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Guarding Against a Life of Complacency
Our world today is busy, loud, and connected - more than it ever was. Most of us are living lives that are bombarded with stressful "opportunities" every single day whether we like it or not. We're all going, going, going; and need somewhere safe to land.
And our home (our family) is supposed to be that place. Our safe haven where we can quiet our minds, rest our bodies, re-energize, and connect with the hearts that are most important to us.
But with divorce rates over half, the home isn’t always what it’s supposed to be. Many spouses are working late as an excuse to avoid the fight waiting at home. And kids are picking up more activities after school to escape all the tension just a little longer.
For many families, the home has become an all-out war zone where each member takes their corner as they try to survive the blows sailing their way.
This is a heart-wrenching reality for so many. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are two behaviors that we must fight against in our families at all costs. Those are selfishness and complacency. This post will be focused on the latter, but to read further about the dangers of selfishness in the family read my post: 3 Keys to Overcoming Selfishness in Your Life and Family.
Complacency is so corrosive in a family because of it’s subtle nature. It seems harmless. It’s very definition even sounds benign: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.
When we are complacent, we step into a zone of vulnerability. And I don’t mean the good kind of vulnerability where we allow ourselves to be opened up to new experiences and share our inner world with the outside world.
Nope, I’m talking about the vulnerability that a war general would define as a weakness or open spot for the enemy to come trooping in and attack.
Complacency is simply the feeling that it’s all good in my house. Or there’s no problem in my marriage. Or I have a great relationship with my kids.
It’s not that we should run around alarmed or looking for an attack, but we shouldn’t be passive either. Yes, it might be “all good” but that doesn’t mean we get to just recline in our quiet pleasure with our hands crossed behind our heads and our hat resting over our faces.
Anything worth having is worth working for. And our family is worth working for.
What do I mean by “working for?”
It means to be actively and continuously looking for ways to be intentional about the relationships in your family. It’s just too easy to let them slip into average.
Complacency leads to discontentment
I know this from experiencing it myself. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and dated for almost 5 years before that. We started our relationship as young best friends and haven’t been apart from each other more than 2 weeks collectively over all that time.
We have always been extremely close – still are. But as we grew together and after our first two children, I began to become complacent in my marriage. Simply put, I took my marriage for granted. I was lounging in my quiet pleasure and security.
Though my husband wanted to do more together – without the kids – I didn’t think it was necessary. After all, we had a great relationship. It’s not like we were “working” on anything. But over the years, the complacency transformed into discontentment. And I wasn’t as excited about Team Us anymore. I wasn’t where he was.
After praying about it, God showed me that we both contributed to this point in our lives by not making the happiness and joy in our marriage a priority. Honestly, we didn’t think we had to. We thought we were just “that good.”
But none of us are. Joy comes as a result of consistent and intentional actions. Isn’t your family worth it? I know mine is. And I’m so grateful that we saw our fault and
were able to fix it are still working on it. We should never stop working. We never get “fixed”.
Having intentional happiness in your family isn’t necessarily hard work. But it is work. And it’s worth it. After all, you love each other, right?!?
But you as a team, have to decide to go for the big guns and not settle for the average home life. Let’s go live our lives in High Definition or even 4D! My husband says that should actually be 4K but I'm not a techie... you get the picture (no pun intended)... Let's live a higher quality life!
Here are 4 easy habits for you and your family to implement that will help exchange the complacency for happiness, joy, and peace in your home. Don’t ever settle for average again:
Habit #1: Have “eyes only on you” time with each member of your family – every day.
Tricia Goyer shared this from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.
If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Start out small with 10 minutes for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.
Habit #2: Designate “unplugged” time for your family as a whole.
I know my family is guilty of being too plugged-in. But making deliberate time to look up from the screen and actually see each other is precious time spent. I’m not a fan of telling people how to spend their unplugged time because every family is unique and flows differently. But here’s a few suggestions:
- Take a walk together after dinner – or even in the morning.
- Have family reading time. You can all read your own books or read one aloud as a group.
- Eat dinner together. This is a popular one, but doesn’t always work for every family.
- Play games. And this one, I’ll make an exception on the electronics. Game systems today are a great way to bring everyone together, as long as you’re all playing one game together.
- Do a daily family devotion time.
- Put a giant puzzle together.
- Do a project together. This one is excellent for developing leadership skills in your kids.
Habit #3: Have an Open Door/No Freak Out policy with your kids.
This is so important at every age and stage with your children. They need to know that no matter what they bring to you – you can handle it. I remember my mom being somewhat of a Freak Out Mom, whenever I told her shocking things. Sorry, Mom. Maybe because they were shocking, but she learned to get better over time. But honestly, in the beginning I probably held back way more than I should have because I was afraid of her response.
We always want our children to come to us first with any and everything they’re dealing with. Don’t open the back door exit for them to go out and get advice from God knows who. You also want the opportunity to give wisdom to your child the way you want them to receive it. So keep a pillow close by and when the conversation’s over, slam it over your face and go to town with a good scream, cry, or even a laugh! Just don’t let them hear you.
And you may be asking yourself how this applies to getting rid of complacency in your family. It’s simply creating an environment of safe and open communication that gets the conversation going - which is what's lacking in today’s families. And as a parent, your older child and teenager will bring things to your attention that you’ll be thanking God they did because in the hands of another person who knows where that conversation can lead if left in the hands of another kid. Plus, all this conversation is sure to keep you on your toes!
Habit #4: Plan family vacations or stay-cations throughout the year.
We all have to manage a budget, so some of us can realistically afford only one vacation a year – if that. But regular time off throughout the year is vital for our health and our family’s. So if you can't vacate, planning a few additional stay-cations are essential for every family.
This is super easy with younger children because it doesn’t take much for them to get excited. My husband and I love the surprise approach. We just choose different activities like going to the beach, pool, park, movies, party, and don’t tell them until they get there. Well actually, it’s a little hard to surprise them with the beach (bathing suits), but you get the point. They usually see where we pull into and start cheering as we get closer. I think it’s more fun for us than the kids.
But when you have older kids and teenagers, I would suggest collaboration on the planning. They want to feel heard and appreciated. Let them brainstorm for ideas on how to spend your time off. You can even let them go online to research what’s going on in your city. What ever you and your family choose will be great as long as everyone stays committed and connected throughout.
In what ways have you fallen into the trap of complacency? How did you overcome it? Share yours methods for keeping your family connected! Leave a comment and share!
Hi! I'm Brandi Michel and, not too long ago, I was that frazzled, tired, and overwhelmed mom. Having a family has ALWAYS been my dream, but when it happened - I didn't know how to actually enjoy my blessing of having a family.
That is, until I learned how to tap into a grace that allows me to live in the beautiful, mundane, and even sometimes crazy moments of life. To not just love and take care of my family but to be truly present and enjoy them, too. The goal of Family Felicity is to help you do the same!
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