When I was a kid growing up in a small Indiana town, my father would send me to the local market to buy a loaf of bread. Sometimes I would pass an old man sitting on a city bench with my dollar bill flapping in the wind. If he were to ask me “where are you going with that money?” I would have had a ready answer. “I am going to the store to buy a loaf of bread for my father.” I knew exactly what I was doing with the money because I knew exactly what my mission was. In the same way, we should be just as clear in our answer when someone asks, “What are you doing with these children that God, the Father, has given you?”
When we set out to establish our family direction, we hear voices. Our friends, our extended family, our neighbors, our pop culture, our school, and even our church all have an opinion of where you should go. As we strike out on the path of establishing our own family identity, we need to be able to answer two questions. First, “What do you think the voice of Jesus is saying to you at this point in your family life in the context of the challenges and opportunities you are facing?” Second, and just as critical, “What indicators give you some measure of confidence that it is indeed Jesus speaking to you rather than someone or something else.”
When Rhonda and I set out to discover our family identity, we had no desire to elevate ourselves or our family. Our desire was to elevate Christ. Our desire was to elevate God’s Word as our guide for faith and practice, our guide for marriage and parenting, our guide for developing our family identity. When we did this, our family identity of loyalty, service, giftedness, and character found us. It wasn’t something we specifically went looking for. We soon developed the phrase, “This is what the Lehmans do” to help our kids understand the type of family we were becoming as we followed God’s leading. This was not designed as a point of pride or a judgment on other families, it simply became a way to explain our actions to our children.
May I encourage you to think about this topic with your family. What identifies you as a family? Do your children know what habits, what character qualities are important to Mom and Dad? Do they know there is a biblical basis for the family decisions you are making? Open the Scriptures, ask God to guide you, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit inside. Then follow where God leads.