Delightfully Different: Idealistic Living in a Fallen World

by Emily Cook

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“You don’t base your convictions on what culture has become or what culture is doing, you base your convictions in spending time with the LORD, being an idealist, and working that into a realistic part of life.” (Sally Clarkson in a recent interview)

Sally’s answer brought so much clarity to the churning that living in the 21st century world can bring to an idealistic soul. An idealist is a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc. The synonyms for the word are optimist, perfectionist, reformer, visionary. If you watch the news, an idealist like me living in such a cynical world doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to get discouraged thinking, “What could my purpose be?”

I’m writing today to other idealistic Moms out there who long to see revival in their day. Take courage! There is wonderful kingdom work to be done. Think about Sally’s statement in light of mothering.

We have the power to change a generation just by practically living God’s way.

There is a Mother Theresa quote that I see quite often which says, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” If we want our children to bring delight to the world we must first delight in the things that are most important to God while we are raising them.

How is your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”

This is not just a “church answer,” but your life and eternity at stake. Whatever you do, start here. If you’re not sure of your salvation, take some time to pray this verse and ask God to give you that peace. If you’ve never called upon the Name of the LORD for salvation, do so today. Talk to a Christian friend or pastor if you need more guidance. The ripples that go out from you following Christ will change the dynamic of your family for eternity. 

Make spending time in His word a priority.

Sometimes I find myself with a sadness in my heart, seemingly out of nowhere, and I realize I didn’t take the time to read the Bible or pray that morning. Focusing on what He has for us to read will make a difference in our days. Out of the overflow of our hearts will we teach our children and be able to answer their spiritual questions. The more we are in the Word, the more likely we are to share what we are learning with our children and those around us. Spiritual blessing follows obedience.

Knowing His story helps us remember that the world is not as He designed it to be. Sin has marred His creation and we have a very real enemy, who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 A) Idealism reminds us of the end of that verse: “[Jesus] came that [we] may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 B)  We live in the reality of a fallen world, but through the lenses of the Word and faith we have hope for “[His] kingdom come, [His] will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Isn’t redeemed humanity a beautiful hope?

Set ideals for your family to be the change you want to see in the world.

Our pastor once advised, there is no place for sarcasm in the home. My husband and I took that to heart and purposed to correct ourselves when we failed in that area. There is always an element of truth to cynical or sarcastic speech. Respect is one of our ideals. In our home we want to send respectful children out into the world, therefore we broke sarcastic habits.

As another ideal, we practice forgiveness and grace, in hopes that our children will reflect those ideals as they grow. Hospitality gives us the opportunity to serve our family, friends, and neighbors by opening up our home in a warm and inviting way. Valuing our time at church and praising their scripture memory are additional ideals that we’ve adopted, because we know a faith family and the knowledge of God’s word are two of life’s greatest blessings. Prayer is also central in our home. We make every effort to verbally pray over each child on the way to school and at bedtime.

Since we are imperfect humans living in an imperfect world, we expect disruptions, bad moods, trials and tribulations will come our way no matter what. For me, being an idealist doesn’t discount that truth by being in denial. Instead, it makes me want to embrace my trials and with God’s help react in a way contrary to the world.

Just because Norman Rockwell paintings aren’t an everyday reality, it shouldn’t stop moms from cultivating that kind of environment inside our homes, even though we can’t control the world around us.

When tragedy strikes, we walk with the LORD through it. When grief darkens our days, we dig deeper into His word. When the social media explodes with fear, negativity, and strife, we are learning not to fall into the trap of hiding our light, but are asking God to let us shine brighter by being “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind, so that [we] may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

When you see the world going one way, don’t be afraid to stand on God’s Word, cling to your ideals, and walk the other way. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Can you think of ways you could work out your own biblical family ideals into the reality of everyday life? I believe it’s a worthwhile cause that will set us apart, make us delightfully different, and draw others to faith in Christ.

Have you been down or discouraged? Ask the LORD to revive your heart, renew you as you serve your family, and to give you an eternal perspective. What a privilege God has given each of us to not only make the world a better place, but also to lead our children and those in our paths to faith in Him with the ideals He has placed in our hearts and the personalities He’s given us to live it out loud.

Emily Cook

EmilyCook

**We want to hear from you! How do you implement biblical idealism in your life?

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