Jumat, 24 Juli 2015
The Pastor’s Refreshing Home
by Ted Cunningham
Do you get excited to go home at night? Is your home a place where you unplug from the church and ministry? For me, long days in ministry create a longing for relaxing evenings at home. Just like my wife and I anticipate our date night each week, I look forward to coming home every night. Our home is a place to gather around the table and family room to enjoy each other.
In the Song of Songs, the Shulamite woman uses the word picture of En Gedi to describe the environment created around her shepherd King: “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi” (1:14). En Gedi is a lush, desert oasis providing rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation to weary travelers. This biblical Hebrew poetry paints a picture of a home that refreshes those who gather there. Here are some practical ways to create a home that relaxes and rejuvenates you at the end of a long hard day:
A refreshing home creates a judgment-free zone. The world and members of your church throw enough criticism at you. While home is a place where we sharpen one another, it doesn’t need to be a place of excessive criticism. Take time to listen and validate the feelings of your family rather than telling them how they’re doing it wrong. There’s time for rebuke, correction, and instruction, but sometimes we need to just be heard and understood. As a pastor, learn how to turn off your counseling and teaching voice. Find ways to just be present and enjoy your family.
A refreshing home gives space. Sometimes you just need a corner to retreat to. If you ever find yourself out of words, and you need to unplug, find a quite space and refuel. One way to honor your family is to know when each person is running on fumes and needs a few minutes to themselves. A great gift to bestow on someone is to say, “Why don’t you take the next hour to yourself and enjoy some quiet time.” Find a quiet spot and enjoy time with the Lord.
A refreshing home shares one another’s load. If you’re the first one home at night, think about ways to help out those who will arrive later. Pick up clothes lying around. Start a load of dishes or clothes. Our family has a fun way of getting the chores done. Like a military drill, we declare five minutes of “get it done” tenacity. We run around the house like mad picking stuff up, organizing, vacuuming, folding, wiping down, and sweeping. From the outside looking in, it appears hectic and out of control. To us, it’s a fun, fast way to work together to complete the household work.
A refreshing home makes time for hobbies. Some parents say, “Family fun when the chores are done.” True. Every home needs the trash picked up, laundry sorted, meals prepared, lawn mowed, and homework completed. The sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can relax. Extracurricular activities allow you to break away mentally from your job and school assignments. The dictionary defines a hobby as “an activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.” Every family needs a hobby that everyone enjoys. Hobbies create lifelong memories worth repeating. The Herschend family of Branson, Missouri founded Silver Dollar City over fifty years ago. Their mission statement for the theme park reads, “Creating memories worth repeating.” Their desire is that your parents will bring you as a child and you will leave wanting to come back next year. They hope that your memories are so good that you will return with your kids one day. Shared activities create close-knit families. Hobbies disconnect us from the daily grind, relieve the pressure of routine, and give us extra time to focus on each other.
Our family spends time each summer on the lake. My wife often comments, “I like it when we are out here because your mind is turned off. It is very healthy for your mind to be focused on other stuff.” She’s right. When we prepare sermons every week, our minds are always meditating on the text, teaching points, and illustrations. A hobby helps us unplug from sermon prep and gives us a much needed mental break.
At dinner tonight, ask your family the following questions and give everyone an opportunity to create a refreshing home:
Have you ever hesitated or dreaded to come home?
When you walk through the door at night, what is the first thing you want to see or hear?
If you could change one thing about our home to make it more refreshing, what would it be?
Copyright © 2015 by Ted Cunningham. Used by permission.
Ted Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church. He married Amy in 1996, and they live in Branson, MO with their two children, Corynn and Carson. Ted is the author of Fun Loving You, Trophy Child, and Young and In Love, and coauthor of four books with Dr. Gary Smalley. He is a graduate of Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary.