Being a parent is sometimes a frustrating experience.
As a parent, you care deeply about your children and you want what is best for them. You want them to mature, make great choices, and ultimately turn into decent human beings. You want them to be respectful, God-fearing, and FAT (faithful/available/teachable). We want all these things for our kids.
At the same time that we want our kids to excel, we feel responsible for their upbringing. Parents have a calling to train up their children in the way they should go, so we spend time planning out, praying for, and executing strategic investments in our children’s lives.
Parents both care for and are called to their children’s welfare. This is not the frustrating part. This is the good part! The frustrating part of life as a parent is not how much we care, or how how much we do. The frustrating part is that we lack control. When we care for and are called to something we cannot control, we have a tendency to get frustrated when things don’t go the way we intend. As a parent, you want your child to make right choices, but sometimes, they don’t. No matter how much you try, no matter how much you care, you cannot control your child’s behavior . . . and at times this drives us crazy. As a parent, you want your child to be influenced by positive forces, yet you cannot control their environment . . . no matter how many filters you have on your internet browser or television or how selective your schooling choices or friend groups are. As the parent of a kindergartner, I get frustrated when I want him to do something and he refuses. I can teach, I can scold, I can admonish, but I cannot make him eat those peas. When we care about something we are called to and we cannot control its outcome, we have a tendency to get frustrated.
This is true in many areas of our lives . . . including our spiritual lives. As believers in Jesus Christ, we care about our relationship with the Lord. We desperately want our lives to be filled with His purpose and glorifying to His name. We also feel some sense of responsibility to live a life of faith and obedience. However, we lack control of exactly what our life of faith will look like. Sometimes things go poorly; sometimes sickness ends in death; sometimes relationships disappoint; sometimes kids wander away; sometimes employment is severed; sometimes life is hard. Sometimes these things happen to people who care deeply about God and try their best to trust and obey. When life is hard, we can get frustrated because we are unable to control our own lives . . . we find out we cannot control our God.
The issue of control (or better our lack of control) is at the core of sinful humanity. I believe it is a universal and epidemic problem that we seldom talk about. Our struggle for control is the root of much of our anger towards God, anxiety towards life, and frustration about our own performance. Over the past month or so as my wife has undergone a kidney transplant, I have felt myself being taught by the Lord about the topic of control. I wrote about this idea over the past month on my blog here and here.
This Sunday morning at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services, I will be sharing some of what the Lord has taught me through my experience, as well as through the biblical example of the Apostle Peter. If you are in the OKC area this Sunday morning, I would love to see you at Wildwood. In the meantime, I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this topic in the comments section to this post. I would love to begin to dialogue about this topic as I prepare for Sunday. Looking forward to reflecting on this topic together!