Hi! I guess I should introduce myself to you beautiful people. My name is Lisa Hallahan, I am the daughter to two wonderful parents and the oldest sister (but second born) to 6 amazing siblings! We live on a 20 acre ranch in Montana and have plenty of animals, plenty of laughs, and like everyone else, we have had our share of trials as well.
We own and operate a web design business from home and our finances are never stable. My dad is mentally disabled, but loved and cared for by my mom and loving kids. Mom is the CEO, Sales Manager, Home-school Teacher, Counselor, Chef, Ranch operator, and my biggest inspiration. She is the strongest woman I know and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.
With all of the work that is put into our farm and business it’s easy to become discontent and unhappy with the life that God has provided. One of the things that has helped me focus on what is important in life is this motto:
“Love God, Love Your Family.”
It reminds me that if I accomplish anything today, my biggest accomplishment would be that I loved God and loved the family that He has given me. After all that’s all that matters in the end – love. Not a physical love, or a romantic love, but a self-sacrificing, a whole hearted, self-yielding, and devoted love.
Loving your family is one of the hardest things to do sometimes.
You’re in the same house with the same people almost 24/7 and it can wear on a girl’s nerves! But we as women and girls, who are unmarried, are called to love and invest in the families God has given us. We read this over and over in the Bible in chapters like Titus 2, Proverbs 31, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, and one of my favorites:
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Loving our families means a lot more than being friendly or kind to our family members. It means serving, blessing, encouraging, inspiring, challenging, cooking and cleaning for, and working alongside our family members. We can be the right arm of our brothers, the extra hand in the kitchen for our moms and the twinkle in our fathers’ eye.
When I explain the kind of lifestyle that my family and I live to friends or extended family, they ask the all too familiar question, “Don’t you have a life?”, or something to that extent.
*sigh* The pressures and demands of the 21st century!
If by “life” you mean parties, drinking, drugs, sex, a cool car, fashionable clothes and a boyfriend, then no, I don’t have a “life.” But if you mean peanut butter and jelly fingers, tickle fights, gardening, learning ABC’s with toddlers, dates with mom, and water fights with brothers, then you bet I have a life!
This question normally comes from people who have spent their life comparing themselves to others in the world and striving to be the next best thing.
They want to be envied by others so they pursue a life of pleasure, money, men/women, material things such as cars, clothes etc.. Comparing yourself to others is a big fad in this world today.
Our focus shifts from the joy of our Salvation in Christ, to the things of this world. We no longer have the innocent happiness that comes when we accept Christ into our lives. It is stained with thoughts and longings for secular happiness and standards that can only be met by complying with the world.
A Psalmist named Asaph had the same problem of comparing himself to others. We follow his journey in Psalm 73. At the beginning of his memoir, he is very much “vexed” at what he had been observing. He was comparing his life to that of unbelievers.
He noticed that people who did not follow the ways of the Lord were, “always at ease and increasing in riches.” They had it better than the people who sacrificed so much of the worldly ways and pleasures to please the Lord. Yet the people who denied God were the ones who looked happy and content!
“Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain!” Asaph exclaimed. He went on for a few more verses mumbling about this injustice until he received a much needed word from the Lord and said this: “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”
By entering the “Sanctuary of God” Asaph was able to take his eyes off of the world and shift his focus upward.
Then he was able to see what was important. He no longer cared about what the ungodly were doing, he was enwrapped in the love of his Maker and could only see Him in this endearing moment.
He later went on to say (and I couldn’t have said it better myself):
“I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works” (Psalms 73:22-28).
Those who do not have the Lord really don’t have anything. But those who dwell in the place of the Most High are exceedingly and abundantly blessed!
When we put our focus on God, everything else will fall into line. Our love for our family will grow with each new prayer we whisper; because when we are in love with Jesus our love for others cannot be quenched.
Life in this earthly form becomes more glorious when we are not focused on ourselves, but on others. We can laugh and sing and be grateful because we care only about pleasing our King.
When we desire to be conformed to something that we are not, we are rejecting God’s will for our lives. We are saying that He was wrong to put us in this family, He was wrong to give us the simple life we live when we were destined to be rich and famous! We are not trusting God with our lives. Half of us wants to please Jesus and the other half wants the things that will make us happy – the things that are found in the world.
But we cannot be double-minded and serve the Lord.
We must be all or nothing. Jesus wants ALL of us! When we idolize someone/something more than Christ, we are being immoral and serving another god. We cannot have it both ways.
Maybe you have been idolizing something or someone recently and put God second on your list of things that makes you happy.
There are several ways that you can drop your worldly love and escape back into the arms of Jesus.
1. Ask Jesus to cleanse your heart of anything that would make Him sad. Give Him permission to restore you to your first Love by removing longings and desires to be part of the world.
2. Remove the links to your previous idol. Pinterest, celebrity magazines, movies, anything that allows you to join in or be a part of the world or connects you to an idol.
3. Replace impure thoughts and actions that make you think about or act on worldly desires with thoughts of Jesus and holiness. Get involved at church, hand out tracts at local events and get busy. Don’t waste your life pining over things that won’t do you any good and that won’t last.
Take your burdens to the Lord. He understands and sees the deep recesses of your heart, yet He loves you still. We love our God, and our family works best when our eyes are fixed on the King.
We don’t need to have a “life” on this earth defined by the people of the world. Our life is in Christ, and that is everlasting and beautiful.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Leave your thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear what you think! God bless.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | beth19