Redefine Fun

Fun—it’s the number one thing I hear parents, and unfortunately myself, ask children. “Did you have fun at your friend’s house?” “Did you have fun at church?” “Did you have fun at school?” This constant reiteration of the word ‘fun,’ I believe, is what gives our children an entitled attitude that whatever they do should be fun. 

The question is how we are defining fun. We have recently addressed this as a ministry. We play games. We eat. We have a lot of fun. But no one is truly growing or changing. What is the point of doing ministry if change isn’t happening and everyone is staying lukewarm or, worse, becoming in bondage every day? What is the point?    
We have decided to redefine fun. Fun as the world thinks of it and as we generally use it in a conversation is entertainment. The questions we are actually asking our children are: “Were you highly entertained? Were you pleased? Did you feel enjoyment while you were here? Was the entertainment sufficient for you to stay engaged?”   
Parents, if we rephrased what we are asking our kids like that, we would stop asking it. Really, we don’t give a rip. Do we really care if our kids have fun? Do we want them to be constantly entertained and feel entitled to be entertained a certain way? What should we truly be reiterating? Should we be driving home the value of each relationship even when it’s not fun? Or learning to be still with someone, reading a book or a Bible next to a friend, or praying with one another?
I don’t think all of that entertaining stuff is fun. But every day in our society, we spend more and more money trying to increase the entertainment thrill. We are building bigger rollercoasters, a higher waterslide, or a new amusement park. We make new video games and more highly action-packed movies. Our society is constantly searching for more. They are searching for more fun. “Entertain me. Make me feel good. Take me out of my reality and put me someplace where I have pleasure all the time.” I don’t know about you, but that is not what I actually want for my family or my children. That type of fun is not okay with me.          
As a ministry and as a family, we are redefining fun. What is fun? I’ll tell you what fun is. Fun is praying for someone and seeing them get healed. Fun is praying for someone who is blind and seeing their eyes open and them being able to see. Fun is publishing a book you know is going to change the world. It may only change one person, but that one person will change the world through it. Fun is smiling at someone who hasn’t had a smile all day and is having a bad day and letting them know someone cares about them. Fun is not being in bondage to needing to be entertained or entitlement. This is fun.   
True fun is encountering the love of God and bringingheaven to earth. That is how we are defining fun from now on: truly encountering the love of God and bringing heaven to earth and then spreading that love so everyone can participate in the fun we are having. We don’t need games and activities. Those are distractions from the opportunity to enjoy the presence of God. It’s a backup plan to encountering the Lord. We don’t need a backup plan. We need the presence of God more than ever in our homes, in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our ministries, and in our youth groups. We cannot stop short of encountering the presence of God. Now that is fun.    

Should I Get Married?

On December 22, I received a marriage proposal. It was a beautiful and wonderful night. All my family was there to celebrate. I cried. I was in shock! I had no idea. I was so excited! But after the dress was bought and the invitations sent, after the decisions had been made and money had been spent, three weeks before the big day, I made the bold decision to postpone our wedding.
The decision to get married is hard.
I always thought it would be easy.
That head-over-heels-in-love feeling helps you to float over all the hard stuff, all the doubt, all the what-ifs, all the hard questions. 

“Should I marry this person?” is a hard question.
It’s a decision that affects many: my future spouse, my immediate family, future generations, and me. This is a decision that impacts eternity. In light of that realization, how can I not want to make the right decision? 

The right decision.

Wow! It is so easy to get lost in the worldly trap of what if …?”
What-if questions can force you into confusion immediately if you don’t use them wisely.
What if I marry the wrong person?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if there is someone better out there for me, and I’m settling?
What if I wake up and don’t like the man I married?
What if I get married only to find out that my spouse doesn’t really like me?
What if I can’t meet the needs of my spouse, so he leaves me?
What if I get left by the one to whom I’m entrusting my heart and my life on this earth?
What if I wake up every day and regret my decision?
What if I wake up one day and want out?
What if my life turns out exactly like I dread it will?
What if I’m a terrible wife and mother?
What if I’m the problem?
What if? What if? What if?
My mind is exploding with what-ifs!
The questions run one after another like a sneaky, slimy sickness creeping its way into my body.
Living in the land of what-ifs is not living at all.
Doubt has been my biggest struggle in all of this.
What has it shown me?
At my very core, I don’t trust God fully in every area.
That hurts me to the depths of my soul to admit. But it’s true. I don’t trust God to protect me in a marriage. I want to build my own walls to hedge myself in so I can be my own personal valiant protector. Then if something goes wrong, I will feel safe because I controlled it all. Somehow my fake, self-preserving walls actually give me confidence that I will be okay.
How sad is that?
I have spent a lot of time processing thoughts and feelings about my future spouse and marriage, but the biggest thing that has been revealed is this: 

I don’t really trust God as much as I thought I did.

