I don’t think anyone would be shocked to hear that studies report that spending quality time with your children is essential.
Heck, in any significant relationship whether family, marriage or friendship, quality time is vital. Without it, all you have is the "passing" of time with another person present!
For this article, I want to focus on the parent/child relationship. (Even if you don't have children- please don't stop reading you will understand later.)
First, let's get something straight- we are talking about quality time NOT quantity time. Today, it’s quite easy to spend hours in the same room with your children mindlessly watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet. This is not considered quality time!
I remember when I first learned the difference between quality and quantity time. I was a young teenager who focused on herself and her friends more than anything else. When my step-mother proposed a "quality time night" I wasn't impressed. The idea was once a month she treated you to dinner out to a restaurant of your choosing- just the two of you! Time together with no distractions, no competiting with siblings and focus on what was happening in your world. I was hesitant at first, but began to love our dinners out! I now realize that it wasn't the free meal, or how long we were at the restaurant- it was the conversations and one-on-one time that was so formative. It allowed us to bond in a way that we wouldn't have otherwise. 30-something years later I still remember those dinners and appreciate their benefits!
When you practice quality time versus quantity time there are indeed profound benefits:
*Builds a child's self-esteem by instilling feelings of being valued, important and loved-- a fundamental belief that they matter.
*Develops a strong bond between the parent and child; which in turn creates a support system for being able to deal successfully with life stressors, hurts, and tragedies.
*Nurtures positive behaviors by providing the child an opportunity to learn important truths but also see appropriate behaviors being modeled.
*Outlet for stress relief by developing a safe environment to express hurts, frustrations, confusion or questions. The ability to talk over problems reduces stress and worry.
*Capacity to observe the child’s weaknesses and strengths and tailor advice, wisdom and guidance that is fitting for the betterment of that unique child.
The bottom line- quality time spent with your children fosters greater communication, provides positive reinforcement, encourages constructive habits and behaviors, develops life-skills and establishes solid relational bonds. All building blocks for the future health, success, and happiness of that child.
All good stuff! Right?
Now for the bombshell….
Look back at the above and replace the “parent” and “child” with yourself and God!
Hear this truth; God wants to spend quality time with you! You are His child- no matter how old or how far you think you’ve come in this life! Quality time is just as important for you and the benefits are just as powerful.
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” ~Matthew 7:11
The question- do you desire to spend quality time and reap the benefits from the most exceptional parent to ever exist?
"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” ~Psalm 145:18
I accept that I am still a child that needs quality time with my Heavenly Father. I’m learning that all of the earthly benefits of quality time apply in the context of my time spent with God.
My father-daughter time means curling up in His lap each morning, drawing near to Him in His Word and His presence. Time spent free from distractions to worship, pray and listen to what He has to say to me- His unique, precious daughter. He makes time for me and I make time for Him!
I hear how much I'm valued; I receive reinforcement, encouragement, and advice. I'm safe in His presence and our bond grows stronger the more time we spend together.
I never want to hear God say, "You never spent any time with me. You were never in my presence for us to grow close. I never really got to know you as I wanted. Today is the Day of Judgment, and it's now too late; I don’t know you so depart from me.” (Paraphrased-Matthew 7:23)
Remember it isn’t the amount of time you spend rather the quality of your time together that matters!
Make "quality time" with those you love the most!
Real time = Real love.
Father, thank you that we may declare ourselves your children through the gift of Christ. May we always desire to curl up in your lap daily and spend quality time with you- growing with you, learning from you and leaning into you. Help us to create memories with you now that we can take with us into eternity. I pray, Lord, that those who claim to know you will intentionally build a quality relationship with you so that they may flourish in this life and be able to also construct quality relationships with others.
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.”~ Psalm 73:28