Family is the most important thing in life. Family is blood, the loyalty to which extends beyond this life into eternity. Regardless of all else, family is...
Apart of who you are. Genetically, we receive many of our physical and personality traits from our parents. We may try to deny our family, where we come from, but the influence of family is undeniable. But family isn’t always blood, it can be anyone we feel an unbreakable connection with, we call brother, sister, mother, or father. Given the importance of family, the unbreakable bond, the eternal connection, family generally will have the greatest influence over the course of your life. So, how do you maintain your individuality in the midst of such an overwhelming influence?
It’s not easy. Most of us love our families. We want our families to be happy and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to bring happiness to those we love. But, at what cost? Is it worth sacrificing who you are? It’s a hard question. The heroes of faith, such as Abraham, Yeshua, and Buddha, were often known for abandoning family for their life mission. Abraham left his father’s home in search of a land promised him by a God he did not know. Yeshua abandoned his family to spread what he called “the good news,” not even acknowledging his mother and brothers when they came to visit him (Matthew 12:46-50). He previously stated that anyone who loves his family more than him was not worthy. Buddha left his newborn son and wife on a quest for enlightenment.
There is no right answer that applies to everyone. Each one has his/her own life mission and must examine the role of family in that mission. You must decide what is most important to you and what you are willing to sacrifice. There is always a sacrifice to make, but it’s not all or nothing. The answer for most of us is usually not to abandon our families entirely. Yet, as Yeshua points out we must not place our family above our life mission. In some cases, family will help to propel you on your life path and this becomes mutually beneficial. Yet, more often, this is not the case. Hence, you see families or couples in discord or even stuck together, but hating it.
Your life mission must come first on average over the course of your life. There will be times when the needs of others must come before your own vision for your life, but if you are constantly putting the needs of others before your own, you start to die slowly on the inside. You cease to be yourself and become defined in terms of your relationship to your family. Yes, as a mother, brother, father, or sister, we have obligations, but these should not define us. You are more than a mother, more than a brother, more than a father or sister. You are you, infinite and loved, your own unique spark of God.
You see, it’s not just your family that you must be concerned with, but all the families around you. When your life mission is bigger than your own family, you will feel at odds with the influences attempting to restrain you. So, be yourself and except when absolutely necessary, learn to say no to all that is not in line with your life mission. It takes practice, timing, and experience. When do you say no to your family? When are you being selfish by only concerning yourself with your own life mission?
You must be in tune with what you feel within. Your spirit will tell you if you listen. When you feel a strong connection to your family, by aiding them you are helping yourself. Yet, over time, your spirit will wear down if you do not refill it with purpose and vision for your own life. Like a checking account, you can’t keep making withdrawals; working towards our life mission are the deposits we need to ensure we can withdraw later and help those we love. So, keep your bank full and be aware when you start to feel low. And remember if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking. So, don’t just keep the minimum in your account, keep it growing and learn when to expend your resources on a worthy cause.
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