I had a milestone birthday this month. The big 5-0. I guess this means I’m officially a grown-up. I don’t know about the rest of you, but throughout my adult life I’ve been constantly amazed that the world lets me:
- Drive a car
- Have a job
- Bring small defenseless humans home from the hospital
- Buy a house
- Invest money
I’ve often felt just like a little kid, unprepared for the great big world with its big decisions and big responsibilities. I wanted a teacher or a parent to tell me what to do. But becoming an adult means we need to tell ourselves what we ought to do. We have to become our own parent.
As adults we decide when to go to bed and when to get up. When to take only one cookie. What to watch or not watch on TV. If something is a waste of money, or time.
Sometimes we read a great book, listen to an excellent podcast, watch an inspiring Ted Talk or experience a life-changing sermon that brings fresh clarity about what we ought to do. Gaining wisdom from these sources is invaluable. Obviously, God’s word is the best source of insight for how to live. But at the end of the day, you still have to do it. You still need to parent thyself.
I’ve noticed I never have to parent myself into binging Netflix or sleeping in or engaging in retail therapy. I can easily make childish choices with money, food, and time. It’s the really mature things that are more difficult to implement: those things that require me to courageously move out of my comfort zone and into the next level of adulthood.
This week, kids went back to school. Some charged into their next grade without an ounce of trepidation. Some approached the classroom door bound up with anxiety. But do you know what didn’t happen? No parent said, “You’re right Timmy, second grade is not for you. Let’s just stop after first. You’re good.”
We would never do that!!! Why? Because we’re parents. We know what’s best. We know the benefit to Timmy is worth his struggle through the fears and the worries. His ultimate best includes second grade. It might not be easy, but we parent accordingly.
However, as grown-ups we often don’t have to do anything we don’t really want to do. We stay securely settled in our routines, our habits, and our friend groups. Once we learn how to manage the career and the mortgage and the carpool, we ease into a well-worn, perpetual rut.
But that kind of stagnancy is likely not for our ultimate best. When was the last time you parented yourself outside your comfort zone? Has the Holy Spirit been nudging (or clearly telling) you to take a step or leap of faith? If he is asking you to follow him somewhere uncertain or scary you can trust him that it’s for your ultimate best. Listen to him, and then, in obedience, parent thyself.
Please comment below one area that you need to start being the parent of your own life! Let’s do this!
““Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:27-28).