Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a family mission that matters

It was seriously the best ice cream I have ever tasted...I'm not even exaggerating one little bit.
If you are ever visiting Holden Beach please do yourself a favor and stop by Beaches N Cream.

And here's how you can make the stop even better...
take along someone you care a whole lot about and sit on the colorful front porch in one of the well-worn chairs and talk about something important while savoring the deliciousness.

Joey and I have been talking about our family's mission for weeks now.  In fact, our entire church community has been having conversations on this topic which is pretty awesome when you think about it.  Our own conversation continued last night over a turtle sundae.

It began with Joey mentioning that our family mission should have something to do with glorifying God in everything we do.  I simultaneously delighted and cringed.

I totally agreed with him but my mind immediately went to a radio commercial I heard for a Christian school in which a man's stale and emotionless voice stated their goal was - glorifying Jesus Christ in all that we do.

And so I began last night's conversation by affirming the direction Joey was leading our family and then quickly asking the question...
What the heck does that mean?

It wasn't one of those questions where I kinda already have an answer in mind that I'm hoping he will arrive at too {I do that sometimes}.  I genuinely wanted to discuss what that statement meant, because I'm pretty sure we are going to have to explain it in a hundred different ways to get our 4 and 6 year old on board.

We began to consider how we would explain to the kids what 'glorifying God in everything we do' actually means and statements like these were made...
Ask yourself - would God like this choice that I'm making?
Before you do something, consider what God would think about it.

We didn't ride that train for long before I was ready to jump right off.  I started twitching and breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about what a horrible mother I would be if that's what I set before my kids to live for...
just try not to violate some perfect standard God has for your life, ok?  

I might as well wrap their tiny wrists in shackles and chain them to the floor.
Their lives would be boring and tiresome and full of fear and pretty much a complete waste.
The beautiful, freedom-bringing, world-changing truth of the gospel would be disfigured and unrecognizable to them.
We would all wither up and die in some cold dark prison of legalism while a life filled with the colors of grace and the fragrance of love and sound of hope remained out of reach.
Oh my word...what a tragedy.
And before you go thinking I'm just being dramatic, consider the implications for getting this wrong for our kids {and for ourselves}.

Emily Freeman says she gets all worked up when she sees the gospel serving as a burden-maker rather than a burden-lifter.

So here's the deal...
I don't think a mission should
lead to guilt and shame
feel like a bossy big brother
leave you beaten up and broken down.

I do think a mission should
incite wonder
provoke discovery
motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and fight for something.

The gospel, as I understand it, completely embodies the latter.
Is it easy to live out?  Absolutely not.
Is it worth it?  You bet.

And so I choose to explain a life of glorifying God to my kids like this...
  God created this beautiful world - reflect him by creating your own beautiful things.
  God loved us even when we didn't love him - reflect him by loving everyone, even when they're not very lovable.
  God sacrificed all he had, to give us all we need - reflect him by giving up something you have so that someone else can have what they need.
 God has woven His story together since the beginning of time - reflect Him in the story you are telling with your own life.
  God used his words to whispers precious promises of peace and hope and life abundant - reflect him by using your own words to speak life to those who would listen.
  God sent his Son into the world to serve, not be served - so stop worrying about whether your brother has more raisins than you and just make sure he has enough {sorry...went on a bit of a rant there}.
I could go on...but hopefully you get the point.

When we remember what God has done we can reflect what He is doing.

Glorifying is not rule-following...
it is reflecting.

All week I have watched the ocean reflect the sun in dozens of different ways depending on how it was positioned - from still, small tidal pools to waves rising high.

Over and over I have seen the sun anew in the water
and I have also seen the water made radiant by the sun.

If we put a mission that matters in front of us, maybe we can make the daring choice to live like the ocean and reflect the Son wherever we are positioned.
Maybe we could be brave enough to reveal to the world not our own shallow selves but the gleaming, radiant depths of the One who is light and life.

That is glory manifested.
That is the gospel.
That is what I want for my children, for myself.
That is my mission...
     remember and reflect

A life with that focus is sweeter and more satisfying than even the most delicious turtle sundae.

What's your mission?