After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy. (The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
I am often reminded, humbled, and to be completely honest – somewhat terrified – by the speed at which life often seems to be going!
I told my wife the other day that we had 3,285 days left until our oldest kid would be an adult and how fast the previous 3,285 days have gone. It seems like that is a lot of time. But it has FELT like a vapor.
As I was processing this and wrestling through the challenges, opportunities, and pressures that come alongside work, ministry, and other responsibilities, I could sense God reminding me of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2. For the apostle Paul, “ministry” was local, personal, and incredibly intentional.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you are a parent, and I want to remind you today that you have God’s permission to be radical, extravagant, intentional, and “over-the-top” in your love, passion, and investment into the lives of your kids, regardless of their age. Don’t allow a day to slip by without loving them in a tangible way!
In her very helpful book, Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton says that we often approach our relationship with God in a random haphazard way:
Many of us try to shove spiritual transformation into the nooks and crannies of a life that is already unmanageable, rather than being willing to arrange our life for what our heart most wants. We think that somehow we will fall into transformation by accident (146-147).
How many of us often approach our parenting with this same “haphazard” way of thinking? Then, even worse, some of us who feel like we have to be all things to all people and say “yes” to every request, we then over-crowd our schedules to the point where our kids are simply one more item on a never-ending to do list. It can all feel very defeating.
Today, I want to encourage you (and me!) that we have permission to zone in on the incredible opportunities we have every day at leading, challenging, taking steps of faith/risk/courage with the kid(s) that God entrusted to our unique care.
The apostle Paul, who felt the burden of sharing the message of God’s redeeming news with the whole world, ultimately took an approach that was local, personal, and very intentional. So you, too, have permission to go over-the-top with those entrusted to your care.
What WILL be your proud reward and crown when you stand before the Lord? I’m becoming more and more convinced that my gauge for “success” is the wrong gauge, and I need to get it right!
So… take a deep breath… zone in right where God has you: You Have Permission!