“Mom!!! I’m bored” Might as be nails on a chalkboard for most moms, you know this phrase is coming your way this summer. We beg from freedom from the demanding schedule the school year brings and within a few weeks (possibly days) the famous phrase rears it’s ugly head. This year I’m attempting to be proactive with a simple solution: the I’m bored jar.
Of course the jar has to match our décor so it can sit on the shelf and not be ugly! I had this cute mason jar crate holder that I painted a soft grey to go with our décor, the Ball jar lid got a fresh coordinating coat as well.
Next I made a list. A list of FREE things my kids could do ON THEIR OWN. Let’s be truthful here. “I’m bored” typically equals a wallet draining solution that requires mom to be some source of entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I love to do things with my kids and take them fun places, but I want them to learn a few things. #1 fun doesn’t have to cost money #2 be creative #3 learn to entertain yourself #4 use what you already have.
I sat and put some brain power towards this list, writing down things my kids like to do. Next I went into their rooms and combed through their closets making a list of all the toys and games they have, but rarely play with. I added a few things to the list that might make them squirm, but nothing like clean your room or do the laundry (although that would be awesome!). It’s all FUN stuff! I wrote one thing on each side of a colored craft stick and stuck them all in my cute little jar.
The jar has rules. I am hoping this will keep things in check multiple ways. The rules are as follows: If you tell me you’re bored you can pick ONE stick from the jar and you HAVE to do what you pick. Now, the sticks are double sided so they at least have a choice of two, but none of that, “I don’t want to do that!” business. The goal is to prevent the I’m bored statement in the first place, to encourage them to create their own fun and to get them using the things they already have on hand.
The idea of making everything in the jar “free” stemmed from a thought that bothered me a bunch. My son made a comment that sounded like he needed to be good enough for God to love him and it stopped me in my tracks. This is a non-negotiable concept. I don’t want my kids striving their whole life to be good enough, or give enough to earn a relationship with Jesus. It’s theirs for free, today, they already have it if they want it. This small little step to model that truth at home may seem like a stretch, but it makes sense to me and I hope it makes an impact on them in the long run. I don’t ever want my kids to mistake money for love or to think that love can be bought. I need to show them love by spending time with them, deep conversations and personal relationship. Spending money on them all the time and buying for them every time they want something, I end up buying their favor instead of building it. It’s a conditional love. I love you when you give me my way, I show love by spending money on you. ummm, no!
This is the premier principle Jesus taught. It’s not about what you do it’s about relationship. You can’t buy your way into heaven no matter how much you tithe or how good you are. It’s your heart that matters.
Serving people and tithing are obviously good things we are called to do, just the same as I love to, and will, spend money on my kids to lavish them with fun adventures and gifts. Those tasks come second to a heart sold out for Christ, a heart that is bent to his will. Relationship comes first and the natural reaction is an outpouring of tithe, service and sacrifice. Not the other way around. It’s possibly the easiest and hardest Christian concept to grasp. He loves us just because he does, not because we earn it.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Money is an easy way to show love, it requires very little giving of your spirit and core. I’ve really had to look deep at my motives when I give lately. Am I buying a gift when my time and presence would be a better present, even when it requires more of me? I encourage you to consider the same question and be convicted of the places you are buying relationship instead of building it. Man, this is a hard one.
Let’s pray together on this one:
Please help my heart die to self and give of myself, my time, my thoughts, my heart in the places I want to buy a quick fix or an easy substitute. God grow in me a heart that knows my salvation rests in acceptance of you and nothing else, no act or deed on my part, no requirements to meet. I will never be enough or do enough to earn your love, it’s your free gifts to me. Thank you for that undeserved gift. Please shine light on the areas of my life that are in need of correction so I can mimic your lead and love freely. Thank you Jesus, Amen.
On a side note, this free jar concept could be used in a variety of ways, even for adults: as a bucket list, things to do when you are bored (it’s always those moments that you can’t think of anything to do, but know you have a ton to do!), chore list, meals, make one for the grandkids when they visit, anything you have a hard time coming up with on a moments notice! Hope you have fun with this one. Thanks friends for being on this journey with me and letting me reveal my weaknesses to you all and still loving me, warts and all!
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