Saturday, June 15, 2013

Succeeding in spite of me

2 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong — not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.
About six weeks ago when I entered year two of this project, I hinted at maybe not writing so many words each day, or taking days off altogether. I still feel the discipline of daily writing is good for me, both as a writer and spiritually, but there exists the possibility I’m just stretching out what could be a perfectly concise thought on account of the vanity of a post that appears to be of “decent” length. As if a shorter post would make me somehow look less professional, which is a goofy notion because last I checked I’m not getting paid for this work.

But writing this blog, like parenting itself, brings questions of intent. Who am I doing this for? What do I hope to gain? How will anything be different because of my effort? In reading this verse from 2 Corinthians, a portion of a larger passage in which Paul is giving final warnings to this particular group of believers, I found myself facing those questions of intent. Specifically, am I trying to be a good parent because I am intent on raising good kids who will make a positive difference in the world, or am I simply worrying what everyone thinks about me?

Hopefully it’s the former. I tried my best near the end of high school to stop fretting about how the world sees me, though I know I never shook it completely. I do think I learned to gauge the degree to which I would trust someone based on how much we both cared about the things I deemed actually important. And as it pertains to parenting, Kristie and I take very seriously each other’s insight, and we try to leave it at that. God trusted us with these kids, and we trust God to help us make good decisions on their behalf.

And when the time comes for them to make their own decisions, I have a few hopes. I hope they still value our opinion. I hope they seek God’s direction. I hope they have the courage to do what they feel is right despite what the world may think. I hope they succeed because of some of the preparation we are doing while they are young. But, as Paul writes, in the areas where I have fallen short, I hope they succeed in spite of me. I won’t be perfect and neither will they. But if they grow to be strong willed and of clear focus, they’ll be just fine.

A prayer for June 15:

Lord, please help me keep my focus. Show me your path. May my mind not stray, may I always be aware of your will for me and not what conventional wisdom might suggest. Help me raise my children to be of independent mind. Show me what it takes to teach them to succeed where I have failed. And when they fail, let them not forget you will accept them even so. Your grace is enough for all of us — if only we keep our hearts and minds open for you. Amen.

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