My name is Laura and I watched the show Family Matters every Friday night on TGIF. I was a dedicated TGIF'er. So were lots of you guys so growing up I constantly heard my name like this, "LAAAURAAAA (the annoying and blood curdling Steve Urkel voice)." If you don't know what I'm talking about then you'll just have to YouTube it.
Family Matters... or so I've learned. I didn't grow up with a strong family bond. Don't get me wrong, I love my family more than words can express but the concept of family wasn't strong in my life growing up. I valued independence more than family so cultivating it has always been optional not necessary. Fast-forward to 33 years later and this concept & practice is on the forefront of all of my pursuits.
To be honest, it's taken me awhile to get to this point. I've tended to err on the side that I can handle most things on my own and don't really want or need to include people. In fact, I once believed that including people would actually complicate my life more than benefit it. The real issue is that I was insecure in letting people in on my issues and struggles thinking they would reject me and not want to be my friend or that they wouldn't actually care enough to hear me and my heart. I think a lot of us feel that way. I've had to allow God to teach me what family is and isn't. Here are a few things I'm learning.
Why does Family Matter?
1. It's God's design. He made us to be in family and not just our immediate family but the BIG family of God's people. Romans 12:4-5 (MSG) says, "In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets it's meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t."
God designed us to be in His big family because we get our meaning and our purpose from being and working together. We were made to bring out the destiny in each other. Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church says, "Sometimes you can't find your destiny until you find your people." God spoke to me one day and said, "The key to your purpose and calling is in the hearts and lives of the people around you. As you give yourself to those around you I will reveal and open doors to your destiny."
It's not an easy task to pursue and be intentional with the people in our lives but it's necessary for the fulfillment of our purpose.
2. It's necessary for growth. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." We all want to be better. We want to be better fathers, mothers, professionals, spouses, etc. I don't know why God decided that iron sharpens iron but I think it's ironic that the same material sharpens the same material. The way iron gets better is not from steel, copper, gold, etc., but from iron. We are all unique, yes. Our Father loves us uniquely, yes, but we are all made of the same stuff. He designed us to sharpen and make each other better. One iron might be further along in it's sharpened state or one may have spent more time in the fire or one might have been used for a different task and so it has better edges and it's been fortified differently through being used in a certain task. You get the picture. We are made of the same material but each of us has unique experiences that were meant to be used to teach and shape one another.
3. It's better. Ephesians 4:9-12 says, "It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped."
I will be vulnerable for a moment. It's REALLY scary for me to let people in. It takes me so long to emotionally connect with others because I fear when I let people in they will ultimately hurt me. But even in that and as hard as it is for us to open up and make friends and even more, family-friends, when we finally do, it makes our life so much better in so many ways. I like the part in this verse where it says, "By yourself you're unprotected." I can tend to think the opposite of this. Sometimes I "feel" safer without people but that's actually a lie. As I expose my heart and true thoughts to the people around me I create trust. Doing this develops relationship with people that I can call on when I'm truly hurting and in trouble or people who can truly celebrate with me because they know my journey.
4. And lastly, It's forever. It's eternal. Jonathan Helser, Worship Leader at Bethel Church in Redding says, "The more Heaven comes to Earth the more Earth will look like family." The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. His Kingdom is you & I. Bringing the Kingdom to the Earth looks like creating & developing family in one another. For all eternity we will be in the presence of our Family which is our Father, God AND each other. Those are the only two things from this Earth that we will have in Heaven. We won’t take our houses, careers, bank accounts, fame, Instagram statuses, or successes. We will have Him & each other. That is it. Why is it that we don't invest more time in creating our histories with one another now since that is what we’ll be doing for eternity? How amazing is it that we will be in relationship with the people around us (our brothers and sisters in Christ) for all eternity? That’s beautiful! What would it look like if we lived constantly from this perspective? What changes would we make in how we spend our time & money? How would this affect our present relationships with one another?
So Family Matters... It matters to you and to me whether we want to admit it or not. With all our dysfunctional experiences with family it is still something we long for at our very core. We were designed to long for it. It's necessary for our growth & our lives are better with it. I'm praying that you and I experience true family on earth as we will surely experience it for all eternity.
P.S. I'm taking a social media break so if you comment on this post on Social Media I won't be responding for awhile. Please feel free to comment below so I can respond. Thanks! :D