I don’t know what it’s like at your house but it doesn’t seem like it’s getting any easier for families to slow down long enough to connect over meaningful conversations.
Even for those of us who try to organize our schedules so we can sit down together over dinner … countless people tell me how hard it is to get every member of the family to put down their devices for 20 or 30 minutes, look each other in the eye, and talk.
I get it!
We all love our online connections with our friends and acquaintances but it’s important that we don’t allow those surface attachments to keep us from having the close life-long family relationships we want.
At a Bible Study years ago…
I learned 3 simple questions that have blessed my conversations with my family and even with close friends.
I even have a group of blogging friends who share their answers to these questions in a small FB group each week.
You can ask and answer these questions every night or stick to once a week … whatever works best for your family. I’m simply encouraging you to try them … because I believe they will bless your family by not only helping you grow closer to one another but by helping you talk about and grow your faith in Jesus.
So, grab a basket and tell everyone to stash their phones for a bit, so you can ask…
3 Simple Questions that will Bless Your Family
What brought you joy today/this week?
Go around the table and ask each person to share something that made them happy, something fun, or something that blessed them. Something that made them thankful!
It can be as big or as small as…
- Laughing with a friend
- Encouragement from a teacher or boss
- A good grade
- A completed project
- A clean house or bedroom
- A delicious meal
- Doing something kind for someone else
- Meeting a new friend
- Finding time to rest
- Making the team
- Getting into the choir
- Getting a part in the play
- Playing with a puppy
- Making someone else happy
- Knowing you are loved
Whatever it is … celebrate with each other and praise God for every blessing!
“When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other’s flame.” ~Augustine
Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad.Romans 12:15
What was today’s/this week’s junk?
Now go around the table and give each person the opportunity to talk about the hard parts of the day.
- Where are you struggling?
- What are you worried about?
- What frightened you?
- What happened that hurt your feelings?
- What is causing you pain?
- What upset you?
This is not a time to criticize or try to fix problems; it’s just an opportunity to listen with love and compassion. Make it a safe time for both parents and adults to talk about the hard parts of life. The less you talk or offer solutions the more your family will be willing to share their junk next time.
If there is some advice you’d like to give or you believe more conversation is needed … consider talking about it privately a little later.
All of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.1 Peter 3:8
“Many people involved in the mental health professions are beginning to understand that compassion can play a role in helping us to work with difficult emotions.”Russell Kolts
Encouraging and demonstrating compassion at home … can help our children learn ways to be compassionate away from home as well.
“Creating uplifting environment for others through the words we use and showing compassion goes outside of the home as well.”Chris Johnston
3. Where did you see Jesus at work today/this week?
Go around the table one more time and have each person share…
- Where did you see Jesus’ love for you or a friend?
- Where did you His see grace or mercy?
- Where did you notice the beauty of His creation?
- Where did He help you?
- What did you learn in the Bible or a Bible Study?
- How did He calm your fears?
- How did He help you to be strong?
- How did He help you obey Him?
- How did He answer your prayers?
This one may be harder at first but the more your family starts looking for ways the Lord is working around them the easier it will become.
The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.Psalm 69:32
Whatever action is good in this life, whatever idea is good and true, whatever thing you see or hear or taste or touch, God’s creation — all of it — is designed by God as a sign and a foretaste of what it’s like to enjoy God Himself.John Piper
One of the things I love about sharing our Joy, Junk, and Jesus is the way it helps us pray for each other.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
I love being able to pray together praising and thanking God for the joys my family has experienced.
It’s also a privilege for us to be able to stand together as a family and pray for our challenges … for the “junk” in our lives.
And end our prayers with surrendered hearts praising God for the ways He allowed us to see Him at work in, around and through us that day/week!
So grab a journal…
Because this is also a wonderful opportunity for your family to keep a record of the ways God is working in and through your family. Start with praise, list the junk as prayer requests, and document how and when God answers those prayers.
I love asking these questions in my small groups or just talking with a friend, too. They’re always a wonderful way to get to know and love each other better.
So, why not try it tonight – ask these 3 simple questions:
What brought you joy?
What felt like junk?
Where did you see Jesus at work?
Bless your family with intentional conversations that invite connection, caring, and compassion.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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