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I woke up this morning and started my day on the treadmill listening to a podcast. The topic? The importance of the table to the family. Such an important conversation in a world that spins circles around us, literally and figuratively, and keeps us occupied so that having shared meals as a family rarely happens. We are buried in technology, working too many hours, driving too many places, and all during meal times —including dinner, which used to be the one remaining meal that families shared.

Our family is blessed beyond measure in that we are at our table for 2-3 meals a day together. Between having a husband that works at home and boys that are homeschooled, we have a pretty amazing life. We have seen the fruit of those decisions to keep our family together during the week.

However, even though we share the physical time together that many people don’t get to have, we could still miss out on reaping the full benefits of that time simply by not maximizing the opportunity of the table.

The opportunity of the table is about how we feed into our children through encouragement and inquiry. However, we can only do these things if we come to the table “full”.

If you had dinner as a family last night, did you come to the table “full”? I can’t say that I did. I know that there are times that at the end of the day, or throughout the day for that matter, that I am running on empty. I have a lot on my plate during this particular season, and I often don’t have the capacity to give more to my kids. I have to admit, that even though we have more meals shared together as family than most, I do not consistently come to the table “full” enough to give to my children. I had not thought about this before, so this encouragement today has given me a new perspective.

So today’s challenge is to evaluate what is keeping me from coming to the table “full”. Is it trying to desperately keep the house picked up and dinner on the table all by 6 pm? Is it trying to meet that work deadline and get the kids picked on time? We try to be all things to all people, and therefore we become nothing to no one. No one gets anything good because we are too spent. Evaluate your capacity. It might be different than your friend or neighbor who seems to be able to get more or less done. Whatever fills you up, find time to insert that into your week and come to the table “full”. It will change you and your family for the better.