Know yourself. Know your family. Know your Heavenly Father.
I believe I can learn to know myself by taking the time to pray in solitude and spend time with my Abba Father. Another thing that has worked for me is to keep a journal. I don’t mean to do it as I did when I was younger – “Dear diary…”- I would not want to do that!
When I am journaling, I am writing down my thoughts and experiences from time I spend in prayer and studying the word of God. I often find clarity after journaling. I encourage you to try this. The Holy Spirit will speak to you. Be ready to write down and pray over it and seek confirmation. Give it a try! After much time praying and reading the scriptures and a few good books, I have learned I do not have to pretend anything with my Father. I can be honest about my feelings and trust He “has compassion on his children for He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalms 103:13-14)
As I learn to know myself I have also learned I cannot control anyone in my family (though I have tried) or any circumstances around me (though I wish I could). I can only control myself. I still have doubts, and often feel fear and anxiety trying to find its way back into my heart, but when that happens, I go back to the scriptures and I like to meditate on this verse: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Why is it important to know yourself and know your own spirit? I believe it is because I can manage my spirit better. I can learn to say “No,” and not take on more than I can handle. I can also be OK with asking for prayer and help when I need to and not feel bad about it.
Get to know your children by simply asking questions that invite their day into yours. Not just inquisitive questions, but questions that are insightful. I have been encouraged in truly finding the time to listen to my children, even if it is about topics I am not particularly interested in, like the game Fortnite, or the TV show they are into. I encourage you to listen, ask questions, and connect. Let them share what they want to share, and simply take interest in what they are interested in. I have to confess, it has not been easy for me to do that, but I keep working at it. The same goes for my husband. I ask questions, listen, and connect with his heart. I have realized I must give first! If I want the connection with my family to deepen, I need to take the first step.
At times, I have asked myself: “What about me? Who will take time to get to know me?” and if you have had the same question cross your thoughts, let me share something that gives me hope – “Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good-measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38
I am sharing thoughts and impressions from my personal times of reading and praying. These are things I have learned through the pain of feeling overwhelmed and unable to face the challenges in my relationships. I encourage you to go after God and find your answers and peace of mind by trusting that God is bigger than all your issues, imperfections and shortcomings. I am sharing principles and things I wish I knew ten years ago. I have been on a journey of prayer and a lot of reading, but above all I have been on a journey to come to know my Savior Jesus Christ, who redeemed me and reconciled me to the Father. My hope is to know Him as He already knows me. I would also like to share that while the strategies to communicate and connect with my family have been very helpful, I have discovered that prayer and faith surpasses them all.
Through faith and prayer I can see my family through the eyes of God, and I can love them unconditionally as God loves me! That is powerful!
Here are some scriptures I like to read when I pray for my family. God bless you!
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Suggested book: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
“Only those who value and understand themselves can value and understand others. Only those who can communicate honestly with themselves can communicate honestly with others.” Danny Silk
“Almost all problems in the spiritual life stem from a lack of self-knowledge.” st Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection
“Our wisdom…consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion