Our family went on a vacation last month. Now that may not sound like a big deal to you, but for me, vacation has never been a priority.
As a child, the only (and I do mean only) vacation we ever went on as a family was to the annual state convention and the General Assembly of the Church of God of Prophecy. For me, driving to the assembly in Cleveland, Tennessee was more exciting that flying to Paris for a week!
But last month, standing in a little beach house with the waves of God's ocean slapping His earth outside my sliding glass door, I began to ponder what really matters.
First, God matters. More than anything else. Period.
Second, family matters. And to have a close, healthy family does not "just happen" because no one has issues and everybody "just gets along with each other."
No. Having a strong family unit requires intentional effort in several very important areas.
1. An intentional decision has to be made. We are determined that our family is a top priority in our lives. We will say "yes" and "no" to whatever it takes to keep it that way.
2. It will require intentional time. If we don't set a time for family, everything else will take it from us. Before we know it, childhood years and elderly parents or grandparents are gone. Time lost, that we cannot get back. Set in stone the dates your family goes on a vacation together. Try not to fill that time with busyness, just be with each other. Set a dinner time together once a week or once a month. Be creative by planning games and conversations. Just do what you love… together.
3. It will require intentional sacrifice. Family time is expensive. Prioritize a special family account. It is a financial investment worth making.
4. It will require intentional forgiveness and relational effort. Every family is dysfunctional in some way because all of us have some kind of an "issue." Strong, close families happen because we consider the relationship important enough to walk in continual forgiveness. We have to learn to give each other room to be who we are - weaknesses and all.
Loving like this is such a risk because as time goes on you learn those who are closest to you - those you love the most - can hurt you the deepest. If we choose to save ourselves from the risk and the pain, we will have missed the deepest of loves… life's greatest gift.
So today, I encourage you… Make the very intentional effort to have the family God intended for you to have.
Now, it's time to go on vacation!