you busy doing good things. I’m going to suggest two important barriers you need to establish to keep this fox out of reach:
1. Commit to gathering regularly for family meals.
2. Mark days off on your calendar for your personal “Sabbath.” Don’t add anything on those days and instead be intentional about stopping to shut off the noisy world, and tune in to what God is telling you. (I trace the square representing these dates on my calendar with a highlighter. My family knows … this is a “pink” day for Mom, don’t even ask her if you can do something that requires transportation.)
Sneaky Fox #2 – Negativity
Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD, a clinical neuroscientist wrote in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, “Your brain is the hardware of your soul.”
Philippians 4:8 says, Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
This is important to remember because whether you choose to think positively or negatively (and it IS a choice), your thoughts will most likely be reflected in your words and actions, which will become your habits, which will speak volumes about your character. Christ did not have a negative character and HIS character is what we are supposed to reflect.
How might you trap this little fox?
1. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” In other words, assume the best about people and strive to make your communication complimentary and uplifting. (Does this mean that even in leadership you must never discuss difficult situations — messy people? No. There IS a time to have these discussions, because it might indicate that a fellow sister-in-the-Lord may not be operating under the authority of God and may need you to come alongside her. Let’s talk more about this next month.)
2. Ask questions. I find that often when someone is speaking negatively it’s because they don’t have enough information about a situation or they have made wrong assumptions or been misinformed. When you seek information, you outsmart sneaky fox #2.