I have had to say no to a lot of things over the last nine years. I am a creative/dreamer/deep thinker type and I always have new ideas and dreams springing up everywhere. Almost every day, something excites me and sends me down a path of longing for knowledge, understanding, and experience. I can get carried away quite easily. At times things have attracted me so much that I have pulled away from my family in order to pursue them. It was never a good idea.
I then have had to backtrack. I have needed to loosen my grip on something I love (or loosen its grip on me), and instead, choose family.
- I remember discontinuing my Indonesian language lessons with the phrase, “In a few years, the language will still be there. My kids won’t.”
- I remember the day I deleted all my computer bookmarks for photography websites because I knew that during that chapter of my life, I couldn’t add one more hobby or interest.
- I remember the day I asked my friend Steph if she would be interested in full ownership of The Daily Digi. My running the site was interfering with homeschooling.
- I remember the relationships I wasn’t able to pursue because it would involve me leaving my kids behind.
I’ve made choices. Lots of them. Some of the choices have left me lonely and sad and yet, I knew they were right. Jason and I decided a long time back, “When in doubt, choose family.” I can’t tell you the number of times this conscious choice has made an otherwise difficult decision quite easy. When all the other factors are equal and no real answer comes forward, we choose family. When we have to decide between two difficult things, we choose what is best for our family. When we have to figure out what to do, how to spend our money, or ways to spend our free time, we choose family. It isn’t easy and it has often involved personal sacrifice, but it has always been the right choice. Family or money? Family. Family or hobbies? Family. Family or comfort? Family.
And when I say that I choose family, I am not saying I choose to cater to all our wants and desires. When I choose family, I choose what I believe to be best for us. Sometimes what is best is going without so that others can be blessed with our humble offerings.
As parents, we have a high calling. Deuteronomy 6 is a call to parents:
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
How can we teach our children God’s word diligently and talk of if throughout our day if we don’t first choose family? If we don’t consciously and intentionally choose to live a life that will best enable us to love our kids and raise them to wholeheartedly love the Lord and serve others, we aren’t able to pass the baton of the the Word of God to a new generation. But if daily, when we face decisions about our time, money, relationships, school, church, activities and leisure, we look at all of them in light of God’s Word and how best to pass it to the next generation, decisions become much easier and are made with much more wisdom. We first choose family.
That’s what I am thinking about today. I am thinking that I choose them. The manifestation of that choice is looking much different than I thought it would, but the choice remains the same. As we look towards our future and we ponder what life will be like a year from now, there are a lot of scary thoughts threatening to make me anxious and untrusting. But when I stop, and remember the wall that God has called us to (see Nehemiah), then even in the uncertainty I know things will be okay.
I know that when I am in doubt, I need to choose family.