EXERCISING…is somewhat like parenting. Some days just seem to be harder than others. I was working out on the elliptical bike as usual but today I just didn’t seem to have my normal energy. A little way into it I had the thoughts of just blowing it off, or at least cutting in in half; maybe just not pedaling as hard or whatever. Yesterday, I blew it away. Strong and energetic is how I felt. The workout was a piece of cake! Not wanting to really quit, I turned to my ‘Energy’ verse—“I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.” Over and over I kept repeating it, emphasizing each one of the words as I recited it. I finished stronger than I started. Endurance prevailed!
How is parenting like exercising? If you are a dad or mom, I probably don’t need to explain. Some days, weeks just seem to go better than others. So, how do we overcome during those times that seem so hard to persevere? Not an easy question to answer. “It’s my job so I have to do it,” you might say begrudgingly. At times that may be all it requires. But where is the joy? Our primary example is Christ “who, for the joy set before Him, endured.…much; even the cross.” Where or what gave Him strength to manifest joy through the trials? He saw you and me and our children saved and worshipping His Father for eternity. He saw the ‘end product’.
We have to see beyond the trial(s) of each moment, day or season. Where are our eyes focused; only on the issue in front of us; or maybe the desired results within our children and marriage that will come from our endurance. A synonym is ‘forbearance’; maybe even ‘longsuffering’. These sound so painful, negative, uncomfortable! But what would you think if you realized they describe a portion of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. Would that alter your viewpoint?
See, those daily ‘issues’ that seem so burdensome; they are being allowed or sent into your life to build Godly character in you and in turn in your family. Dads, you are the captain of your ship. All the hands on board are watching for your response to the situation at hand. Is it panic or strength for the moment? Are you ready to abandon ship or set sail for smoother waters?
What your family needs is for you to reflect some of that spiritual fruit; which by the way you have none of—it belongs to the Spirit and He dispenses it through you—that is if you are willingly obedient to let Him. On your own, you will fail miserably; but when you have your “eyes on the prize”, looking beyond the circumstances to the One who is ‘forbearance’ in spades, you can. All He wants is the chance to prove Himself to you. Instead of abandoning ship, abandon yourself to the One who loves your wife and children well beyond your ability.
Start focusing on the joy of your fatherhood. By doing so, the moments that seem to be so difficult will pale in comparison to the results God will provide through you; remembering that the trials are His way of producing His fruit in you and your family. He is the Master Gardener! Let Him have His way with your garden!
Well, two days after that difficult workout, I am cruising again. Dad, how about you and your issues? Did He lighten your load? “Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you (and yours).” That’s truth; rely on it! Keep pedaling!