“Nobody listens to me!”
“I’m bored. We never do anything fun!”
“You’re bothering me. Go away.”
“You’re all being annoying. I’m leaving.”
These four sentences could be said at any time by any person who lives in my house. As a group, we can get along fairly well, but not always. Individual needs sometimes take center stage, to the detriment of our relationships. And to the peace.
The facts are that
We do listen to each other.
We do fun things.
We want to spend time together.
We love each other.
But sometimes, we can only see one way. When irritated, our irritations become too much of a nuisance and cloud our judgment. We only see a part of the picture, and we don’t like what we see. We feel put upon, harassed, misunderstood.
And we pout, blame, and push each other away.
I feel like this is normal, that all families bicker and complain and get on each other’s nerves. We are all human, after all. Just because we normally enjoy each other’s company, we also all have feelings and get hurt and offended. We voice our displeasure and use words to hurt.
We all want our way at the same time. But this is ridiculous. A family can’t be pushed and pulled in four separate ways and still function properly.
The Bible is filled with instructions on how to live life. If you have a problem with someone, go to that person and have it out with them (Matthew 18:15). Watch what you say; it affects your reputation (Proverbs 11:12). Do the work that you were asked to do without complaining (Colossians 3:23). The book of Proverbs contains wisdom from King Solomon, the wisest person in the land. Jesus’ ministry focused on the right way to live life. Paul continued his ministry across the world to teach new Christians how to keep the faith in spite of obstacles. Modern Christians read the Bible and go to church to learn how to do life according to his will, to spread the gospel in ways that make sense in our time and in our lives. Through all of this, we learn God’s will, his way.
Sometimes I follow God’s path and I’m pretty good at being a model Christian. Other times, I veer off and crash, hard. But then I remember.
God is bigger than me, than all of us. He’s so much bigger than our biggest accomplishments and even our most devastating failures. We need him in our lives to right us when we fall. Only he can guide us with any kind of success through this world. Often I need to know my place and see that I am not in the center, that I am not in control, that I don’t have all the answers. It is humbling and freeing to know that God is in control, that despite my desires for order and my way, his way will prevail. Just as children crave structure and the safety of a secure and loving home as a landing place, so do we seek the loving, capable arms of God.
God is more than enough, despite what we can see. –Shelly Beach
When my family members and I assert our will upon each other, we experience conflict. We are a microcosm of what is going on in the entire world – everyone battling for his or her own way. When I disengage from the fight and the chaos and see God’s way, peace floods my heart and mind. I may not be able to see clearly how his way will lead, but I trust that he has the answers, that he is in control, that he is the center.