December 12, 2017

Can You?

My kids are old enough to stay home alone, but neither is yet driving for herself so I find myself living the life of a chauffeur. And one of the things I most enjoy about this “season” is the opportunity to have regular one-on-one time with each of my girls as I drive to and from various activities. We don’t listen to the radio, and they don’t text friends or surf the ‘net; we talk with each other.

On one recent excursion, my very sanguine younger daughter and I got on the topic of “philosophy of life,” and she optimistically said, “My philosophy comes down to not worrying. God knows everything that’s going to happen and there’s a reason for all of it, so why worry?”

Of course, she’s right, and we shouldn’t be surprised when wisdom comes from the lips of children (Matthew 21.16). In fact, her conviction – which I see played out daily in her life…and which humbles me greatly – is absolutely biblical (Jeremiah 29.11, Romans 8.28).

We might think she’s na├»ve because she’s “only” an adolescent – and one whose life has thus far been shielded from much of anything terribly traumatic. But truth is truth; it’s not less true when delivered by a young person (1 Timothy 4.12), and it doesn’t change even if some “more mature” people have allowed their hearts and minds to become jaded by life circumstances.

My daughter’s faith in a “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4.7) got me thinking about some of the many parents with whom I interact daily. These folks are anxious about nearly every aspect of their children’s growth and development. Not intentional, involved, and proactive – all of which are very positive parenting attributes – but literally worried. They fret over everything – sure they’re making all the wrong choices or not ever doing enough, and convinced that there’s something terribly abnormal with this child or that. They’re making themselves sick by attempting to control every outcome and stressing their children in the process.

Intentionality is good. Seeking wise counsel is…well, wise. But what would happen if we aimed to adopt my daughter’s philosophy of life in regards to our children, leaning into two very important corollary truths:

  1. If God’s in control, He knows absolutely everything about the unique, individual child He’s given me – all the child’s strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, inclinations and aversions – and He has a specific, unique plan for the unfolding of that child’s life;
  2. God entrusted that child to me…which means that He – knowing all of my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, inclinations and aversions – trusts and will (daily) empower me (despite myself) to help the child uncover and fulfill His plan.

In other words, what would happen if we chose to truly walk in faith in regards to our children? To make our plans as they seem good and healthy, yes, but to also give God wide berth to redirect our paths as He sees fit (Proverbs 16.9) without reacting like Chicken Little when He does?

Think for a moment about one area of current “concern” for each of your children. Rather than unproductively worrying or fretfully micromanaging, can you, instead, give those issues to God and purpose to trust Him to work things out over time according to the unique plan He already has in mind? Can you decide to observe and facilitate rather than control?

Photo Credit: jonathan lopez

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