Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’
We got guinea pigs. [sigh]
Jacob has been doing great in school and as a reward, I (caved, and) agreed to guinea pigs for him and Morgan. Spike and Cutie. Don’t get me wrong here–I love giving gifts to our kids. But guinea pigs? I think the reason behind my reticence comes from my memories of having hamsters as a child. Messy, smelly, unintelligent… I was thinking about those ridiculous rodents the other day as I watched Jake and Morgan joyfully play with their new pets.
We had a labyrinth of tubes and stations for our hamsters. I would watch them endlessly wander around, hit dead ends, turn around, wander until another dead end, turn around, over and over again. Not sure why they couldn’t seem to figure out the map in their tiny heads. Why couldn’t they learn that this tube led to nowhere? Why would they continue to be directed simply by whether the path was open or closed? Why couldn’t I see the massive metaphor for life playing out in such an obvious way in front of me?
How many conversations have you had with people who tell a story in which they’re seeking God’s will? As many as I have, I’m sure. We’ve all heard these stories and we’ve all been a part of them. It seems the prevailing philosophy about God’s will for so many people is that He opens doors and closes doors. That following His will for our lives is a matter of turning around when we encounter a closed door and then walking through the open ones. I wonder if God looks at us with the same perplexed curiosity that configured my 10 year old face as I watched my hamsters. I wonder if God scratches His celestial head in wonder at our scurrying and wandering and head bumping. I have to believe that deciphering and obeying God’s will goes far beyond just finding a path of least resistance. It has to be more subtle and complex than that. It has to be more beautiful. It is.
If you’re seeking God’s will right now, consider this: God has actually ALREADY REVEALED HIS WILL. Perhaps not the details, but don’t get bogged down in the details. Not knowing the details is not the same as not knowing His will. The details make our faith. They make the journey fun and meaningful and fulfilling and beautiful. But they don’t define His will. He’s revealed His will. Holy Scripture is fully sufficient for guiding our decisions. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says it all:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Did you see that? “…that the man of God may be complete…” Complete: artios in the Greek. This is the only occurrence of that word in the New Testament. It means fresh, perfect. Robertson says it means “specially adapted.” Scripture is the definitive source for us to become specially adapted to the journey God has designed for us. In other words, He’s given us to always be in His Word so that we may always be in His will.
In the last 10 years of my life, our biggest decisions haven’t been between one open door and one closed door. They’ve all been a matter of carefully considering, through the lens of Scripture, numerous and simultaneous open doors. Closed doors don’t even get our attention anymore. As followers of Jesus, we have to get beyond the simple if we want to find the deeper meaning in our walk, the deeper intimacy in our relationship.
Here’s a partial list of the questions we ask when we’re facing big decisions. I hope you can begin to ask them as well and discover a deeper joy in finding God’s will:
- Where do our loyalties lie? To the work? To a brand or organization? Or to the Father?
- Can we continue to be totally obedient if we do this, or would it require compromise?
- Does this decision honor our primary calling of Christ-centered marriage and parenthood?
- Where’s the Biblical narrative that speaks into this crossroad? What does it say? What mistakes were made?
- Ultimately, does this work towards or against advancing the Kingdom?
We’ve found out that while we still might not have clear answers for every question, God finds pleasure in our process. He deepens our faith through it. We take big risks, and then we find out that God’s plan was already in place. Bottom line, God is not trying to conceal His will from us. He’s not interested in tricking us. He inspires us to obedience through His Word. He’s in control, and that makes it impossible to make the wrong decision for those who seek Him the right way–through Scripture (and, of course, through the wise counsel of those who know Scripture well.)
Stop wandering and wondering like my hamsters. Be courageous in His Word and His will. God has written you into an amazing story, and He waits with the bated breath of a doting Father for you to journey into the next chapter.
photo credit: Ian Cron
Ian is back at it–he just released his second book Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me: A Memoir of Sorts. Again, click the title to get yourself a copy.
I had the privilege of spending a half hour with Ian and his wife Anne baking in a parking lot one block off a street festival in Delray Beach a few weeks ago. Having known and loved these guys since I was in diapers, I always try to take the opportunity to see them when I can–even if it finds us in unexpected places. At the end of our incredibly illuminating conversation, Ian offered me a pre-release copy of the Memoir. It is such an honor that he would do this, and it’s a treat to recommend it to you.
Though he states outright that some of his stories may be slightly less than accurate, I found myself defending my own memories of childhood–my only argument for relativism is found in my own personal ‘take’ on what happened, when and how, and how my experiences shaped me as a person. Some of my closest friends and family claim that I have a flair for the over-dramatic, but hey, this is how I remember what happened–who are you to tell me how I perceived it all?
That said, Ian’s Memoir is less a chronology of his journey and more like wading in a reflection pool. His writing truly transports. I felt like I was there when he lit the pile of powder he emptied from the road flares for all the neigborhood boys’ amusement; when he hid beneath the altar at 5AM in the church because he was awakened too early; when he tackled his drunk father in the easy chair; when he blew his VW Bug motor and jumped out before it stopped on the way to a Steve Miller Band show; and when his 8 year old son taught him and other grown men how to be courageous.
Ian’s counselor Dan captures the tremendous implicit value of this book on page 200:
“I spoke for two hours. ‘Sorry for rambling,’ I said. Dan uncrossed his legs. ‘I want to sit quietly for a moment to honor the story you’ve just told. It was sacred,’ he said, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes.”
Ian’s book reaffirms to us that our stories are sacred. That is to say that our lives are sacred. Regardless of the path, pleasant or horrifying, we each have a catalog of stories, unique and sacred. We add immeasurable richness to each other’s lives by retelling our stories. And Ian is a master storyteller.
Get this book and read it tonight. Fight the urge to find some deep theological meaning in all of it (it’s definitely there) and just enjoy listening to good stories.
Perhaps I’ve been reading a lot of books lately filled with statistics and case studies, but I found this book to be incredibly refreshing and energizing. It’s full of hope and everything that tries to stand in the way of hope. Just like my story. Just like your story.
Thanks, Ian! Can’t wait for the next one!