I would dare to say that home is the hardest place to live holy.
As I write this, our Chi Alpha students are scattered all throughout the world. They’ve left the comfort of the community they’ve grown to love and have gone “home.”
Over my years at UVA I’ve seen many students struggle to keep traction in their walk with God when they go home. I can even personalize this a little bit and say it’s harder for me to keep traction in my walk with God when I go home. Many of you are either getting ready to travel for the holidays or your congregation will be. So let’s look at why this happens and how to help protect ourselves.
Home is a hard place to live holy because:
Our typical rhythms and community are not there. We are creatures of habit; we like getting to a rhythm. This was part of the magic of The Purpose Driven Life when it came out. It got people reading everyday for 40 days which made it a habit. When you’re used to getting up at the same time everyday and then you stop doing that, it makes it difficult to keep that habit. Also, we typically don’t travel to our families with our small groups or small-group leaders. The accountability isn’t there like it was before we left.
It’s sometimes awkward. It can be pretty awkward to leave the family to close yourself in a room and abide with Jesus. They want to see you and you want to see them. Potentially awkward situation.
Sometimes home is a place that is anti-Jesus. When I would go home in college, I knew I would be tempted to be the “old Josh” I was in high school. And that’s a mild case of what some people have to go home to.
So, what do we do?
1. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses beforehand. Know where it’s going to be hard and where it’s going to be easy to gain traction. Use these to your advantage instead of to your disadvantage.
2. Get someone to partner with you. Maybe it’s your spouse. Maybe it’s someone from your small group or someone who sits in your pew on Sunday morning. Find someone who will check in on you and help you through the difficult times.
3. Make a plan. If you have to get up earlier than normal, do it. If you have to stay up later than you normally do, then do it. Find a way that you can carve out some Jesus time and still get the much needed family time that we all love.
When I would come home from college, I worked two jobs and got up in the four-o-clock hour so I could have time with Jesus and still be able to see my parents in the evening. I knew it was that important.
Now, when I travel for the holidays I have to make sure I’m ready to keep the traction going in my walk with Jesus.
Have you ever found that home was a hard place to live holy? What did you do to overcome that?