Has Family Become My Idol?

I’m going through a bit of an emotional crisis so I’m hoping to pour a few things out to you.  It’s okay to do that now, isn’t it?  We’ve known each other awhile, haven’t we? 

{If you’re new here, let me fill you in.  I’m a hot mess.  There, you’re caught up!}

Awhile back Ann was wondering when our children might be ready for hard truths.  And I’ve been thinking about that.  I’ve been thinking about how we insulate our children (for good reason) from hard things and dangerous things and scary things and unhealthy things.  And we wrap our arms around these little people and pull them close and whisper in their sweet little ears that we will protect them, keep them safe, and do our very best in parenting them.  We watch their chests rise and fall – even when they are well past the baby stage – in the peacefulness of their slumber and we say to ourselves this is the most important job I have ever done, and with everything that it within me, I promise I will do it well.  And we do.

But this past weekend I had a thought.  We insulate our children to keep them safe and happy and secure.  But as a result, we also insulate ourselves.

I’ve been reading things.  Things that challenge me.  A few years back I read Raising Kids for True Greatness and it rocked my world.  And right now I’m working my way through Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted. These ways of thinking don’t easily mesh with the safe, insulated way most of us strive to raise our kids.

I’ve been reading other things.  Blogs, mostly.  Articles.  Commentaries.  Opinions.  There’s so much there that my brain hurts.  I’ve read about parenting and homemaking and healthy living and scratch cooking and one thing struck me.  It is so easy to make an idol out of even the most basic but worthwhile thing.  If we just pour ourselves into this {__fill in the blank with whatever worthy endeavor speaks to you__} we are taking care of ourselves/our families/our children in the best way possible.  Don’t they deserve that?  Why give them less?

And then I backed it up a bit.

We’re insulating our children, and as a result, ourselves.  We’re pouring our whole being into these little people and wrapping our whole world around them.  And with few outlets left to make a real impact elsewhere, I started to wonder.  Have we inadvertently made family our new idol?

Please stay with me.

I know the counter-argument.  This is our time of pouring into our families and our time will come later.  But the truth remains that none of our tomorrows are guaranteed, so aren’t we supposed to take full advantage of today?  And if we’re pouring everything into our children so that they can grow, get married, have children of their own, and then become too busy to look outside of their own insulated family, what difference are we really making outside of our own homes?

Goodness, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m tired.  I manage a home, I parent, I wife, I work.  I pray.  And as I’ve been running these thoughts around in my head I feel completely overwhelmed with the realization that, if I’m being completely honest with myself, my reach doesn’t go far beyond my family.  I also admit I have no energy left to push those boundaries out any further.  I feel defeated.  I wonder if, in all my hard work and dedication and focus, I’ve accidently made my family into my idol.

And it makes me wonder even further – I’ve insulated my children.  I’m keeping them safe.  But is that the right thing to do?

I don’t know.

How do you balance parenting, security, and making an eternal impact?  How do we cherish these sweet little blessings in our home and wrap our minds around the gift of family while stopping short of turning them into an idol?  Or, maybe you disagree with all of this? I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. Shari Lynne posted on 08/05/2014 12:28 PM
    Awww I just love this Kristina! Honestly I went through a phase while raising children when my family became my WHOLE WORLD. I think it's normal for us as Moms to want to isolate our babies from this crazy world. It's our job to do so too.

    I too came to a point when I needed to be careful that my family didn't become my idol either. But what is so wonderful about your post is that you recognize that it COULD turn into an idol. Being aware of this just shows how sensitive your spirit is toward the things of God....OTHERS. :D

    Great post Kristina!
    Have a blessed week!
    1. Kristina Slaney posted on 08/05/2014 07:44 PM
      @Shari Lynne I'm glad I'm not unique in this journey! I appreciate your perspective and that you've walked this road thoughtfully too. It's such a balance, isn't it? I totally agree we want to isolate our babies but I'm not sure I would go so far as to say I agree that it's our job to do that. To care for them, exercise good judgement, ensure reasonable safety...yes. But when do we go too far? I don't want to bubble - wrap them. I'm really hoping more mamas weigh in and that we can get a good conversation going around this!
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