I watch Hector Cervantes, our Worship Pastor fiddle and piddle on the set of foot peddles where he picks and grins (I love that guy). As it turns out, guitars sound good because of stress. Apparently, guitarists know how to turn the tuning pegs just enough that all six strings are in harmony with one another and on key. But too much stress, too much tension, those strings can stretch or break. The things I learn when hanging around Hector are usually deeply spiritual. To a guitarist, this probably is deeply spiritual.
Just like Hector’s guitar, Freddie Cross’s or Brad Paisley’s guitar, every family experiences stress and tension. You cannot avoid it! It’s possible to experience peace together even in the middle of tension. An overdose of stress can cause us to snap and lose our harmony. I see it in countless families searching for love in all the wrong places.
Families are stretched to the max with stress today. It results from financial hardship, the rat race at work, global and cultural events, high educational standards, peer pressure, and the list could go on and on and on.
I know that home ought to be a little like a Caribbean island – a safe place that feels like a haven from the war-torn challenges of everyday life. The Bible gives us some simple wisdom about some valuable practices for peaceful homes.
Learn to Laugh – A Lot
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit..” Laughter is like the secret sauce. It’s just a total game changer. When families laugh together, they can withstand the onslaught of garbage that each family member experiences in their sphere of relationships. Laughing together as a family is highly therapeutic. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find things to laugh about. We love to tell stories. Happy stories and funny stories. We always try to ask what was funny in your day. Learn to laugh, even on tough days.
Be Grateful and Contented
It;s not easy to “keep up with the Jones’.” Families are crashing and burning today in the rubble of financial disaster because of consumer debt, stress and pressure. We seem never to have enough, and then we seem to be driven by the reality that we are not grateful for what we have. As a result, we teach our families that you have to meet some unattainable level of stuff collection. But Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content..”
The word “enough” is a good word to draw out of our vocabulary on a regular basis to remind ourselves of the difference between wants and needs. It’s possible to have enough toys, enough food, or enough gadgets, and when we determine to be grateful for what we have, we will then see that we have enough.
Deal with Anger and Conflict
Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them..” Anger is a normal human emotion. It’s all about what we decide to do with our anger that matters. That is right with conflict as well. We all have hot buttons that drive us to anger, and we all know that conflict exists with or without talking about anything. When we stuff our feelings inside and leak or explode later, nobody wins. The better solution is developing the practice of giving soft answers to one another. Here is a great rule of thumb; Focus your heart and words on making things right, not proving you are right.
A great verse for families to learn together, and live together is Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare..” Imagine the change you’d see in your home if everyone’s first response was wrapped in kindness. This is worth making the effort to attain.
Seek and Live in Wisdom
Every family needs wisdom, and wisdom is easily accessible. God isn’t withholding His wisdom from you or your family. To walk in wisdom, your family needs to walk together. Your family is a team, and everybody has a position to play. It’s not the parents against the kids, it’s the family becoming all that God intended together, as a team.
Hey, parents, God has given you authority within the home, not so that you can take the place of God in your children’s lives, but so that you can be His steward with the little gifts that He has given you. God has given you the wisdom to guide them. And He will give you more! Proverbs 15:24 says, “The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead..”
Be Grateful and Express Gratitude
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus..” If you want one big take away from this BLOG – Take this!
There is unbelievable power in praying about tension and expressing thanks. There is a direct link between gratitude and happiness, and often when we struggle to find happiness, gratitude is the answer.
To make your home a haven in the midst of a hectic, disturbing world, try being intentional about discovering truth together, laughing together, and encouraging each other.
God knows we need peaceful homes more than ever, and you can do this.