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Healthy Family Rhythms Sound Great, But How Do We Do It?

By October 27, 2014Family on Mission, Mission

Brian SpahrThis is a guest post from Brian Spahr, lead pastor at Come2Go Ministries in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and part of our Hub there. It originally appeared on his family blog.

What does rest look like in a busy world?

Over the last few weeks we have been talking about rhythm. If you missed the previous posts, you can check them out here, and here.  Living in a healthy rhythm between work and rest is one of our primary family values and essential to our life as family on mission.

But how do we do it? What does it look like?

First, take a deep breath. Be under no delusion that we have it all figured out. We don’t. Our family on mission is a work in progress too, but we are learning some things worth sharing along the way. Like most things worth doing, there is no magic formula. There are some ways all families can take steps toward a healthy rhythm. Here are four questions you can ask your family to help get started:

  • What can we stop?
  • What can we simplify?
  • What can we systematize?
  • What can we share?

Let’s take a look at each of these questions.

What can we stop?

This is a bold question, worthy of a bold response. Most of us are doing way too much. Kids go from activity to activity. Adults go from meeting to meeting. We start work early and finish late and can still feel like we aren’t getting everything done.

Guess what? You can’t do everything. No one can. But before you pull the kids out of every after-school activity, or quit your job, slow down just a minute. Bold moves are fine, but they often hurt and are difficult to sustain. An axiom we have adopted is,

Revolutionary change at an evolutionary pace.

Maybe a bold move is necessary. But first ask, Is there a step (or several) you can take over time to evolve your way into a revolutionary change of lifestyle?

What can we simplify?

Part of our family rhythm includes reading scripture and praying together every day. It is an expression of faith as one of our family values. We’ve tried all kinds of plans and programs. When we first started we were doing crafts and singing worship songs. It was all well and good, but difficult to sustain. It often ended creating more frustration than faith.

Now we have adopted a simple, predictable pattern in our daily rhythm.

  • In the morning we READ a short Bible story or a few verses together, talk about our hopes for the day, and pray the Lord’s Prayer together.
  • Then, at the end of the day we SHARE highs and lows,
  • TALK about those highs and lows a bit. Sometimes we connect them back to the scripture we read earlier that day.
  • We PRAY for one another.
  • Then we BLESS each other. We make the sing of the cross on each other’s foreheads and say, “Jesus loves you and so do I!”

It is a simple pattern for sure. It is also one bearing much fruit in or faith life together.

What can we systemetize?

We love to eat. I love to cook. That usually makes for a pretty good combination.

The problem is, I often don’t get home from work until right around supper time. Many days I would fly in the house and start cooking right away. The kids would want to play, and so did I, but they were also hungry and I was the cook. By the time we finished supper it was their bath time. Once they finished bath there wasn’t much time left before bed.

Bottom line, cooking was in the way of spending time with my kids. We have to eat, so we systemized a few things to live in a better rhythm. Here’s what we do:

  1. I still plan the menu for the week, but I do so in a way that only one day is a high prep day. I plan meals later in the week that use a component from an earlier meal (i.e. when I grill chicken, I grill enough for 2-3 meals).
  2. Michelle cooks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays are for tacos! There are countless ways to do tacos. We love them. The kids will eat them. So we make them. Thursday is usually something prepped earlier in the week.
  3. Also, Friday is homemade pizza night. I make enough dough for 3 weeks at a time in one shot.
  4. Wednesdays are crockpot meals. I often have evening commitments on Wednesdays, Michelle has a late afternoon meeting. We throw 5 ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and supper is done.
  5. Saturdays we eat leftovers.
  6. Sunday we share a meal with our friends. Everyone brings something and we always have more than enough.

This might seem trivial, but creating and following this simple system each week has made a big difference for us in sustaining a healthy rhythm.

What can we share?

We value relationships, so we are always inviting people over. Our Sunday afternoon gatherings with friends could be high-maintenance and detrimental to our rhythm.

But it’s not, because we share the load. We do simple meals and everyone brings something to share. Everyone also helps clean up. Sometimes we don’t even have to ask for help. The kids often find a way to get every toy we own out and leave it on the floor in the basement.

Before everyone leaves the basement gets cleaned up and toys put away. These gatherings could be exhausting, but more often they are energizing because we share the load.

  • What stirs in you as you think through your family rhythms?
  • What is God saying to you as your reflect on and discuss this with each other?
  • What is a way you can take a step towards a healthy family rhythm, beginning even this week?

Family on Mission Small Group Discussion GuideP.S. Our new Family on Mission Small Group Discussion Guide is now available for purchase in our online bookstore!

The Family on Mission Small Group Discussion Guide is an easy-to-use, off-the-shelf resource to help your small group process the content in Mike and Sally Breen’s book Family on Mission. Includes discussion questions, group activities, and weekly assignments to keep your group moving toward becoming a family on mission.

The first 200 copies are available for a special introductory price of $7, ($9 normally), so click here to pick up copies for your small group today!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

4 Comments

  • Gary and Lee Muncie says:

    Thank you Pastor and Brother Brian and Sister Michelle for setting such good examples to all of us in community at c2g ! Revolutionary change at an evolutionary pace! That’s really good counsel 🙂

  • Roberta Phillips says:

    Thank you for such simple ways to implant God’s word in the life of my family. Before I was invited into this I was praying for a way to unite my family life with my faith in God. I’ve tried a lot of things but your plan displayed here seem simple enough to implement. I never thought about dividing it up this way! Thank you for being obedient to God and sharing your ideas here! I’m excited to see how this will help my family grow closer together with God in the center focus!!!

  • Ana Irby says:

    Thanks for the snapshots on each question to show a working example!

    “What can we stop?” Is the question that stuck out most to me and my husband. That question is challenging and a breath of fresh air simultaneously.

  • Tim says:

    The s’s compliment a similar article in finding meaning in family by dropping the armor in favor of five smooth stones.

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