As I sat at the breakfast table a good many weeks ago I had a thought. Lynn and I had just finished our devotional in the Psalms (thank you, Dr. Keller – see the Resources tab) and it was a quiet moment. I looked at her eyes and realized she was reading the back of the cereal box. And I had a thought. I made a connection. I would like to think it was God who gave me this thought through the Holy Spirit. I like the thought of God speaking to my heart although I’m not very good, yet, at listening to Him. But that’s a blog for another time.
There we sat and I had a thought. There is a lot of talk these days about families who sit around the table for meals, all fidgeting with their electronic devices of choice, texting, reading emails or playing games. One doesn’t have to look very far to find an expert or a radio DJ or a friend discussing how disconnected we are as families these days; how distracted we are by our electronics and how we should take steps to unplug or at least communicate directly. And I agree. Wholeheartedly, I agree. But that wasn’t my thought. Not yet.
I was reminded as Lynn read the back of the cereal box that, back in the day, when I was a kid, the cereal box was a distraction. There were games on the back. There were prizes inside. There was fancy lettering and bright colors and nice pictures to draw my young attention. And I would disconnect.
But even that wasn’t my thought. THIS was my thought: how absolutely insidious and sneaky and cunning is the lord of this world and his minions. How devious is Satan that he can and will use whatever is currently available to draw our attention away from our families, away from communication, away from intimacy. I can already hear you asking, “Intimacy at the breakfast table? Come on, Greg!” I understand that using a meal as an intimate moment to speak life and hope into our children or our spouse is a foreign concept to most of us. I was certainly not good at it when my children were young; I’m stepping on my own toes here. I am well aware there are lunches to make and homework to grab and commutes to drive and sports and, and, and … AND I can almost hear Satan letting out a snarky chuckle. He’s got one of God’s best and wholesome creations, the family, spinning like a platter on a stick in jeopardy of any moment crashing to the floor in a million tiny shards.
I realize I can’t know your family situation. I can’t know the condition of your marriage. What I do know is that intimacy in our families is a skill. Learning to get to the deep knowing and being known is a skill. It can be learned. It takes practice and it takes intentionality. It requires vulnerability, transparency and honesty. It requires the HEARTFELT desire to acquire the skill and then dependence on God for the fruit of your work. Knowing and being known is a Desire of the Heart. It’s God-given and well worth the effort.
Footnote: Lynn wasn’t really reading the cereal box – she says she was trying to figure out who the cartoon characters were from a popular kids’ movie. Apparently we’re not as “up” as we need to be on grandkid stuff. Still … distracted?