Thursday, June 11

All about patterns

This week I am analyzing and considering the impact of the words of Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

What behavior and customs are actually patterns of this world that I am following?

Some patterns might be...

How number and type of dinners I cook in a week. My friend cooks 5. My other friend cooks gourmet. Another friend cooks very healthy and natural with all the best ingredients. Which one will I pattern my menu planning around?

How I speak to my husband. I could follow a of pattern of nagging, disrespect and intimidation. Or, I could choose a pattern of encouragement, respect and kindness. Are my spoken words really a pattern? So many commercials these days feature a wife rolling her eyes at her husband, making him feel like less of a man....without even being aware I am seeing patterns of disrespect on television.

Another pattern that I could easily follow is a pattern of guilt. I think a lot of what I am motivated by is guilt. I think many people in this world are motivated by guilt. And I think our society and culture plays off this guilt in telling us how to live, what to buy and what to think about ourselves and others.

A common pattern that I see in my age group is the 'next step' pattern. The next step is to buy a bigger house, a nicer, newer car, a bigger television or other electronic gadgets. The pattern we observe and are told to follow is that you always go bigger...nicer...more expensive.

As I look to the future I think about what parenting patterns will I follow? Those of friends? Those of family members? Those I observe on television or am told to follow on talk shows? I read this quote today: "The problem starts when parents raise children based on their personal experience growing up instead of using the Bible as the timeless, authoritative guide"
in relation to a book called The Parent Adventure.

Are my patterns based off my personal life experiences? I am not even sure that lifestyle patterns are consciously chosen. Maybe they are just observed, never questioned or challenged, and then lived out by the next generation?

Following a pattern is external. But if I am instructed not to live according to the pattern of this world then I need to look internally. Maybe the way to live out Romans 12:2 means that I should to take every 'pattern' and check it against God's Word. Is it Biblical? Is it healthy? Is it right for me and my family in this season of our lives?

I think this will take some time to process and truly contemplate. Just one pattern at a time....

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