What Have I Done??

Something has been bothering me. I overheard a conversation between two mothers of teens. One of these teens is just finishing her first year of college. She feels the call to go into ministry for the summer, but her parents want her to get a summer job and rationalize that “even ministers like to eat.” I do not judge this mother because I am not in her shoes. In fact, when I was in her shoes, I most likely did the same thing. But was I right in doing so?

That’s what has been bothering me. Did I set my kids up to depend on themselves for basic needs, such as food? Did I teach them that it is important to take care of their basic needs first and THEN listen to God? That they shouldn’t follow God’s call on their lives until after they are generating a secure income? What have I done?

I can’t help but wonder if my parents did the same thing to me. I don’t remember – it may have been “the world” that taught me to depend on myself.  I have only recently learned to trust God as my source. My job is NOT my source. I am still learning to obey Him and His call on my life no matter what, and I’m still learning to trust that when I do, He will take care of everything else. What kind of message does it send when we say to our youth that God is their source, but in the same breath tell them it is up to them to provide their basic needs when they are out and “on their own” in the world?

I realize what we’re really saying is that WE (parents) will no longer be their source … that they can’t always count on Mom and Dad to feed and clothe them. But shouldn’t we be sending them to God for this instead of telling them to get a job? What if God doesn’t want them to get a job? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to heed God’s call on their lives and trust Him to take care of everything else? Shouldn’t we be using this teachable moment to increase their faith in God instead of forcing the world’s fears on them? Do we really, REALLY believe the Bible? Or are we training our children to be hearers of the word and not doers?

I honestly don’t remember what I taught my children as they reached that age. I would like to think that I at least told them to follow their hearts. I’ve always believed that if you do what you love and love what you do, you will be happy and successful. It’s only been recently that I realized those passions are placed in our hearts by God, and He intends for us to use them for His purposes.

If I had it to do over again, I’d tell my children to seek God’s will. If He wants them to get a job, He will direct them to the job He has for them, but that they should never consider their job as their provider. God may want them to use that income for something else … He will meet their needs. If He has an assignment for them that is not a “job,” He will meet their needs! I would emphasize that God is able (and willing) to do exceeding abundantly above all they could ever do for themselves.

Is it too late to teach this to my children? What are you teaching your children?

Have Faith In God!


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4 responses to “What Have I Done??

  1. It was easier for me. When it came to matters of faith I said that our children would have to ask those who believed, as I did not feel I would be able to explain faith to them. I also emphasised that that it would be fine if they reacted against me and believed the opposite of what I believe, and they did not have to bring up their children the same way that we brought them up. When they were young they complained that if I had loved them more I would have advised/interfered more. When they reached adulthood they conferred and decided that they liked the way we led by example and did not nag about trivia.

    Perhaps it was easier for me because, not being a Christian, I don’t feel burdened by the guilt and sense of sin, and the ideas about duty which appear to oppress the thoughtful Christians I have talked to. I feel that, if possible, we should enjoy our children.

  2. You’ve taught me to listen and to believe. Though growing up I’d be frustrated because I felt I was doing it wrong or something. I want to have a great relationship like you do. It was hard for me as a kid and it still is… but I know I want it.

  3. Maryjane, Have you asked your children for their perception of what advice, if any you gave them?

    • Not yet, Natalie. On one hand, I hope they will respond to this blog and answer that question. On the other hand … I’m not sure it will be something I want to hear, you know?

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