Everything around us has momentum. The universe, world, country, community, family relationships, and people around us each have some momentum. However, is the momentum positive or negative? And what things can make a change in momentum?
In the Book of Genesis, we get to learn about many momentum shifts in the history of humanity. A few examples are:
- Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
- Noah, the ark, and God’s promise
- Abraham, Sarah, and God’s covenant.
Throughout Scripture, we read about momentum shifts, but the ultimate momentum shift is when Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and conquered death. God fulfilled his covenant, and the earth shook as momentum shifted in the history of the universe. In fact, in Matthew 27, we read that the earth shook, the curtain or veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the rocks split, and the tombs broke open.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He said the Helper would be with us. God is a relational God and we get to pursue His will as we lead our families. Scripture talks about momentums to come within the culture and the momentums of sin that we get to counter with the new self (Colossians 3:12-17). The armor of God discussed in Ephesians can be considered a momentum blocker and shifter within all areas of our faith. In Galatians, Paul talks about the Fruit of the Spirit as the revealing of momentum of the Holy Spirit in us as we love others.
A Change in Family Momentum
Recently, Covid-19 shifted the worldwide momentum. Within some families, the momentum became positive; in others, it took a negative turn. Regardless of where your family relationships are right now and what momentum they’ve taken, there are ways that you can make a change in that momentum starting today.
As a family therapist, I have the incredible opportunity to help individuals and families shift toward positive relationships, stability, and health. Our perceptions, past experiences, and relationships can contribute to the momentum in our lives. Over the years, I have noticed that when marriages are full of dissatisfaction, it takes an intentional shift of interpretation, response, attitude, and perception to make a change in momentum. The change in momentum can take the marriage in a new direction and toward some level of satisfaction.
Couples sometimes go to marriage workshops or retreats and feel exciting changes in momentum as they take time for self-awareness and open communication in the relationship. However, momentum builds over time, and sometimes these shifts are short-lived because the couple returns to the momentum that has been a reality for them for an extended time.
What Type of Momentum Does Your Family Have?
Parents have the privilege to set and maintain the momentum in their home and, if necessary, change the momentum within family relationships. Take a few minutes to figure out what kind of momentum you, your home, and your family have. Here are some questions to start with:
- Are you overwhelmed or exhausted?
- Do you pray together as a family?
- Do you read Scripture as a family?
- Have you given up on some essential boundaries for your children?
- Have you given up on your marriage?
- What momentum has taken shape in your family since the pandemic began?
- Have specific things or circumstances changed your momentum or sent it in the wrong direction?
Five Ways to Change the Momentum in Your Home
If you’ve answered the questions above and discovered that the momentum in your family is heading in a negative direction, don’t worry. You have the power to make a change in the momentum of your family and family relationships. Here are five things you can do to begin changing the momentum in your home.
1. Look in the Mirror and Into Your Thought Bubbles
What is going on in your mind? What has the news and adversity in our culture done to your perceptions and attitude? Begin with yourself and work outward from there. It is easy to blame others and circumstances for your momentum. Remember that while some aspects of momentum can change on their own — such as we saw during the pandemic — life’s momentum can be shifted through our thoughts and actions.
Practice having an adaptable and flexible mind that can change momentum when needed. You can also help your children change their mind’s momentum through distractions. Looking inward to make sure you maintain self-control and patience will help you teach your children how to manage their minds and momentum in an ever-changing and emotional world.
2. Love Your Spouse
The relationship between a husband and wife is foundational to the home and can have a significant impact on parenting. When the relationship between a husband and wife is not going well, it is more likely that one or both parents will not have the mental or emotional energy to love and guide their children well. It is possible that the momentum could change in an unhealthy way where the parent finds a connection with their children difficult or where the parent begins to rely on the child to support their own emotional health. Make sure you are taking time to love your spouse and foster a positive relationship between you.
If for some reason you find that your spouse is in an unhealthy place, focus on bringing life into your home. You can seek counsel as you respond to destructive momentums. It is possible to bring health to your home even when a spouse is not doing so. Keep in mind that when a person is unlovable, that is when you get the opportunity to love the most. You get to model the incredible momentum shifter of love that is centered on God’s wisdom and steadfast perseverance.
7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment
Even if things are not going well, smiling can help loosen up your mind toward possibilities rather than getting stuck on limitations. A simple and genuine smile can change momentum by shifting attitudes, perceptions, and the ability to connect within a family’s relationships. Experiment with the ripple effect of a genuine smile on your family. Be sure to take time to play and laugh together. I have often imagined Jesus’ genuine and loving smile. This helps me ponder what it would be like to experience what the Holy Spirit can do through my smile.
4. Conversation and Life-Giving Words
Make time for conversation and focus on life-giving words. Conversations can synchronize people’s minds. When you have conversations that are warm, loving, understanding, and life-giving, you can create positive momentum in your family relationships. The power of life-giving words and connected conversation can be an antidote to a “that wasn’t supposed to happen” kind of day. Life-giving words bring truth, encouragement, forgiveness, loving correction, and re-direction to the family relationship.
I love what Jesus said in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul encourages believers to “…Encourage one another and build one another up.” What are you building through the words in your home?
5. Routine Time Together
Carve out time together and include some routines. For example, I recently heard of several families using the extra time they spent quarantined during the pandemic for board games, exercising together, watching shows, reading, taking walks, and cooking together. My kids and I went on some lunchtime runs, did some home workouts, and did homework together. We also enjoyed board games, basketball, art, and other activities that fostered conversation and time together during the pandemic.
Spend time reading God’s word and praying together. Both are amazing soul momentum shifters. Being still and praying can be renewing and resetting for the soul and mind.
There are so many ways to change momentum in your family relationships. These five ways are just the beginning. For example, other ideas might include taking up a new hobby, developing structure and organization in your home, getting counseling, prayer, etc. The list could go on and on! The main focus is to pay attention to what momentum is currently in your family and what momentum you want to take shape in your home. Seek God’s guidance along the way since He’s the ultimate momentum maker.
You’ve got this. It just takes that first step to make a change to the momentum in your family relationships. By beginning, especially through prayer, you can continue in the right direction by making consistent and straightforward changes along the way.
One other way you could get the momentum started is to take a free parenting self-assessment at www.focusonthefamily.com/7traits.