Parenting is a commitment of epic proportions! As parents, we spend our days accomplishing a vast list of important (and not so important) things. Just consider the sheer volume of resources available to “help” us in our parenting duties. There are books that deal with ADD, bedtime, discipline, defiance, curfew, complaining, bed-wetting, biting, finances, friends, fighting in the car (yes, there is an entire book on automobile arguments!), manners, media, potty training…you name it!
When my children were young, I was often left wondering, “Will I make it through this day alive and sane?” Now, as an empty-nester, I can’t help but wonder how it all happened so fast! Although the necessary duties fill our days, there is something spiritual about our parenting that often gets lost in the mundane.
How can parents capture a glimpse of eternity in the midst of the ordinary in order that they will not merely spend their hours, but invest their days?
- Abandon the idea of perfect parenting.
- When you fail, ask for forgiveness.
- Stop trying to impress everyone; including yourself!
- Kill the “Super-Parent” lie and ask for help!
- Live an honest and authentic life before your child.
- Determine to worry less and pray more.
- Set aside time each day for a few minutes of prayer and quiet reflection.
- When a difficult situation arises, choose to pray for wisdom and strength before acting.
- Write out prayers or Scriptures and place them around your home for encouragement.
- Pray with and for your child.
- Talk with (not at) your child every day.
- Look at your child in the eyes when speaking.
- Be aware of what is not being said; ask questions that will allow your child to share his or her heart.
- Give your child a strong sense of identity.
- Share your faith journey with your child.
- Tell your child stories of your family’s history and heritage.
- Offer words of blessing to your child at meals and before dropping them off at school or special events.
- Speak positive words about and to your child.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
Oh, how easy it is to get distracted by mounting bills, shrinking paychecks, the never-ending list of needs, and the fear about whether the amount in your checking account will last until the next payday! How do we balance it all? There are some truths we need to keep in mind when we think about God’s provision of our financial needs. First, God created work for mankind before Adam chose sin; therefore, work is good and right and doing our tasks to God’s glory (Col.3:23) honors Him. Second, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps.50:10)—it all belongs to Him and He gives as He chooses to whom He chooses. Third, God expects that we strive to fulfill our part in the work-provision equation (2 Thess.3:10).
But we need to take a step back in order to understand what this has to do with striving for wisdom as you work.
Find your goal in God. We have to always start here. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What is it that you’re working for? If we’ve gotten off track and are headed toward a lesser (or wrong!) goal, wisdom will not be found. We must strive in our desire to attain Christlikeness; in our love for God’s Word; and in our single-minded focus on that one, all-consuming goal: the knowledge of God. Knowing that God created work and that He will be honored as you work for His glory will help you keep your eye on the right goal.
Find pleasure in your treasures. God didn’t give us five senses and expect that we reject the pleasure they bring. He didn’t give us the love and warmth of family and friends, only to require that we remain cold and untouched. No, He chose to provide pleasure for us as we walk with Him on this earth. Do you treasure your family? There is pleasure to be found there! Of course, when we treasure Jesus, the ultimate pleasure is found in Him! And, ultimately, it all belongs to God, so give thanks to Him and choose a daily attitude of gratitude.
Find joy in the journey. Yes, even in the trials, there is joy to be found. Remember, Jesus hasn’t changed—He’s the same today as He was during your recent time of relative ease. The journey He has carved out for you includes your continuing to strive. So don’t give up and don’t give in. When we stand strong, by His grace, in our faith, our eyes remain focused on truth—His truth. And it is always in His truth and by His Spirit that we find wisdom.