One of the main arguments that I hear frequently from people who are in the throes of parenting but who are struggling to disciple their children is this: “But our situation is different than yours. Our situation is very unique and you just wouldn’t understand. There is no room in our lives to take the time that is necessary to disciple our children.”
Let me begin by saying this: I am so sorry. I am sorry that you are in a place where you feel defeated, overwhelmed, and incapacitated by life so much so, there is no room for what I would imagine is one of the most important things to you. I desire in this moment to meet you where you are and at minimum tell you that I am burdened for you and care about your situation and more importantly, God is near and He cares even more than you do.
A Little Self-Eval Never Hurt Anybody
At the same time, I also desire to challenge you a little; maybe help you see a more excellent way than your current way (even if your circumstances don’t change one bit).
It is always helpful to self-evaluate so let’s start by asking ourselves a few questions:
- Why (really) am I not discipling my children? Is it because of a lack of time and capacity or is it because of a lack of willingness? If my schedule allowed for it, would I actually pursue it? Or am I just using my schedule as a crutch?
- What do I think needs to change in my life (my schedule) in order for me to feel “freed up” to better disciple my children?
- What are the top 3 perceived obstacles keeping me from better discipling my children?
- What do I need the most in order to change my current reality and better disciple my children?
- Honestly, is it possible for me to be more intentional with my children in pointing them to Jesus?
What Really Is The Problem? My Selfishness Is The Problem.
Now that we’ve (possibly) come to grips with where our hearts are at, we can move forward. 99% of the time, those of us who are saying we have a different and unique situation are correct, but EVERYONE’S situation is unique. We are just believing the lie that our unique situation is an impossible one.
We tend to use our work schedules as the biggest excuse (especially if both spouses have jobs). Other excuses include the kids school schedule (early mornings and evening homework) and their extracurricular activities. Oh, the extracurricular activities! If we aren’t careful these will take over our lives. In western culture, we busy our days with lots of activities (I tackled the youth sports issue in a previous post).
The question ultimately revolves around time. There is always going to be time for the things we want to make time. If we honestly assess our schedules, how much downtime do we really have? How much time do we spend scrolling through social media and watching netflix? We base our schedule off of “me-time,” because we feel like we’ve earned it.
But if you are a spouse and/or a parent, you are called to lay aside your rights, schedule preferences, and time, for the sacrifice and good of those in your life. THAT is your situation. It’s not perfect, but it’s yours. You can view it as a gift or curse. But it is what it is. We all wish there was more time for everything. What we ultimately need is more Jesus, not a different situation or better circumstances.
Start Somewhere, Anywhere
When it comes to discipling your children, start small. Spend five minutes each day talking to them about Jesus. Read a passage of Scripture or a Bible story and talk to your kids briefly about it. Tell them that the entire Bible is about Jesus and how he saves sinners and together discover this life altering truth on the pages of Scripture. Finally, pray over your children. Pray prayers that don't necessarily revolve around what they need to do but what God has already done for them. Give them the good news in your prayers. Pray that as God loves them, they will in turn love Him.
Seriously, a little investment will go further than you could ever imagine.
(I have written a couple resources that will not only get you off the starting blocks, but will also give you confidence so you can be better equipped to disciple your children.)