Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Don't Just Look Like The Real Thing

I'm likely going to get into trouble here but I don't see the point of soft drinks like Coke Zero.  Seems to me it's just colored, carbonated water without the good stuff.  But OK, if you like it, go for it.

However, I wonder if sometimes our marriage and family relationships just look fine, but like diet beverages are missing the good stuff.  For example, if a husband and wife get along pretty well, don't fight much, and are generally problem-free, does that mean their relationship is great?  Not necessarily.

Or if our kids get good grades, have friends, enjoy lots of outside activities and don't balk too much about going to church, does that mean we really have a healthy relationship with them?  Maybe not.

Great relationships require several important elements.  First of all, honesty.  The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love, so I'm not suggesting that we be rude, brash or insensitive in our truth-telling.  However, we get closest together when we're vulnerable, open and blatantly candid with each other.  Do people in your home talk about things that really matter, about what's bothering them as well as their joys?  Is there an atmosphere at your house that fosters that kind of openness?

Second, great connections focus on the important things. We often get caught up in just being busy, doing one more thing, trying to keep up with others and the like and miss the little, but important activities that make lifelong memories.  I wonder if we'll look back and be glad that we spent so many hours watching our kids do things and so little time engaging WITH them in everyday activities.  I doubt it. 

I remember a story of a teacher who brought a large glass container into class and started placing large rocks into it putting as many in as possible.  He then asked the class if the container was full.  They of course said yes.  Then he took some pea gravel and poured it all around the big rocks.  He asked again, "Is the jar full now?"  To which they agreed, "Sure, now it is."  He then took and added sand until no more would fit.  The students now decided it was truly full.

But the teacher then poured water in until it ran over the top.  "Is it full now?"  the teacher asked.  "Yes," the students said. And the teacher finally agreed.  Now he asked, "What's the point of this demonstration?"  One student immediately piped up and said, "You wanted to show us that while we don't think we can accomplish any more in our lives, if we'll just arrange things correctly we can always add more."

To which the teacher replied, "No, that's not my point at all.  I wanted to suggest that in life you have to put the big rocks in first.  If you don't all the other things will crowd out what's most important."

If we're going to enjoy all that God intended for us and our families then we must be sure we're putting the big rocks in first and not letting the tyranny of the urgent crowd them out.

What are the big rocks that you want in your marriage and family?  Do they get first priority? 

If honesty isn't a hallmark of your home and the big rocks really aren't what you give the most time and attention to you might now have the real thing . . . just something that looks like it.  And trust me,  it's just not as good.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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