Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 27, 2019
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! Galatians 4:19-20
Our 17 year old daughter blurted out to me in frustration, “Dad, every time we talk it feels like a business meeting”. Yes, I had overdrawn my emotional equity with my teenager. I had become hyper controlling and hyper fearful, because of (you guessed it), a trolling teenage boy I did not like. He was suspect. Suspect for not looking me in the eye. Suspect for the distasteful way he dressed. Suspect for his family showering my little girl with gifts I could not afford. Suspect of his dismissal of my question about his plan to stay pure with my daughter. I was stressed out.
Nonetheless, I knew in my heart I needed to adjust my overbearing approach to my sweet and sensitive girl or our relationship was going to go completely off the rails. We needed relational restoration because our trust was weak if not broken, going both ways. After conferring with my wiser-than-me wife, and asking the Lord for my heart and mind to be motivated by love and not fear, I pondered a new idea. Instead of obsessing over my worry—I focused on an activity she loved.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
“What if we take scuba diving lessons together”? “So fun, thank you dad”! By God’s grace I began to rebuild trust with my daughter by trusting her. Trusting her to follow Jesus. Trusting her to make wise choices. Trusting her to honor me. Wow, once I took my eyes of myself and the selfish fears of my image being tainted, I was able to truly trust the Lord with my girl!
We spent the summer showing up for weekly scuba classes.
As we progressed my stamina was strained, like a baby salmon swimming upstream I physically felt the full resistance. But what a small price to pay for replacing my business meeting approach with a caring, relational approach. She went on to be certified, while a sinus infection torpedoed my certification dive in Florida. August rolled around and our pastor began a series: The Principle of the Path, about how our direction determines our destination—I 75 north from Atlanta will not take us to Tampa, but to Chattanooga.
Three weeks into the sermon series our discerning girl said to Rita and me. “God really spoke to me at church today. I am on the wrong path dating Chip (not his real name). I plan to break off our relationship immediately”. “Yes” we blurted out, “sounds like the wise thing to do”. Chip did not take no for an answer and it was all I could do not to step in and interpret to him what ‘no’ meant. Our bold baby girl stood her ground, even to his pushy mom. Afterwards the Lord sent her the love of her life. Rules are necessary to protect and preserve, but relationships flourish best in a loving environment. Creativity needed to replace my repetitive business meetings!
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).
Heavenly Father, give me your patient love as I seek to parent the precious children you have given me, in Jesus’ name, amen.
What relationship might require a new approach that focuses on common ground and not conflict? What common experience can we enjoy together?
Psalm 86:15; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22
Rules are necessary to protect and preserve, but relationships flourish best in a loving environment. #WisdomHunters #changeapproach
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