So guys, or as they say in Texas, y’all… I’m going to challenge you today… but first…
I remember the feeling as a kid of running full out in the back yard playing army with my buddies. I would run, splash through the mud, army crawl on the dirt to get closer to the “enemy,” build forts, and do all sorts of things without a worry or fear. And later in life… camouflaged, sneaking through the woods trying to get close enough to a deer so I could use my bow and arrow… and yes even the inner kid thinking what it must have been like in the pioneer days. No worries, just pure enjoyment and focus on the thing and challenge at hand. Testing the boundaries and getting an understanding of who I was and what limits there were… all in the midst of the joy and freedom of the experience.
So… I’d like to you to recall a similar time in your experiences. Recall a time that you had no fears, worries and were totally enjoying the moment. A time when the inner child could experience the awe and wonder… the sheer joy of living. What were the feelings you experienced? Now I know that’s a challenge for guys… to talk about feelings… but what were they? Joy, peace, exhilaration, accomplishment?
Have you ever thought about the children of today? Are the same opportunities as available to them? In this day and age of having to be protective, diligently watching what they do, monitoring who they hang out with, limiting what they experience on their digital devices, and attempting to control where they go and what they see… not even talking about the enormous pressure to compete and perform… it’s much more difficult for them to experience the joy and freedom of childhood.
So what does that mean to us as men, dads or not?
I have to be honest… I struggle to answer. But… here’re a few thoughts I had:
- We can provide safe environments for kids to just be kids. An environment where there is no pressure to perform but encouragement to explore. An environment where there is no rush or hurry to get something completed, to learn something, or to get to the next thing. Go to a park and let them run, play, and experiment… even let them get dirty… they’ll wash.
- We can also model this in a positive way… showing that you can explore, you can unplug the digital devices and clock and just be. Take fishing for example… when was the last time you went fishing with a kid to just enjoy it… celebrating catching fish but also celebrating not catching fish… taking on the challenge of a tangled line with joy… just enjoying the experience regardless of the “success?” No work, no phone and no expectations except to experience what happened.
- How about this… and if there are any moms reading this, hold on… let a kid try something even if he might get a road rash or fail. Then, help him learn from it in a positive way.
- Be the great news of Jesus to your kids. Teach and show them how God has worked in your life to protect, comfort, lead and dispel fear and doubt. Teach them the life of following Jesus… a life of joy and freedom even when it’s tough because of His work on the cross.
You see, God speaks about life His way and it’s a full life.
John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
One without worry.
Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV) “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Because of Jesus, we have been adopted into God’s family… we are the sons and daughters of the Creator Himself… and we can live freely, joyfully, and without worry knowing that God is in control and a very real presence. Do you let yourself experience this or have all the worries, fears and challenges got in your way?
How can you re-experience being the child of God living the full life He has for you?
How can you help the kids in your life experience the fullness of life?