What we read in books and online, what we watch on TV and on the internet, and pretty much any kind of content created anywhere is curated to show exactly what the creator wants you to see. This goes to an extreme on social media, where the pictures and videos we share are the highlights of our life experiences. But real life is something that happens in-between all those moments.
What we refer to as quality of life is a product of our real lives. It’s what people don’t see that matters. Sure, you can take fun pictures together at amazing locations and project an image of having a great quality of life, but you would only be fooling others. Those images would do nothing for you to actually be experiencing a good quality of life.
So I’ve been wanting to make a special kind of video for a while. It’s the kind of video that’s challenging to make. Why is that? It’s my best effort to show you our “real life” — those everyday habits and things that make life full and rich and purposeful. While I did my best to show it, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what real life is really like. And yet, in some ways, this I feel is one of the most important videos we have ever made.
Happiness is not the goal of a family. If happiness becomes the goal, then we will be disappointed each and every time we face big challenges in our family relationships. Likewise, quality of life is not the goal of a the family. If that were the case, then we will be disappointed whenever someone else apparently has a better quality of life than us, and we will chase after whatever thing or experience they have.
The goal of the family must be based on something more enduring, at the heart of what family is and what it was made for. You’ll notice in this video that we center our life around our faith, and the bedrock of that faith is the Bible, the inspired word of God. From the Bible we can base our life on not just what we perceive to be important, but on that which God has shown us to be of utmost importance. And when we do that, God’s blessing is upon the family and the results are a life full of joy, hope, love, purpose, fun, etc.
We have our kids say declarations of who they are before they head off to school each day. These declarations are not just positive thinking aimed to get positive results (although I do believe they also work that way), they are first and foremost biblical truths of who we are when we are in Christ, and these truths inform us on our core identity, no matter what other kind of nonsense we might hear. Someone asked us to post these declarations, so I am posting them here.
I am the head and not the tail.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
I have the mind of Christ.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
I am beautiful/awesome inside and out, full of the Holy Spirit.
I am blessed to be a blessing.
These declarations are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who we are in Christ, for the Bible is full of powerful truths the speak to our very nature. That’s why one of the most powerful things you can do, whether you are Christian or not, is to start reading the Bible each day. The Bible is no ordinary book — it is a compilation of extraordinary writings inspired by God over hundreds and hundreds of years.
I would recommend starting with the book of John and as you read, make a very real and heartfelt prayer to God to show you these truths. Then read some each and every day. If you do this, your life will never be the same.
Some people lament because their family is not like ours and they could never enjoy the same kind of results in their family. But it is not only possible, but it is inevitable if you practice these basics. The right foundations will give you the right results, even if it take time.