1 Question to Improve Your Family Dynamic

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Before Jesus enters into human history as an infant, the nations who ruled the world used their power and resources to attain more power and resources. The Egyptians did it. The Babylonians did it. The Greeks did it. The Persians did it. The Romans did it. After hundreds of years of misuse and abuse of power by each flavor-of-the-dynasty world power, here comes Jesus. He doesn’t utilize His power and resources to get more. Jesus intentionally chooses to use His power and resources to serve others.

A few decades after Jesus defeats death and starts the church, it’s shared how we move toward the life we were created to live. We don’t exist to hoard from others or boss around others, but rather, we live sacrificially like Jesus, improving the lives of others.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21

When it comes to the above imperative, non-Christians are off the hook. Applying this wisdom is where a better life is found, but it’s not mandatory for those who don’t love Jesus above all.

For those who are Christ-followers, Ephesians 5:21 is not optional. Christians must adhere to this lifelong, life-giving principle of mutual submission, especially within the family unit, which is the context of the above verse. Wives respect their husbands, husbands love their wives, kids obey their parents.

PROFOUND FAMILIES PRACTICE MUTUAL SUBMISSION DAILY. 

Each member of the family submits to one another. Not because they’ve earned it. Not because they started serving first so favors are returned to keep it balanced. Not to use them for something wanted. We serve/love/forgive/are loyal/patient/thankful to show Jesus is the Leader of our heart and our choices. When Jesus is Lord/King/Ruler over our daily lives, the home becomes profound. Show me a home that is struggling and we can find multiple people being self-centered.

When selfishness/laziness/blurriness occurs for too long, and members of a household have a come-to-Jesus meeting and all agree that no one in the family is more lovable than the other, more important than the other, and they commit to serving one another, not themselves, BOOM! That’s a family I want to be around and a home I want my kids to visit frequently.

There is a question we can ask that may be the answer to our own prayers. It’s a question that can propel the family toward the kind of home and legacy God wants for us. It’s a question little in words but significant in potential impact. It’s asking this to those you live with and are responsible to love:

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?

Simple, short and sweet. What can I do to help you? Should you choose to accept it, this is your perpetual homework assignment. Ask the above question a few times to everyone in your home each week. If you live alone, ask, What can I do to help someone in my daily life? If you live with family, ask this, be a good listener and watch how different family life progresses.

For the tweens/teens/young adults in the home 

Here’s a hot little tip: Go into your parent’s bedroom (you might want to knock first), look them in these things on their heads called eyes, (put your phone down), speak to them, (don’t text this to them) and ask, Mom/dad, what can I do around this home, in this family, to help you?

Once your mom comes to after passing out, ask again, What can I do to help you?

Taking it a step further, if  you want to win some major points, ask this question when your family has friends over. Your parents are having dinner at home with some friends, you’re heading out for the night, and you say, Hey, I’m about ready to jet (do teens today say, “jet”?), but before I leave, I wanted to ask: Mom, dad, is there anything I can do right now to help you out?

The look on the faces of your parent’s friends will be worth the entire moment. Mom will start crying out of sheer joy and will post on her Facebook: #blessed. Dad will say, C’mere Jr. Grab the keys to the Lexus you can have it. You’re like, Dad, I’m 13.

If you mean it and follow through on it, this question improves everything.

For the parents and step parents

Look at your children and ask, What can I do to help you?

Parents be like: EVERYTHING I DO IS FOR THEM. I get up at 5:00AM for them, make meals for them, and I’m doing homework with them and I’m building all kinds of projects for them and I’m chauffeuring them around the county and I’m giving them money and I’m rooting for them and I’m teaching life lessons to them. Great job being a parent. Keep going.

It’s something more significant to sit on their bed at night, look at them and say: Hey, I know life is busy and you’ve got a lot of pressure on you in multiple areas. I want to ask, is there anything I can do to help you out? If they don’t open up, keep asking this until they do, and when they do, pray with them over their answer and then go to work on helping them.

It changes the vibe in the home because with a conversational moment like that, you’re not in parenting mode of clean this/drive here/provide that/punish them, but rather they see you as someone who can help improve how their life is currently going.

For the wives

For you to ask your husband, in gentleness, sweetness and concern, to say, I know you’re busy. I know you’re stressed. I know there’s pressure. I’m thankful for all you do. What can I do to help you?

Ladies, please know if you don’t already that you’ll most likely get this response from us husbands: Nothing. I’m good. I’ll be fine. You do a lot already. The reason we instinctively have this response is because we think we can handle anything and most men wrongly assume transparency is weak when really being vulnerable is one of the most Christ-like things a man can do. Some of my most intimate moments with Whit is when I was broken, honest, weak and in need.

What wives and children may forget is that the husband/father places on himself a tremendous, daily weight of providing for, protecting and leading the family. And when the wife reminds the husband that it’s God who protects and provides for the family and that it’s God who is in control of the present and the future and it’s God who is the Leader of the home and all the family needs to do is trust God and serve each other: #profoundfamily.

For the husbands

This question of, What can I do to help you?, asking this to your wife is something that scares you to death, (if I enjoyed emojis, I would insert a smiley face here, but I do not so I will not), right? Husband, you know she’s got a list of how you can actually, immediately help her and you’re paralyzed in fear that her list does not end. But I’m an optimist. Maybe she’ll be so shocked you took time to ask how you can come alongside her that she’ll be speechless and then it’s a win-win.

Asking, What can I do to help you?, in sincerity, it will begin to break down the walls that have numbed or distanced the marriage because previously when she’s asked you for help, she’s internally braced herself inside knowing you were going to be impatient or frustrated from her bothering you. Husbands, ask this question and see what happens. Or don’t. Your choice. But I want us to be profound.

Profound families are families that practice mutual submission daily and a most effective way to practice mutual submission is to ask: What can I do to help you?

I was only allowed to watch G-rated, animated movies during my childhood growing up so you’ll get a lot of 90’s Disney references in this blog. Remember in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast was trying to change, trying to be nice to Belle, inviting her to dinner, giving her a new dress, wanting to be a friend for her, wanting to comfort her after sending her father away? The Beast extended the hand of fellowship asking Belle to dinner but she refuses. It angered the Beast. I believe his exact words after attempting to be courteous were, THEN GO AHEAD AND STAAAAAAAAAAARVE!!!!!! He thought change would happen instantly if he decided to be nice once. I’m assuming some of you are worried about the vulnerability that will be out there when you ask if you can help your family when you haven’t been that helpful recently.

Be vulnerable anyway. Be humble anyway. Ask the question. If things don’t go as you expected after asking how you can help, be patient. Be persistent. Don’t react as furry Adam does (that’s the Beast’s first name, you’re welcome).

The problem in our homes – which leads to problems in our school, in our church, in our community – the problem at home isn’t too much of, I’m here to help you. The problem in our home is too much of you’re here to help me. 

A family struggles, a church struggles, a community struggles, a nation struggles when the majority think, You’re here to help me, so get to it. 

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21

What. Can. I. Do. To. Help. You?

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z

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