Editor’s note: This week marks National Family Week. In honor of this and the usual family gatherings taking place this week around the Thanksgiving table, we think it’s a great opportunity to explore the call to family and its impact on work and economics.
This week you’ll hear from Hugh Whelchel regarding the family’s historical role in fostering religious liberty; from Anne Bradley as she dives into how parents can guide their kids in their calling; and from Elise Daniel on how strong families create more prosperous states.
Today we kick things off with Lizzie Moyer’s quick look at how God uses our families to shape us into who he has created us to be.
My husband is a dreamer; I’m the realist.
He’s from the North; I’m from the South.
He’s an extrovert; I’m an introvert.
His straight, blonde hair is clean cut and short; my brunette curls are long and untamable.
He likes numbers; I’m an English major and lover-of-words.
Our personalities are almost completely opposite.
God has a sense of humor, doesn’t he? I never thought I would marry a blonde.
Believe it or not, it works quite well.
More than picking up each other’s odd habits and quirky sayings, we are undoubtedly becoming better versions of ourselves.
Will is becoming a better listener; I am more confident and speak up more often.
Will is learning how to mince garlic and spiralize zucchini; I’m learning the starting line-up of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
Will is starting to use a calendar; I’m learning to embrace spontaneity.
In these unexpected, beautiful ways, we are establishing a little family, serving one another with our gifts, living out our comparative advantages, and ultimately reaching new levels of flourishing every day.
The First Family
Family is a God-ordained unit that dates back to the Garden of Eden.
God established the first family between Adam and Eve before the Fall, then commanded them to multiply.
God saw that, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).
He created Eve, presented her to Adam, and then he “blessed them.”
And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
The creation of the first family established complementary companionship where we can serve one another with our unique, specific gifts. This exchange happens within family and in any relationship.
God established this complex interdependency so that we may better serve and learn from one another. We are individuals influenced by those closest to us, especially family.
I get my curls and sense of humor from my dad.
I have a compassionate heart and love for hospitality because of my mom.
My sister has taught me assertiveness and a great sense of style.
Will now pays more attention to detail. I now think more innovatively and entrepreneurially because of him. He and I are both learning from each other’s families, too.
These things and many more bleed into every area of my life, making me a better employee, friend, and neighbor.
The unique microcosm of family plays a significant and undeniable role in shaping who we become.
How God Shapes Us through Our Families
With those closest to us also comes conflict.
In God’s perfect design, family is a supreme agent for sanctification, which can be unbearably painful at times.
God created us for community, and the most intimate earthly relationships we have are family. While broken, they are redeemed.
Constantly readjusting my outlook from a consumer to servant, I have to remind myself that showing God’s love and serving those closest to me – as hard as that can be at times – is an act of stewarding what God has given me and choosing to make decisions that please him.
This often means swallowing my pride and preferences to serve my husband.
It demands I love my family when I might think they are unlovable.
It means letting God use my unique gifts to fulfill his plan, not my own.
In doing so, God is using my familial relationships – family of origin, my husband, and my in-laws – to teach me to be more like him and to make me a better partner in bringing about his kingdom.
Families are a beautiful, broken result of the Fall. They’re hard and messy and glorifying and joyful.
Ultimately, God has the power to use family in our lives to make us more like him. Sanctification transforms our work and our relationships.
I am a better person today for the family that surrounds me, both old and new.
I have to believe that is a sweet picture of the flourishing God had in mind when he designed family.