FIERCELY FIND YOUR FAMILY IDENTITY
Our family identity is in the being, not the doing. Our family identity is in the connecting, taking the time, having the conversation, and investing in each other. That is the legacy we’ve been passed and the legacy we hope for the future.
So often, we get caught up in what our plans are, how we will entertain ourselves, what plans will make our life more enriched. But that is not who we are. And as much as we often get caught up in the “look at all the so-and-sos are doing” conversation, it boils down to “that’s just not us.” For us, coloring in a coloring book next to each other is enough, walking the neighborhood, reading, jumping in a pool, eating with each other. It’s enough. And I would argue, it may be more than enough.
The legacy we have been passed down is this: love. Deep, serving, authentic, fun, and simple love. That type of love is the root and the anchor of our family, the Larson family, and it resides in the simplicity of our life. It is not overly-busy or over-committed, and often (to be honest), boring. And that’s okay. The busyness of life overtakes those moments where love tanks could be filled. When we start to fill our calendars to the brim, keep up with the Jones’, go, go, do, and go some more, we miss it. We miss the changes along the way. We don’t want to miss the changes, the growing, the simplicity of life. We want to take the time and make the time.
We're all busy. And we all get to choose what we value most. And for us, that’s the Father in Heaven and that’s family.
We had nothing to do this morning, and because the kids are on Fall Break, I felt the pressure to go out and “do” something. I see flights being boarded on Instagram, Legoland being explored, and I see our kids in the living room under a blanket fort. I couldn’t help myself to feel the pull of wanting more. So, we went for a walk. I know, how boring, right? But then, as I watched them cross the bridge toward the park, I realized this was it. This is who we are and this is our family identity, where the time is slow and space is wide to be free and themselves. We spend the time being with one another. We notice the small things, the small changes, the intricacies, and the details. Our daughter’s walk is changing, our Judah’s laugh is more robust. And Samuel wants in on the action. Their play is sweeter, their tone of voices is kinder, and they are running faster.
May I encourage you to resist the desire to find your family identity in someone else’s life? Their life is theirs and I challenge you to fiercely find yours. Own it, nurture it, and pursue it. Getting caught up in someone else’s greener grass is a trap for the discontent. Scrolling through the pages and pages of Disneyland, waterparks, vacation trips will eat you alive when your life is right here, at home. It’s there where your family is desperately longing for you to embrace them, to choose them in the here and now. Our family identity is in the long walks, the bike rides, the go fish, and the holding hands. The just being that will root the future legacy, it will root your children back to your family.
To be closely acquainted with our own family identity is something for not only you as the parent and the future generations but for our kids as they interact with other families. So when they go to a friend’s house or they are part of conversations on the playground, or they are faced with trials or struggle, they will run back there to the identity that you’ve sown. They will be anchored in something tangible, that they know that no matter what happens, no matter what people say or do, they have a home and a family, that when life gets messy or confusing, they are rooted in love.
What does your family identity look like? Maybe it’s a weekly game night, maybe it’s a hike every weekend, maybe an ice cream treats after every Christmas program or a Bible story before bed. Or maybe it’s none of those, and it’s just holding hand before every meal, or speaking encouraging words to one another over breakfast. Whatever it is that makes your family yours, embrace it, give to it fully. It will bring stability and thanksgiving, appreciation for what we have and not what we don’t. It will draw each other closer as the years roll on and the tides change because you invested in creating a family identity.
Talk about it with your kids, your spouse. Talk about what it is that makes your family unique and special. Create a list and then walk it out, beam from it, be committed to investing in your kids and your life as it is, and if there are things that need a shift, do so and just be who you really are. Because God designed us to be uniquely different from one another and one family to the next, and as we perpetuate that gift, the former slippery slope of comparison will suddenly become not so slippery.