Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

5.11.2012

Oh, Brother

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Can you imagine if Mikaela and I had a Jacob and Esau-esque relationship?  She would be hacking my blogger account, writing typo-ridden posts under my name just to sabatoge me.  I’d be selling her my rights as firstborn (first billing in Christmas cards, the ability to say I’m older, and other important things like that) just to induce her to edit my own posts in a reasonable fashion.  You guys would be blushing in horror. 

Thankfully, our relationship has never been like those twins, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bouts of selfishness or blowups at siblings or episodes where I shake my head and wonder if we have any common ground.  I’ve had those moments and episodes more often than I care to remember, but perhaps because of my own weaknesses, God has taught me much about sibling relationships. 

Back in February, for our blogoversary, Shelbi asked, “I would love to hear ideas about how to connect with, spend time with and enjoy younger siblings. Especially if you have siblings who are close to your own age, but who have very different interests than you do. (As I have J.)”  Elizabeth seconded that.  I am still unperfected in this area, but my siblings do have diverse interests that are both different from and similar to mine, so I would love to share some thoughts. 

Before I jump into the very practical suggestions, here is a point to keep in mind.  Our parents’ marriage relationship is a picture of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22-33), which is part of why the sanctity of marriage is so vital.  It gives the world a living, breathing picture of Christianity. 

In the same way, my relationship with my siblings is a picture of how relationships between believers should be.  Romans 12:9-11 says,

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

Ephesians 4:6 declares we believers have “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

The words “brother” and “brotherly” are used 67 times from Acts to Revelation.  Christians have the same Father God, and the analogy of sibling relationships between believers is clearly seen in the New Testament.  How then can we defame the name of Christ by failing to properly carry out the sibling relationships upon which this analogy is based? 
My answer? I cannot! 

Here are some simple, practical ideas for developing relationships with your siblings ranging from the intensely valuable to the stuff that memories are made of!

  • Take a sibling on a special outing.
Go to a concert, take a sibling to a movie, go out for ice cream, go get coffee.  This special outing will provide a perfect opportunity to engage in conversation about what is going on in his life—Ice Cream is the great tongue-loosener, after all!

  • Have a special activity that you do with each sibling. 
I teach one sibling violin, I go jogging with another; I’ve worked on duets and trios with one, and decorated rooms with another.  Other ideas include reading together, or even starting a business together.  The point is to have an ongoing special connection with each sibling. 

  • Invest spiritually in siblings.
Listen, give advice sometimes (I’m still working on toning down the advising!), encourage with a note left on a pillow, have a Bible study together, or pray together every morning. 

  • Do something silly, spontaneous, and memory-making!
Make a short movie together, get involved in an interest of theirs they would never expect you to be involved in, have an impromptu photo shoot, throw a surprise party for someone together, have a water fight, or just say “yes” when they ask you to play with them.

  • Yield your rights, especially your right to be right. 
Be careful not to over-correct them; make sure you surrender your right to your own possessions to God, because clothes-borrowing and fragile-object-breaking will occur!

  • Pray for rather than worry about your siblings.
God convicted me of this recently, when I was stewing over various things going on in my siblings’ lives.  Worry is supremely useless, but prayer is supremely powerful.  Even if none of these activities are possible with your situation, pray for your siblings and watch God work! 



Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

9 comments:

  1. Wonderful reminders, Lauren! I often just take siblings for granted, and don't take the time to do special things with them. You gave some great ideas! Thanks! :-)

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  2. "...just say “yes” when they ask you to play with them."
    This is a huge thing! When I do just say "yes" to my younger siblings when they ask to play, it MAKES THEIR DAY!! Even if I only play a board game for 15 minutes. And then I wonder why I find reasons to say "no" so often. Really, is being curled up with a book a better way to spend my time? Really?! Thanks for this, Lauren. God bless you.

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  3. Great post, Lauren! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

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  4. "Worry is supremely useless, but prayer is supremely powerful." -- loved this sentence!

    Wishing your mom a very blessed Mother's Day this Sunday and thanking her (and your dad) for the powerful influence they have been in yours and Mikaela's lives. We, your readers, are blessed because of them.

    Blessings,
    Aimee

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  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I needed to hear this. I am the oldest so therfore the bossy one too. :) I do worry about my siblings future and thank the Lord that I have come to realize to pray rather than worry. I believe relationships with brothers and sisters are so important. Thanks again. :)

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  6. Wow, i really needed this post right now! - thanks so much for the "Practical ideas for developing relationships with your siblings" the ideas are great!!!
    Could you post more on this topic?
    Blessings!
    ~K.

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  7. Hello! Thanks so much for sharing this--the Lord had pricked my heart about this topic this very morning and I am glad He's kindly given me a boost in the right direction through your hints. Oh, how badly I need to step down from my self-appointed advisor position and be a listener instead!

    God bless you!
    Frannie

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  8. Emily--Thanks! You are a fabulous great big sister, though, and I'm sure you got some fun opportunities this past weekend!
    Penn-EXACTLY! I completely agree, but it is so easy to make that selfish choice!
    Shelbi--You're welcome! Thanks for your comment!
    Aimee--Truly, I am blessed because of my parents also! I'm so glad you recognize their influence in my life, because I would not be the same without them!
    Abby Kay--I'm glad I'm not the only one tempted to bossiness! Have you heard the cd "Influence of Older Children on Younger Children" by S.M. Davis? It is so good, and I would highly recommend it to you!
    K--I'm so glad God used this post to make it practical for you! I just might post some more ideas--we'll see how God leads!
    Frannie--Thank you so much for your comment! It's great to hear how God is working in your life. Listening is hard for me, too, but I know God wants me to prioritize it, because the results are so fruitful!

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  9. All of these are wonderful ideas, Lauren! I just wish I had more opportunities these days to do some of these things with my best friend and sister. However, I do have many wonderful memories of doing some of these things with Leah. :) These are also great suggestions for investing in others' lives - "sisters" and "brothers" whom God may place in our spheres of influence even after we and are siblings are grown. Thank you!

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