C and I were listening to a Chip Ingram podcast last night before bed about how we’ve all been fed a lie. “Just do what makes you happy, baby” is what so many people tell so many other people. Ingram was specifically talking about what parents tell their children in reference to making big decisions: what college to go to, what to major in, what career to pursue. We just want our kids to be happy, right? That’s understandable, right? We wouldn’t be good parents if wanted something else. Ok, ok, before anybody fires up the torches and throws a book at me, remember I’m speaking for myself and for my kid(s). If my main goal as a parent is to teach A to imitate Christ, does that mean I should encourage her to ‘just do what makes her happy’ or that sometimes she’s going to have to deny herself happiness in order to pursue a higher calling? Down the rabbit trail we go…
That leads me to something else (don’t worry, I’ll go back to happiness) that I love about God and something that gives me great peace about my daughter. God knows her. I mean, He knows everything about her. He has a plan and a purpose that only she can fulfill in this world. My most important job on this earth is to help her find God and find that plan. But as a parent, isn’t it über comforting knowing that the God of the universe holds your child’s life and future in His hands? That if you can just point him or her in His direction, that’ll He’ll do the hard part? There’s something about that that helps me sleep at night. My daughter, who is so precious to me, is more precious to God. As much as I want the best for her, He wants even better, and knows better. It blows my mind.
Happiness. Where were we. When the big questions in life come about which path to take, I want to be able to offer something more to her than just happiness. I don’t want her to pick a career based on what current hiring trends are or how much money she can make. Sure, those seem like logical things to consider, but if God is who He says He is, do we need statistics and flow charts? I want her to know and to do what she has been called to do. I want her to fill that one spot that God carved into the fabric of the world just for her. That’s how special I believe each of us are to Him. Because at the end of the day, if we’re truly seeking God’s will and plan for our lives, won’t we be happy? Not happy. Joyful. Think about Paul. That man was called by God to preach the Gospel. He was beaten, shipwrecked, thrown in jail a few times, gossiped about and more stuff I can’t even remember. Here’s what he had to say about it:
2 Cor 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Now that’s what I call a proper perspective. I wish I looked at everything like that. I don’t. Parenting is my first major splash into all of this because you don’t get any do-overs. So, happiness is temporary, this whole world is temporary; I want to teach her to live for heaven, to make decisions with heaven in mind. From what to wear to a dance and how to fix her hair, to whether or not to have a boyfriend, to which school and career ‘she’ chooses. Tangent: I love how she inspires me to be a better person. I need to live with heaven in mind before I can teach her. Scary.
Something else (+ maybe a few more something elses), my prayer for her is not for her just to be ‘happy.’ My prayer is this:
Eph 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I don’t want her to settle for happiness. I want her to be filled to the tippy top with God. That is where true joy and the abundant life is found.
Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
I want to urge her to fulfill the call that God has placed on her life, whatever that may be. I want to urge her to have a wild and exciting ride finding it with God. There’s nothing more thrilling than trusting God. When you’ve let everything else go and you’re on the ledge, that’s when the fun begins.
As you can see, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Ephesians tonight. All of 4 and 5 was just great. Enough about the kidlet. I love her and parenting her is scary. She deserves the cream of the crop and I’m afraid she ended up with something not so grand, but that’s the great thing about God–He knows exactly what He’s doing.