I don’t know about you but I sometimes am intrigued by the “what does this color say about you” types of tests that you so often see on social media. I don’t buy half of it and often find myself feeling more curious about how they can know what they claim to know about you. But, I will admit, I think that it is interesting. However, having worked for some time in a corporate security position, I don’t take them very often, I do not forward junk emails, I usually don’t even read them and I am skeptical of getting them from people. So, when I got an email from a friend that was titled “50 Things to Ask Your Kid Instead of How Was Your Day,” I was like, “Oh, here we go!” (sorry Carmin). But because of my current position in Kid’s Ministry, I thought that I would check it out anyway.
I am SO glad that I did. There are some great questions in that article like, “What made you smile today?” and “Did you tell anyone Thank You?” Can you imagine the conversations that questions like this could start? We ask our kids these questions to get a window into their day. Being intentional about the kinds of questions we ask our kids could open the door to an actual conversation or at least a story about something that happened to them today. If you have kids like some of mine, that would be amazing! Often all I hear from my teen is, “good” “fine” or “alright I guess,” so an actual story would be a new thing from him. Of course, then you have my elementary aged ones who sometimes just talk and talk and at the end I really have no clue what they were talking about, but it seemed happy and at least they wanted to share with me, right?!
This list made me think about how I could implement these questions with my own kids to have better conversation. As I was reading through them, I found it interesting what some of the questions made me think about myself. How often do I stop and ask myself any of these questions? What would it do for me as a person, a friend, a spouse and a parent if I thought through my day in a way that would be a “report” or a “replay” to someone else the way that we want our kids to do with us? Would I be happy with the way I had managed myself all day? Would I have been an example for Jesus in my day to day? Would I be able to report that I had made someone smile?
I am often taken with how God speaks to me through what I am working to teach my kids and the kids here at Asbury. I think as adults we often forget to think of ourselves in the same ways we think of our kids. Instead we say to ourselves, “I’m an adult now and so all of the things I choose to do are up to me” or “that doesn’t relate to me” or “I don’t have to answer to anyone.” But in reality we do. We answer to God each and every day, whether we give him one word answers and blow him off, like a teen, or if we share a run-on story full of joy about nothing much, like an elementary aged kid or if we ignore Him and don’t communicate at all. He knows, He’s there.
Yes, I believe that He is gracious, He is kind, He is loving – all the things we want to be as parents. But, He also has high expectations of us and He is listening to all that we say and aware of all that we do. I picture Him asking all the right questions to get all the right answers from us. He listens, He cares and He wants to hear our hurts. He also asks us things like, ”Did you make someone smile today?” and “Did you help someone today?” and “When did you take time to talk with me today?”
I believe what he tells us in Ps 46:1 that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” But I believe that He wants so much more from us and for us, than just to be our emergency 911 call when we are in trouble.
In Galatians 5:22-25 it gives us an example of how we are meant to live. It says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Those who belong in Christ…wait that’s you and me, if we profess to be Christians. We are called to these characteristics? Oops!…You mean even when your air conditioner goes out on a hot day or when you get a hole in your roof and even when someone drops a board on your face (Sorry Dad)? Yes, Crista, even then.
I personally believe that part of the reason he calls us to these characteristics and to serve others is so that we can get over ourselves. When I am focused on helping a friend, I am not worried about my own issues and concerns and that is the point! It is what living in community and the Christian life is all about. Recently, one morning I was reading in Matthew 10 and I love the way that the Message translation puts it. This chapter is Jesus giving directions to his new disciples and He says, “Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them the kingdom is here,” “You have been treated generously, so live generously” later on in vs 19-20 it says “And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.” And then in vs 38-39 it says this powerful nugget, “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”
God is telling us as his disciples just to go, be engaged, be with our neighbors, get over our selfish tendencies and put Him first. Then He will do the rest, including giving us the right words to say. I love near the end of the chapter when he says this, “This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.” An apprentice to Jesus, yes please!
So friends, when you think back on your day today, take a moment to “report” to your Father about what you did today. Think it through and see if there is a story you can tell that will bring Him joy. Did you start small and give someone a cool cup of water, did you talk to someone new, or do you have a BIG story to tell? Either way, I know that our Father will just be happy to have talked with you. He will be thrilled at the growing relationship that occurs when you connect and share with Him. He will be proud if asking yourself one of these questions helps you to change your behaviors and think in a way that puts others first. He will be delighted if you stepped out of your comfort zone and connected with someone else today.
~Submitted by Crista McKenzie, Kids Ministry Director