Love is all about sacrifice, right? And the New Year about setting our goals for how we are going to do better? Well, let me challenge parents to find a balance with their families–and spouses with each other–this year.
God created pleasure for our good pleasure, but there is a straight and narrow to every aspect of life. The adage, “Too much of a good thing, isn’t good for you,” may not be in the Bible, but it’s certainly often a scriptural idea. Take the two extremes on the view of pleasure, for example:
Some think that all pleasure should be sought all the time. Life is about continually gratifying desires. The other extreme believes that all pleasure should be avoided all the time. Life is about continually denying desires. On the one hand, pleasure can lighten the heavy heart, connect relationships, and bring satisfaction to life. On the other hand, denying–or sometimes, delaying–gratification, develops character, and an appreciation for people and/or possessions, and promotes perseverance.
But the idea is to live the balance of these two views, because too much of either extreme can be destructive.
The same is true of self-sacrifice. Moms and Dads can so easily overextend themselves in the name of providing for their families physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-beings. Yet, the stress and time demands of trying to provide for everyone else, often means that parents neglect their own needs. (Notice I didn’t say wants, though there is a case for these too.) For too long, there wasn’t time for Mommy to exercise, or money in the grocery budget to buy certain health foods for lunches at work. Obviously, Mommy’s health suffers then, and consequently, she’s not at her optimal to keep pouring into family. This is when even well-meaning and enjoyable self-sacrifice can become detrimental.
While it is not license for Grown-up-Time to become a 24/7 right to the neglect of all else, families function best when everyone’s needs are met, including the parents. And we can model for our children how to both care for themselves and their families in the balance that God desires for each of us, so that our lives can truly glorify Him. He really did create pleasure for our good pleasure. We don’t need to avoid it all cost, and neither should we indulge, neglecting all else. But there is a straight and narrow that we’ve been called to walk, balancing godly pleasures with self-sacrifice that elevates the whole family.