There's a phrase that's been going around our home lately:
"Your actions show what's important to you."
Because it's not just what you say, but what you do. I find myself saying to the kids:
If you are repentant, you turn from your sin.
If you love someone, you act in a way that is loving.
If you desire to know Christ, spend time with Him.
It's not just for the kids, though...it's for me, too.
If I want a clean home, I need to clean it.
If I want meaningful time with my kids, I need to talk and play with them.
If I want to nurture my relationship with my husband, I can shut down the computer for the night and spend time with him.
And so, this week I did. All that.
Rather than talk about all that I wanted for my family and in my home, and complaining about how it's not the way I hope for it to be, I worked to pursue those desires through action. I showed my kids what is important to me by setting the example. Simple, right? Basic...and yet, what a principle I so often overlook.
...I cleaned my house and fed my family lavishly. I baked muffins and spent hours talking to my 10 year old about girls and the maze that is middle school emotions. I cleaned up all the toys, socks, scraps, and screws, and chose to bless and not gripe. I used a gentle voice where impatience usually resides, and served my family when I would usually have waited to be served. I embraced the lengthy hours of homeschooling, rather than giving up in mind and attitude. I quieted the noise of the internet and the demands of the phone, and simply showed my family what's important to me. I did it because I wanted to stop complaining and start serving. More. Better. Sacrificially.
And to my surprise, they followed my lead.
They wanted to put away the mess so it could feel the way Mama made it feel. They complained less and did more. They spoke more kindly and forgave more quickly. They noticed what the family needed more than what they wanted individually.
No one was guilting each other to step it up. We just did. Because someone else was showing us how. When we do it to honor Him, the hands follow the heart.
It's not that I've never served them before. Or that I've never cleaned the house or baked muffins. :) It's not that they always respond faithfully to example. It's that when I do, and they do--it's a beautiful thing.
It's a gift of grace at work. It's a reminder to not give up, and to press on, to be the action behind what you truly hold dear.
We love because he first loved us. -1 John 4:19