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May 10, 2024
May 13, 2024

Staying Stable in a Culture of Chaos

The first children of creation—perfectly formed by their Father’s hand, called by name, and given a beautiful purpose—couldn't resist the temptation to reject their design and reach for one of their own making. It shouldn't be surprising that this struggle remains persistently present in the human condition, perhaps most clearly in our children.

Adam and Eve's original temptation has simply been repackaged and updated for today's culture, which idolizes individuality, autonomy, self-expression, and self-definition. Our society's song declares, “You can be whatever you want to be!” and “No one else can tell you who you truly are.”

Such statements sound sweet to the flesh, yet they bury the bitterness of such self-determination: If you can be anything, you were designed for nothing. If only you can define who you truly are, no one can help you figure it out.

How do we remain stable in a culture of chaos? How can we prepare our children to resist our culture's seductive song? Below are a few things to consider.

Do Not Fear Failure

For parents and children, failure is an important part of the story. It's not a question of if we fail but rather when we fail. Perhaps, more importantly, it's a question of what we will do when faced with our failure.

Given the way Scripture describes the human condition, we should probably be more shocked when we get things right rather than when we get things wrong (which is equally true for children). When we know that failure is an inescapable part of life, we can respond to it with kindness and patience instead of shock and anger.

We must experience the bitterness of failure to understand the sweetness of the gospel. Failure reveals our limitations and reminds us we were made to live dependent on our heavenly Father. Every failure invites us to confidently return to the throne of grace and receive the mercy and help that's most needed (Heb. 4:16).

Romans 8:28 invites us to live with the pervasive confidence that God is at work in all things for His glory and His children's good. Our and our children’s failures aren't wasted in God's hands but are the means by which He matures and sanctifies us. The only failure we should fear is refusing to let God use a failure to grow us.

Know What You Are Sowing

Galatians 6:7-9 makes it abundantly clear that we'll reap what we sow. It's a simple and obvious principle we rarely consider. The speed of life makes it difficult to slow down and evaluate how our decisions impact our present and future harvest. Though difficult, we must be honest about how our current rhythms and structures shape us and our children.

Having one day a week devoted to God and six days a week shaped by the world will produce a predictable harvest. We cannot expect the worship songs of one church service each week to drown out the siren songs of our secular culture.

This isn't to say we need a daily church service or that we should give 51% of our week to God. Rather, whether we eat, drink, sleep, work, or play, we're called to do all things unto the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). In other words, is the enjoyment, worship, and display of God's glory the primary motivation for how we structure our lives?

One Day at a Time

In Matthew 6, Jesus concludes His teaching on anxiety in an unusual yet memorable way. After discussing how the beauty of creation reveals God's loving character, He wraps up by saying don’t worry about tomorrow because today will be tough enough. If you’re like me, this is easier said than done.

When we experience unexpected hardship and pain, it's difficult not to let our present reality frame our anticipated future. We often internally write the next 40 years of our children's lives based on their one poor decision. Unfortunately, that usually means we respond to their present error as though the terrible 40-year story we wrote has already occurred (leaving our child perplexed).

In every difficulty, we must remember God is the God of resurrection. He authored the most beautiful plot twist in history by sending His Son to die and rise again to save His wayward children. God’s stories are mysterious, confusing, and unpredictable, yet perfectly authored in love. May this truth help us remain present today and trust He will give new mercies when tomorrow comes.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How has God used failure in your life to mature you? Are there failures you have yet to entrust to God? Take a moment to pray about this and ask God to help you see how He's using your failures for good.
  • If you continue to parent and live as you currently do, what will your family and life look like in five years? Are there any necessary changes to sow a different harvest
  • What fears do you have regarding your kids and their future? Take some time to talk with God about these. Pray He will comfort you and help you trust His purposes and design for you and your children. Pray He will help you take this journey one day at a time.

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Andrew Dealy
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