Tuesday, October 28, 2008

(Help Needed!!!)

How you answer the following ten questions will speak volumes about the kind of life you’re living now – and how this lifestyle will affect your family in the future. I seem to be failing in every area. As Christians, we need to encourage each other to evaluate and correct our failures in these areas and rely on Christ to transform our lifestyles to what He has designed. Failures in these areas directly affect our energy and efficiency for Kingdom work and family alike.

1. Have you stopped enjoying life because you’re too busy? Remember the words of the Apostle Paul – “Rejoice in the Lord always – again I say, ‘Rejoice!’” There are so many things in life to enjoy. If you can’t think of one of them, that’s a “Red Flag.”

2. Have you stopped developing new relationships? And talking to parents on the sidelines at soccer games doesn’t count. When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with someone you don’t know very well? There’s no reason why each of us can’t make at least one new friend every year.

3. Are you exhausted most of the time? Scripture says we’re never to grow weary of doing good. And it’s been my experience that the things we find most enjoyable in life don’t drain us of our energy – they increase it! That said, there’s no reason why anyone should be exhausted most of the time. Occasionally tired, perhaps, at times – but not to the point of constant exhaustion.

4. (If you’re married) Do you and your spouse have a regular “date night?” If you don’t, download a free copy of my Fact Sheet on “Why Dating Your Spouse is Good for the Whole Family.”

5. Do you have credit problems or a large load of debt? The amount of consumer debt in this country is staggering . . . and it’s only getting worse. There was a reason Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters” (meaning God and money). If you’re spending as much as you’re earning – or more – the margin you’ve eliminated by doing so could cost you a much greater price.

6. Are you getting enough sleep? This might sound a bit redundant (see #3 above) but we feel it’s actually a different subject altogether. Research indicates that the average adult needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep each day to maintain good health . . . so, if you need 8 and are only getting 6, time to think about an earlier bedtime.

7. Does your family have dinner together on a regular basis? This may sound hard to believe, but the secret to reducing stress, improving your love life and keeping your kids off of drugs may be as simple as sitting down to dinner as a family 3 – 5 times a week. Recent studies confirm it – families who eat together . . . at home . . . around the family dinner table . . . create a more stable environment than those who are constantly on the go. Establish family dinnertime as a non-negotiable – then, turn on the phone answering machine, turn off the TV – and dig in!

8. Do you take a restful “day off?” Too few of us do . . . even though God requires is of His children. (“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” “Six days shall you labor . . . .” You know the drill.)

9. Do you have regular “family time” together? Now, this would be apart from Church and school activities. Sporting events and other “have to’s” don’t count, either. We’re talking about “hanging out” time here. Do you have any? If not, you should!

10. Are your children showing signs of stress? Stress among teenagers is becoming more and more common. In fact, in his book called, The Seven Cries of Today’s Teens, author and family expert Tim Smith says that the cries for love and security are greater now among children than ever before...especially after the 9/11 attacks. And, chances are that, if one of the key contributors to stress in your children is the overloaded schedule of their parents.

How you answered these questions speaks volumes about your current quality of life. If it needs to change, then change it – don’t wait for a catastrophy to bring you back to reality!

(Based on principles included in the book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.

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