It’s that breaking moment you’ve always heard happens in other people’s lives, but you never expect will arrive at your doorstep. After all, your children won’t ever make bad choices like other people’s kids, right? The infrastructure of your family will never be weakened or compromised like so and so’s family down the street. And then it happens to you. Suddenly, your breath is taken away.
When this happens you find yourself standing at a fork in the road and you’re faced with a decision. Continue on the route we’ve been traveling, or move in a new direction and change.
We were there as a family not that long ago. Kristin and I had to take a hard look at our family. We surveyed our children’s behavior and asked ourselves a lot of why questions when it came to their choices and attitudes. We re-evaluated our priorities personally, and as a family, and contrasted them to what we said our values were.
Truth is, we didn’t liked what we saw. We didn’t like the apathy in our children, or us. We found ourselves unsatisfied with the direction our family was moving. The mis-guided priorities that permeated our family made us sick, to be honest. Through the pain of these realizations, we decided it was time to get up and fight. We drew a line in the sand and decided to reclaim our family. A year and a half later I can safely say that it has been one of the hardest battles we’ve ever fought. It’s unending. It’s taken a lot of desperation and intentionality. We had to get desperate and choose to intentionally engage in the fight for our family’s heart!
We got mad. Really mad at our apathy, staunchness, and lack of direction. We became so ticked off at our situation that we couldn’t rest until we were moving in a different direction. We discovered that when you get mad at your predicament or situation, it leads to change. We refused to allow bad choices to go unchecked. We no longer accepted apathy as a mode of operation amongst us or our children. Our anger toward it brought an end to it!
We realized pretty quickly that getting mad does absolutely no good unless you’re willing to change direction. If you become angry over your situation but continue to walk the same direction, all you do is waste emotion. We’ve been guilty of this so much in the past. We’ve talked about changing our direction. We’ve even intended to walk a new direction. But intentions mean nothing unless they’re backed up with action.
Andy Stanley, senior pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, says this: “Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.”
For our family, it meant changing the way we carried out our days. We realized that we were permitting our children to spend a lot of time online or watching TV. This had to change. New boundaries needed to be established. We discovered that we were not dialed in as parents to some of the smaller, easily missed, needs of some of our children. We had to change direction.
Charge the hill of your family’s heart.
Once we were made enough and moving in a new direction, it was time to storm the hill and reclaim our family’s heart. We looked our children square in the face and told them, “I love you enough to put a stop to this!” “I love you so much that I am not giving up on you and I am going to be there for you no matter what!”
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to fight for your heart!” These moments were gut-wrenching at times. In fact, they nearly took the life out of us. Some of our children resisted or complained but we kept fighting. Again, we’re still fighting. Choosing to fight for the heart of your family is not a one-time event. It’s a lifetime event.
This was the hardest thing to do, but we had to. We realized that it was easy to expect our children to change, but a whole different thing for us to change. For our children to change direction, however, we had to change direction and model what we were expecting for our children.
We realized that it was easy to expect our children to change, but a whole different thing for us to change.
We learned a lot from this experience. At the end of the day, this is about growth and growth is hard. It’s never easy to go to the gym and begin getting in shape for the first time after years of no exercise. It’s painful. Truth is, changing the course of our family was extremely painful. It still is. But it’s the healthiest thing we could do for them.
I promise that if you choose to do this in your own family, consistently for a long period of time, you will see powerful results. It will not be an overnight fix but, in time, it will be worth it. What are you waiting for?
What areas do you need to change in your family?