The front porch is what people see. The front porch determines whether people have a desire to come any further. If the front porch looks cluttered, dark, and uninviting, people may see this as a sign that they are really not welcome in your life.
Begin this year by paying attention to the front porch of your life. Have some people concluded that you really are not approachable? Our front porch is what people see before they get to know us. Someone says, “If you knew my heart, you would think differently of me.” Yes, but the problem is that your front porch is saying something else.
Your front porch is all about what you say. Isn’t it amazing that the hole in your face is basically how people determine who you are. What comes out of your mouth is significant.
Your front porch is all about your attitude. Complainers and whiners will repel people in a hurry. It is like sending a double message. People who are caustic and bristle when someone makes a mistake will find that many people will not come any closer.
Your front porch is all about your attention. One of the greatest assets you have in your relationships with others is your attention. Do you pay attention to others or are you too distracted to really listen?
Take the garbage out
(Proverbs 30:12. Psalm 51)
Every home has garbage. In many houses, there are trash cans in every room.
It is important that we let the garbage in our lives go.
You can radically mess up your life by consuming garbage. Consider Scripture that tells what we need to avoid in our lives.
Part of getting the garbage out of your system is getting rid of ways of functioning that are manipulative, deceptive, or dishonest.
A young woman has been invited to a dinner on a Saturday evening. She wants to make a good impression. She purchases a pair of very nice slacks on Thursday evening. She wears the slacks to the function on Saturday evening. The following Monday afternoon, she has the slacks in the store sack complete with the receipt and is in line to return them. She tells the clerk that she has decided she doesn’t need them after all. Is this right?
Begin the year by getting rid of the garbage of our lives. Again, look for any behavior or pattern that is manipulative, deceptive, or dishonest.
Make the most of your kitchen table
Probably one of the most important pieces of furniture in our home is the kitchen table (or whatever you call the one table where most of your meals are served and eaten).
Think about the place in your life where you interact with your family as a whole. For many people, that place is the table where the family gathers each evening for a meal.
Today, many families spend very, very little time in conversation. One person was telling me about going home for Christmas. Everyone was in the living room with the television blaring and every single person looking at the screen of a device. She said, “No one talks. No one asks anyone questions. Instead, we just sit there.”
Make the kitchen table a sacred space. Gather around the table. It doesn’t matter if you have steak or soup. Let your family know, first by example, that every night this space is for conversation. No devices, no screens, no televisions, no texting, etc.
Families need time to be together without distractions. Most families are not challenged by some outside threat. Rather the challenge is what to do with the many distractions that we allow into our lives.
In other words, a family is more than a group of people who sleep under one roof. Rather, a family comes together and shares life at the table each evening.
Pay attention to your pictures
(Proverbs 18:24, 27:6.)
In most homes, there are pictures on the walls. The pictures that many families treasure the most usually are those of family and friends. We have friends who have almost an entire wall in their kitchen devoted to pictures of their friends and family.
Think about the people who are most important to you. Why not make a short list of those who are especially important to you. Who would be on that list?
What can you do intentionally to express your love and affection? Or, will you wait until next Christmas and say, again, “We really need to get together more”?
- Are there people you need to have lunch or dinner with?
- Is there someone you need to call?
- Is there someone who needs to receive a note from you?
As we begin the New Year, what do you need to be especially attentive to?