Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In the (father) Hood

So dads, what causes the frustrations I described before? "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it..." (James 4:1-2b) I often have to remind myself that the things that stress me out are blessings and that my stress is the result of me being ungrateful. Stressed about your house? Be grateful you have a roof over your head. Stressed out about your job? Be grateful you're employed.

This shouldn't come as a surprise however. God told Adam that the consequence of him eating the apple would be "toil" on this earth. "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Gen 3:19)

The same applies to our families, arguably the most consistent if not largest source of stress. I wouldn't describe fatherhood as 'toil', but there's plenty of sweat on my brow. I'm amazed at the timeless truth of this passage. So many brothers talk about how their biggest insecurity is worry over being able to take care of their family. Want to make a man feel inadequate? Make him feel he's failed taking care of his home. That's one of my biggest struggles. I see something I planted in the yard wither and die and I feel like a failure to my family. That incomplete home improvement project? Failure. And relating back to toiling for our food, when we fall short on our bills I worry whether I'm making enough money. And again I feel like a failure.

But it doesn't need to be this way. Jesus said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18:3ff) Do our children worry about the how the bills will be paid? Are they disappointed when there's a dead patch in the yard? Do they feel like failures when things aren't perfect? Of course not. So neither should we. Our children's biggest concern is knowing that we love them and that isn't something to stress over, but rather be very very grateful for.

After all, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Mt 6:27)

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