Check In At Home

People “check in” everywhere.  The whole world knows they are here and there and engaged in whatever activity is going on.  People check in at church, at restaurants, and the list goes on and on.

The thought occurred to me that I need to “check in” at home.  In ministry life, lines blur easily.  There is always some ministry related task on the mind even when one is at home. And as intentional as we might be about letting the world know we are here, there, and everywhere, maybe I need to be as intentional about coming home and/or being home.

So here are some thoughts for checking in at home:

1)  Develop a Trouble Tree – I read once about a guy who touched the leaves of of a little bush just as he entered his house.  This small act was a reminder to himself that he is home now, and any worries on his mind about work will have to wait until tomorrow.  The act of “leaving” his troubles on the trouble tree was a reminder each day. This can be done in a variety of ways during the commute home, by making a list and forgetting it, etc.

2) Don’t walk in your house with the phone on your ear – finish up any calls you can before you step in.  The first five minutes at home is an important time to set the pace for the rest of the evening.

3) The role of parent and spouse is very important work – being at home, getting things done, loving your family are all very important, but often get pushed to the side when life is busy.

4) Take schedules in stride – if you have a crazy night ahead don’t stress out.  You signed your kids up for this, that and the other.  You committed to serve on this committee or coach that team, and you made the choice to become a home owner or renter or whatever you are.  So, move into the mode of thinking you don’t have to do this, you get to do this.  Spend times in the car in meaningful conversations with your kids.  Spend time at games visiting and connecting with your spouse or other friends around. Make trips and errands family outings.  And if the schedule has become overwhelming, make a change in the future.  You are in control of the calendar.

5) Be present in the moment – don’t be partially connected, be fully connected when you are at home.  One big way might be putting your phone on silent or in a drawer for the evening.  Take time to talk about plans for the future, about trips you want to take, or to focus in on the project that needs to get done.  Don’t be at home halfheartedly.

6) Make plans for fun things to do on the home front.  Simple things like picnics, trips for ice cream, excursions to little places around the community or city, involving your family in acts of compassion and justice through mission and giving are typically only done when they have been planned.  Take some time to plan them on the home front.  Put them on the calendar.

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Coming Home

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