Cornel West once said that “justice is what love looks like in public.” I love that, and I also think that predictable patterns is what love looks like in a family.
Whether we are simply raising kids or leading an extended family on mission, predictable patterns are the key to flourishing.
Why is this?
Because predictable patterns mean that the most important things are done intentionally and consistently, and this brings stability to the family. The rhythm of knowing what’s coming brings stability to the life of any family. It’s not that every minute of every day is scheduled. We are simply building regular rhythms into our days, weeks, and months that create fixed points of reference for the family to orient itself around.
Predictable patterns are the fixed points of reference we put into our schedule to make sure we are actually practicing the most important things in life. I can’t expect my kids to value prayer and time in the Bible if we haven’t done that together each day as a family. I can’t expect my kids to value deep relationships unless we have regular times, like meals, where we are gathering together to pay attention to one another and share our lives with each other.
Making these patterns regular and predictable, as opposed to sporadic and spontaneous, is what gives children (and anyone who is part of our extended family on mission) a sense of stability.
Embracing predictable patterns over time builds stability, and when stability is experienced over time it creates security for the members of a family. They become secure in their identity.
In the same way that Jesus’ identity was affirmed and solidified before he began his mission, we need all our “missional” stuff to be rooted firmly in a secure identity in family.
Our families need the stability that comes from predictable patterns of UP, IN and OUT–and those patterns give us security in our identity, so we know who we are and why we exist as a family.
What does operating out a secure identity produce? The ability to live a life of significance. Significance is not necessarily the same thing as success. There are no guarantees about how successful we’ll be. Those kinds of outcomes are in the Lord’s hands. But we know that if we engage in our work from a place of security in our identity, our work will be significant, meaning that it is being used by God to advance his kingdom, whether anyone knows about it or not.
Jesus was always going about his Father’s business, which meant it was always significant, whether he was being followed by adoring crowds or being threatened with death by those same crowds, whether he was preaching to thousands or praying with a few friends in a garden, whether people were amazed at his teaching or appalled at his crucifixion. It was all significant, because it came from a secure identity.
A life of significance comes from the sense of security in identity that only comes from an experience of stability, brought about by predictable patterns. That’s why they are the key to helping our children (or anyone who is part of our extended family on mission!) live into a life of significance.
This Mike Breen article appeared at weare3dm.com as: Why Predictable Patterns Are Vital for Family on Mission