TRANSCRIPT: Good morning, Five Minute Families. The 20th anniversary of 9/11 was last week, and it was a day of reflection. Many of us remember those events – where we were and who we were with. Now, we have a large population that were either very young or not yet born, and they cannot fully relate to our experiences; they feel frustrated by the ‘never forget’ tagline because they do not remember. But, they can reflect on the stories, on the history, and on the reality of that day on their present day. We can all reflect on that day, and on this day we encourage you to reflect on reflecting.
What does that really mean? Reflecting. It is taking time to look at several factors in your life. One of those factors that intersect all areas is relationships. This morning let’s talk about the concept that we call ‘the relationship stutter step’. What happens when you walk along the path with someone – hand in hand – and you are out of step with each other? The walking isn’t as smooth as it could be. There is jostling and unnecessary extra movements and sensations all along the journey. Until someone stutter steps and puts you back in sync. Then, the walk becomes immediately easier and less troublesome. Here are some biblical examples:
Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
And, a summary of 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 “For just as the body is one and has many members … But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. … But God has so composed the body, … that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
Here’s an applicable example: loading up for a long trip which typically includes several questions – some asked several times, last minute agendas, and protests even of how and when things are being done. The process is rarely smooth, everyone is jostling against the next person, and if no one is willing to stutter step out of the chaos, everyone gets tossed about – with the person in the middle organizing the process getting quite a bit of the jostling force. The family begins to feel the frustrations and emotions running high. Then, someone just gets mad and fusses the most. Unfortunately, in our family, that overly frustrated person is usually me.
When we aren’t in step with those around us and we get frustrated by the uneven movements, or attitudes, or action of our family, it is harder to move forward without conflict. We must take to heart what Paul says in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, first, let’s discuss a couple of ideas to start out in unity:
- Make a plan. Luke 14:28 reminds us that we are to sit down and plan to make sure each detail has been considered.
- Share the plan with EACH person, including the younger kiddos. And, yes, this means you might have to repeat the plan multiple times to make sure each person heard it, but it will help keep unity in the long run.
Then, how does a Five-Minute Family stutter step if someone or multiple someones get out of sync:
- Breathe deeply when something or someone is out of step. Remember that “[a] soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
- Be flexible. Stutter step the plan by seeing what changes need to be made AND communicate that stutter step change to everyone “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
- Be kind when someone in out of sync. I wasn’t kind to my husband on our last packing adventure. I was the central go-to for all questions, attitudes, and making sure that items got packed when they needed to be packed. I wasn’t in a good mood to begin with and everything kinda fell to pieces. Thankfully, he adjusted how he was doing his end and I tried to adjust what I was doing. (In truth, he did better than I but at least we are trying – and trying together).
Families, the military practice for hours and hours to march in sync, and the stutter step is still needed. A moment’s distraction, a sad mood, or even simple confusion can cause a family member to step out of sync. Don’t beat yourself up if it is you, and definitely don’t take it out on the kids if it is them. And, if you mess up that, too, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and be grace-filled at every opportunity you are given. Thank you for joining us. We’d love to hear what you think, so please send us a comment at clearviewretreat.org. Be blessed!