No wonder making decisions has been so hard! When you can’t trust God with your life, how can you feel confident that you will arrive at the right decision?!

The world tells you to follow your heart, but I have come to realize that I don’t want to follow my heart.
I want to lead my heart.

Leading my heart means that I have to trust God purposefully, overflow with Truth, and base my decisions on the Word of God.
It is easier to follow my heart and get lost in my emotions, but that results in my stability being based on the ups and downs of how I feel. If I were to follow my heart now, what would stop me from following it later if one day I awake to the frustration of not being pursued in my marriage or I believe the lie that I married the wrong man? If I start off a marriage by following my heart, what is to stop me from following my heart right out of my marriage when I am not happy with it?
No, thank you! I will lead my heart.
And that’s HARD, people!
It is easy to think it, a little harder to say it, but much harder to live it out.

Leading my heart means making decisions on purpose every day that align with God’s voice in the silent whispers and agree with His Word. Every day I need to decide that I will not be bound by the fear that desires to hold me back in life. 
I must guard my heart in all that I do and lead my heart in Truth even when I don’t feel like it. Let’s face it, it is easy to give up on standing firm in the Truth when you don’t feel like it. I do it all the time. 
But I’m done! I want to live my life being moved by the Spirit of God instead of basing my decisions on what I feel.
If I start leading my heart now, I can develop that muscle so it will be available for use whenever I need it, again and again. 

The fact is, the decision to marry someone should be hard. I think too many people walk into marriage without really seeing the big picture, but I can see it. I am aware of the enormity of this decision, and quite frankly, it scares me.
At the Bridal fair, as we scanned through the thousands of people in line, we realized that almost 70% of the couples would not even be married in five years!
I believe couples should spend time thinking about the future and really seeking the Lord in prayer to ensure this decision is the right one for them. This decision is weighty. It will carry on into eternity. It is a huge risk to walk into it without stepping over those butterflies and fluttery new-love emotions so you can have deep, meaty discussions and work through your baggage and fears. Why wait until after you are married to ask yourself if this decision was the best one?
My decision to postpone my wedding wasn’t easy, but honestly I think it’s good that I have been wrestling with this to the depths of the fiber of my being. Now I know what I’m signing up for: 

I am making a choice to stand beside someone even when he is at his worst. I am choosing to love someone even when I don’t feel loved in return.
No one going into marriage wants to believe there will be hard days. I have sought the advice of many counselors. I know marriage will be filled with amazing days and some hard times. I don’t want to be unprepared for the bumps or unsure that I married the right person because I know if I don’t prepare, those bumps could be fatal.
I desire to enter marriage fitted with the right armor for any battle that may be in front of us. I dream of being able to stand firm against the real enemy instead of my spouse. I yearn to dig deeper into the Bible instead of falling more in love with worldly reasoning. I aspire to live in overflowing, abundant life instead of settling for even the smallest sickness, for I know that sickness is the beginning of death. I crave unity because I know that even the smallest amount of strife is the beginning of division and division can end in divorce.
Marriage is a battleground because it is a perfect illustration of the way Christ loves the church. He is coming again to swoop up His bride for the most beautiful union! The enemy desires to destroy this image of the relationship between Christ and the church by driving nails of strife into the marriage between a man and a wife.

When we dig deep into our Father’s heart, He will direct our steps to that perfect match for each of us and then supernaturally equip us to live out our marriages in unity, not strife. 

The truth is that we can fight against each other or we can 
stand together and fight for unity!

No one wants to call off a wedding. It is so hard! But sometimes you have to stop working on the temporary—the wedding plans—to focus on what is lasting. I will walk into my marriage with full confidence and no fear.

My prayer is that sharing my painful journey in deciding about marriage will help you.