It does not matter what we are doing, my 5 year old daughter wants to know the plan. Where are we going? What are we going to do? Why? Who’s going to be there? Even in our recent transition to homeschooling she has been relentless in her need to know how many assignments are remaining, what we’re having for lunch, when she can have a break and how much longer until tech time. One morning recently, she was especially distracted by her questions and could not even focus on her simple assignment. My daughter’s frantic mind was asking a million questions while placing cereal on a squiggle line and wanting to know what was coming next and after that and so on. Frankly, her questions raised my anxiety level just a bit as I tried to encourage her to keep focus on the task at hand.
“Let’s stop thinking ahead and focus on what we’re doing right now”, I said to her.
Softly, yet unmistakingly the Holy Spirit – who speaks to me so frequently through my own words to my children – reminded me that my message to my daughter was, in fact, the same message he wanted my heart to hear. Despite the fact that I get frustrated with my daughter’s constant demand to know the plan and all of the answers, God used her that day to remind me that my cries to Him so often reflect the same demand.
I want to know the plan. I want to know how God is going to do it all. I want to know what step is next so I can get a move on. I don’t like sitting in a space of unknowing and inaction. I too become relentless in my demand to know. I get distracted as I desperately try to figure out the solution to the problems I am facing. As a result, like my daughter, I cannot focus on the assignment in front of me. And then the Lord reveals to me that I am wasting precious time and energy trying to find the solution rather than God Himself. I value answers above his presence. I desire a plan rather than His purpose.
We are all struggling to balance our faith with the desire for answers in our current situation. Media from every direction floods our minds with questions and uncertainties. As believers we want to know what God is going to do. We want to know how. We want to know when. In this, we are not so different from our children in our desire for our Father to answer our every question and concern.
As we wait for answers, we as parents have an unprecedented opportunity to allow our children to see us look completely to God as we openly admit our lack of control and knowledge of what’s to come. We don’t know what next week, next month or next year is going to look like but in the meantime, we still have a purpose and a calling. As Pastor Steven Furtick puts it, “Just because I am in an uncertain place doesn’t mean I don’t have a certain purpose.”
When God made us parents, He gave us a purpose and tremendous responsibility. No matter what is going on around us, our first priority is still to point our children to him above all else. The best way we can teach them right now is not through AMI distance learning, but rather through an abiding faith that acknowledges his sovereignty and our full dependence on Him. Rather than allowing ourselves to get distracted with our need to know, let us focus on teaching our children what we already know.
- God’s truth — “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160)
When we have fears and questions, our time and energy is best spent filling our minds and hearts with God’s truth through scripture. The truth of His word is foundational to our faith and teaching it to our children is foundational to our role as parents. By intentionally creating an atmosphere for His truth to resonate in our homes, we are actively fighting against the enemy’s attempts to ensnare us in his traps of fear, doubt and distraction. Let your children hear you repeat the scriptures of His promises and provision outloud each time you hear a thought that conflicts with His word. As a result, they will learn the invaluable practice of doing this for themselves and benefit from a home covered in the protection of prayer against the spiritual battle that wages against the family.
- God’s provision — “And my God will meet all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phillippians 4:19)
Scripture is full of examples of God providing for his people. Time and time again, despite the rebellion and apathy of his people, God has made sure they had what they needed. Notice I said, need and not want. What an incredible time for us to start teaching our children to see past the material distractions of this world and begin to show them God’s provision through the examples in scripture and the experiences of this current pandemic. Let’s use some of the extra time we have to dive into scripture and bring to life these examples for our children. Take time to recognize even the smallest of provisions that can easily be out of sight and out of mind such as running water, heat and a house to shield us from the rain. Create a “thankful list” somewhere in your home that is easily visible and add something to it each day that your family is thankful for. If your focus is on thankfulness, you have less time to dwell on the need to know.
- God’s promises — “For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (CSB)
There you have it. He knows, so we don’t have to. He has a plan set in place that is beyond our control, but thankfully He promises His plan is for our well being. When we place our faith in Him, we cannot leave trust out of the deal. Choosing Him means choosing to believe everything He says including His promises, even when we cannot see how.
- What truly matters —
As we know, God does give answers but as we grow and become more spiritually mature, we realize that His answers rarely match our ideas and expectations. Oftentimes, our focus is entirely on the wrong thing. We look for temporary resolve because a) we do not like to be uncomfortable by feeling out of control and b) we do not have his ability to see the big picture in alignment with his plan. This is why our plan has to shift. Our focus must be aligned with God and His ultimate desire which is to love others, see the lost come to Him and make His glory known.
By filling our homes with the reading of His word, prayer and a focused attention to His priorities, we have the opportunity to instill a faith that our children will own for themselves and take with them as they grow and mature. There will be more challenges to come and more difficulties to face, but when we die to our need to know, we establish peace into our homes and a testimony to those around us that speaks without uttering a word. And so, as we continue to walk through these unknown days, let’s stop thinking ahead and focus on what we are doing right now one day at a time.