Monday, September 19, 2011

Intentional Family - Challenge Level Part I

Adapted from a lecture by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit

        What is your current challenge level as a Mom? What is your current challenge level in life? These aren’t questions we normally ask ourselves! We’re usually too busy to take the time to honestly evaluate where we’re at! But these simple questions have recently changed my life.

On a spectrum, there are 3 areas:
Under Challenged, Appropriate Challenge Level, and Dangerously Over Challenged.

        If we are under challenged, we are not bringing our best game to our families. If we are dangerously over challenged, we are setting an unhealthy example and once again not bringing our best to the table. The optimum place to be is just above the Appropriate Challenge Level where we are stretched and challenged, but not to the point of being overwhelmed and stressed.
        This post today is NOT about doing more. It is NOT about loading up your week with more activities and chaos. It’s NOT about feeling guilty that you don’t do enough. Please don’t for a moment think that this is all about becoming Super Mom who can do it all! The challenge level evaluation is an individual thing. An appropriate challenge level to me might look totally different than an appropriate challenge level to you.
        Looking at the challenge level chart, I was asked to place an “X” where my current challenge level was and an “*” where I do my best work. I placed my “X” high up in the “under challenged” section. I then placed my “*” at the bottom of the “Dangerously Over Challenged” section. I know that I operate best when I am just slightly above an appropriate challenge level, a place where I’m stretched and pushed a bit, but not to the point of breaking. And in that lecture, I was honest to say that in my life I was operating in an under challenged realm.
        I looked at a few areas in my life – physical, spiritual, parenting, and marriage. Physically I’ve known that I’m way under challenged and that’s why we decided a few months back that it was worth the investment to join a gym so that I could challenge my body physically, be a healthy example to my children, and gain more energy through a healthy life style. I thought it would be impossible to find the time to go work out, but it’s amazing how when something becomes a priority how the time is found!
        Spiritually I’ve felt very under challenged as well. I decided to take some steps to challenge myself spiritually this year by joining a Bible study and mentoring a group of college students. And I’ve known that I’m squeaking by with the bare minimum in some areas of my responsibilities as a wife and mother which is why I decided to cancel cable!
        The truth is that I’m not very disciplined. I know for me one of my biggest distractions is the television. I could be spending quality time with my husband in conversation, playing a game, or watching an occasional movie. I could be packing the kids’ lunches the night before so I’m not running around like crazy in the morning. But instead I’m watching television. I came home and told my husband that we needed to cancel cable. He agreed and our cable is gone. (Let me be clear in saying that we still have Netflix and can stream movies into our television, which we do. I am not against television at all.)

        If we are going to be intentional mothers, intentional wives, intentional children of God, then we need to honestly evaluate our lives and admit where our current challenge level is. We might need to kick it up a notch. Or we might need to learn to say, “no” more and let some things go.

Take a moment and copy down the challenge level chart on a piece of paper.
Put an “X” where your current challenge level is.
Where do you do your best work? Put a “*” where you perform best.
Ask God to reveal to you ways in which you can get to the place of your optimum performance. Perhaps you need to cut a few things out of your life. Or maybe you need to be challenged in some areas.
How was you experience last week in thinking about Family Values?

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