My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – James 1:19
We believe this was written by James, the brother of Jesus and this important passage provides such wisdom for how we deal with one another in our relationships. Today, I want to share three things about focusing on what truly matters; our relationship with others.
#1 SAYING NO = SAYING YES TO THE THINGS THAT MATTER
It is so important for us to learn to say no. How can you be in God’s Word when you’re too busy to know God’s Word? We can get so busy that we don’t have time to listen. We’re all working on our “to-do lists,” but are we making time for the things that matter most?
I often feel for young families today with all of the pressures they face! Our son and daughter are both married with young children and have shared with me the guilt they have experienced when they don’t give in to the pressures to provide as many extracurricular activities for their children, as they possibly can. It puts a lot of stress on a family. Everything cannot have the same weight of importance in our lives, we must prioritize our time and that often means saying no in order to say yes to the things that truly matter. What are the things that matter most to you?
#2 SLOWING DOWN = LESS ANGER
James says, be quick to listen, be slow to speak, be slow to anger. I have found that it’s usually when I am so stretched and overwhelmed that I tend to get angry. My fuse shortens and I find myself frustrated because I cannot get it all done. When you’re stretched and running so hard, it’s easier to get angry, because we forget the things that really matter.
#3 AN INTENTIONAL DECISION
Marsha and I have shared this story in the past, but when I think about prioritizing relationships, I cannot help but reflect on this pivotal moment in our lives as a young family.
Marsha and I were both working and had two young toddlers at the time. Evenings were an incredibly stressful time for us. We were all running on empty and it felt as if we were all fighting against one another.
We, finally decided we’d had enough and something had to change! This was not the way we wanted to live and so we made an intentional decision to create a positive nighttime routine. For us, this meant creating one on one time with each of our children. We would recount the day with them and then have a time of prayer before bed. This was also when I began asking my children this nightly question, “Do you know why I’m the luckiest Daddy in the world? Because I have you!” Sometimes they needed to be reminded and sometimes it was me who needed the reminder, but it helped us all to remember. This simple act did not take much time at all and it revolutionized our family life and the time we had together. It moved us past anger and exhaustion. Sometimes, we forget the things that matter; to be there, to listen, to be slow to speak and slow to anger.