We all know life is short. I think that’s why we have popularized phrases like:
“Don’t let life pass you by.”
“Embrace the moment.”
Or if you’re a parent, you’ve likely used, “the days are long, but the years are short,” to help you survive those long days.
In a survey of over 700 parents just last year, we found that busyness or the lack of time, was the single biggest parenting struggle of our day. Living in such a busy and distracted culture, I don’t believe this struggle is exclusive to parents alone.
Since my dad went to be with the Lord a year ago, “embrace the moment” moved from a common cliché to a heartfelt reality for me. As a husband and dad myself, I’d like to think I’m more consciously aware of the brevity of life.
In what is the oldest Psalm in the Bible, Moses prays to God, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12, CSB). Paul admonishes the Church at Ephesus to “pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise, but wise—making the most of the time… (Ephesians 5:15-16a, CSB).
Both Moses and Paul understood the brevity and commodity of time. What I love about Ephesians 5 is that the phrase “making the most of the time” literally translates “buying back the time.” In other words, time is a series of ongoing choice moments we make to carry out God’s purpose for our lives.
God gifted me a beautiful wife and two incredible children to lead closer to Jesus (1 Timothy 3:4-5). As you begin your new year, consider some of the following ways you can “buy back the time” or “embrace the moment” with your family. Just pick one and start there.
1. Create a values list for your family. The Bible is very clear about the Lord building our house (Psalm 127:1). Set a values list connected to specific Scripture verses that you can use to filter your family decisions. We created a list of 100 commonly held values to help you create your top five. You can download that here. This list can also help you connect values to discipline with your kids.
2. Set weekly date nights with your spouse. Prioritizing our family begins by prioritizing our marriage. Relationally, the environment of our home ebbs and flows on how well we feel supported, appreciated, and loved by our spouse.
We also know how hard it can be to be creative and come up with date night ideas. That’s why we created 40 free date night ideas and 216 questions for you to ask your spouse that go beyond talking about the kids or work. Start by clicking here.
3. Tuck your kids in bed each night. Moses had it right. There are four key times of the day we can use to teach our kids about God (Deuteronomy 6). Tucking our kids in bed is one of them. There is no better time of the day to connect with your kids at a heart level than in the vulnerability of this one moment. Whether you choose to pray with them, ask them questions about their day, or tell stories, let’s not just send our kids to their room. Use it as a quiet moment to connect at a heart level. Not every night will be a homerun. But those few minutes have the power to transform not just your child—but you as well.
We’d love for you to check out our parenting community called 22:6 Parenting. We provide the tools necessary to help you make the most of the time you already have with your kids. To get started, you can download our free resource called 7 Ways to Disciple your Kids.
4. Play with your kids. Don’t allow those three powerful words—“play with me”— coming from your kids to go unnoticed this year. No matter how old our kids are, play is their work. Research consistently shows that 20 minutes of command-free time a day with our kids wires their brains for healthy relationships. Enter their world and become a student of your child.
5. Unplug. Anything you cannot fast from owns you. Researchers show that our screens increase dopamine in the brain the way drugs do. Don’t allow screens to own your family. You can begin by setting an e-nup, an electronic nuptial agreement, in your marriage. You can download that here. If you need help figuring out how to set a screen schedule with your kids, we have that too.
As you begin 2018, don’t let time own you. Choose your opportunities. Embrace your moments. Buy back your time.