“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~Socrates
I have that quote written in my Bible near Philippians 3, along with the reminder that I need to prayerfully consider which values and goals control me as Paul talks about in that chapter.
That note got me thinking…
It’s easy for me to float along, thinking I’m doing ok but never actually taking the time to examine myself to make sure. I’ve often found myself frustrated only to realize that I’ve moved off-track because I was so stuck in the weeds of my daily life that I lost my way.
Have you ever felt that way?
The Apostle Paul had the pedigree of pedigrees, and an incredible resume to back that up and further reinforce his success in the ministry. Yet, for him, he counted everything as rubbish except for what he was doing towards his primary goal, which was to gain Christ and be found in Him. He went on to reinforce what drove him:
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (v 10-11)
He speaks of pressing forward, forgetting what is behind, and invites them to follow his example.
Based on what we read from Paul in the New Testament, I imagine he was regularly examining his life. He certainly instructed others to do so. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, he tells the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith. In I Corinthians 11, he instructed them to examine themselves before they partook of the Lord’s Supper.
So, tonight, I want to encourage you to examine yourself.
Over the last several years, I’ve changed the way I’ve talked about homeschooling and started calling it “Heart Schooling” instead. There’s a big reason for that. As Christian families, I believe we’re all called to be Heart Schoolers, regardless of what educational tool we choose to use, because we have the mission of bringing our children to Jesus and building deep, healthy relationships with them, which is exactly what Heart Schooling is all about. (If you aren’t familiar with the Heart Schooling term, David and I explained it in this podcast that you may want to check out.)
I’ve come to realize that there are several marks of a Heart Schooling family, and I encourage you to evaluate yourself honestly for these marks. For, even when you consider yourself to be a Heart Schooler, it’s easy to lose your way when you’re not regularly making sure you’re staying on track.
Here are the marks of a Heart Schooler. How many of them do you have? A Heart Schooler:
1. Recognizes Their Call. Do you recognize your call (as a Christian parent, your call is very clear,) and does the way you order your life and the way you engage with your children indicate that you recognize your call? Does that call influence every decision you make? If not, where have you gotten off-course?
2. Aligns Their Thinking With Their Call. It’s easy to give lip service to the call God has given you, but have you had the mindset shift that comes with truly aligning your thinking, your goals, the way you approach your days, and everything else in your life with that call? Friction melts away when your actions and thoughts are united. If your thinking isn’t aligned with your call, in what areas need to change how you think about things?
3. Refines their Vision with their Mission. We toss around words like “goals,” “vision,” and “mission” because formulating those are powerful ways to make sure your family is functioning effectively and you’re pressing towards the targets you’ve set. Clear family goals and purpose bring peace and unity—and makes decision-making so much easier. Have you discussed your unique family culture and goals with your family?
4. Focuses on the Relationships that Matter Most. You have the amazing opportunity to live with the very people God created to be in your family, and it’s important to focus on building those relationships while you have the chance. The relationships you build with your spouse and your children give you an incredible platform for ministry—not to mention the joy, love, and fun they bring to your life. Are you approaching your days with a focus on relationships or does your to do list or other interests show them that they are not nearly as important to you as other things are?
5. Realizes their potential as a parent. Parents are the single most impactful people in the lives of their children. Studies have shown that even among children who go to “traditional” brick and mortar schools, parental involvement is the biggest indicator of academic success. God has given you the opportunity to answer questions, shepherd hearts, have an endless supply of private jokes with, share experiences with, and to teach your children diligently to love God and love people in His name. Being a parent IS your superpower! Your children are desperate to have you deeply involved in their lives, and Heart Schooling parents take full advantage of that. Do you find yourself thinking your “just” a mom or dad? “Just” a homeschooler? I promise you, there’s nothing “just” about your role at all! What needs to change for you to truly realize your potential as parent?
6. Restores order to their home. Because a Heart Schooler has an “examined life,” order follows. The way you order your days, the way you feed your family, the way you educate your children, and so much more all fall in line under your mission and your vision for your family. A focused mission leads to a peaceful, organized home. Is your home chaotic or ordered?
7. Relishes every minute of the adventure. When everything’s aligned, every stage becomes your favorite. No guilt. No regret. No looking ahead and wishing for tomorrow. Is anything holding you back from relishing or cherishing every minute you’ve been given?
I encourage you to reflect on these marks. How did you do? Share your thoughts with my through email. I’d love to hear from you.
I’m very excited to walk through all this and so much more next week in the Heart School Parenting Summit in Greenville, SC. If your examination indicated that you could use some encouragement to get back on track, you should join us! It’s going to be a great time!