Let’s be honest. There are times when caffeine can be a mother’s best friend. Inevitably, the night you have to stay up all night with a sick child ends the same morning your other child has to be at an early morning practice – and you are responsible for bringing breakfast. That cup of tea or coffee (or chocolate bar) might get you through a day like that, but you can barely survive if the routine continues that way for days and weeks on end. To reach your “mom potential” and truly thrive, you have got to get a good night’s sleep on a semi-regular basis.
I am one of those optimists who firmly believes God wants His people to thrive. By thriving, I don’t necessarily mean you are wealthy or everything goes perfectly as you amble through life. To me there is a godly thriving that is so much more than that. It is the ability to take the gifts, tools and opportunities God gives you and your family and use them to glorify God and spread His Kingdom. This lifestyle is full of service , worship and faith sharing. Most importantly, it is a life full of meaning and purpose.
If your family rarely opens a Bible, hardly mentions God during the week, prays only at meals and can’t remember the last time you served someone or shared your faith, you may be in survival mode. Honestly, all of us have been and will be in pure survival mode at some point (most likely points) while we are raising our children. The very nature of having little ones with questionable immune systems and school, guarantees that. Those survival periods can even last for months and years depending on your circumstances. For most of us though, there will be breaks, many of them quite long when we could switch our families into “thrive”.
I encourage you to stop and take some really quiet time – alone and then with your spouse and finally your entire family. Are you so comfortable in survival mode you forget to switch back to thriving when you can? Have your children grown to an age where they can handle many tasks themselves, but you continue to micromanage to feel needed? Do you create situations so you are forced into survival mode unnecessarily? Do you fill your family calendar with activities – leaving little if any time to discover what God really wants your family to do with your time? Is survival mode actually more comfortable because then the expectations from God seem more manageable?
Switching your family into “thrive” mode can actually be invigorating. Start having family devotionals, find people who need serving and make a difference in their lives, ask someone to worship with you or tell them about God, search through the archives of Parenting Like Hannah and find some fun activities to do as a family while growing spiritually as well. There are so many little things you can do to begin switching your family into one who thrives as they live daily for God.
If you have been in survival mode for awhile now, don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to make a lot of drastic changes at once. Perhaps you can start with a Bible study and game night every weekend. Bake sugar cookies with your kids, take them to a new neighbor and invite her to church. Plan a fun activity to help your children develop a spiritual characteristic they need. Focus on one or two things at first and then add others as you become more comfortable in being a family who thrives in God’s Kingdom.
Thriving rarely happens by accident. If you want your family to thrive, you will need to be intentional about it. If you are sleep deprived, it may sound like the last thing you need or want to do. I encourage you to get a good night’s sleep and seriously consider switching your family into thrive. Your family will never be the same and your lives will be more fulfilling and meaningful than you could have ever imagined.