We tend to consider it a form of love. If we see someone we care for headed along a path riddled with dangerous pot holes, how can we not step in?
How can we stand by and let them feel the pain of poor choices that would be so easily preventable if they would just take our guiding hand.
Fear is the breeding ground for control.
It leads us to try to influence and direct the behavior and journey of those dear to us. Sometimes our influence seems benign, other times it’s manipulative.
But we would never name it manipulation because we think we are doing it for their best. We are preventing heartache and pain. We are justifying our over involvement.
Our oldest child graduated this weekend. It was a victory on so many levels.
He is a trail blazer. And one of my greatest joys.
Mat and I didn’t always know how to parent this gift and he didn’t often want to be parented.
My need for him to toe-the-line and his need (from the womb) to be his own man train-wrecked our relationship many times.
Ours was a path drenched with laughter and pain, heartache and joy.
For so many years I didn’t trust God with this boy. I didn’t trust God on a lot of levels.
When we butted heads and hearts, I would agonize over our parenting choices. I didn’t understand why submitting to authority was so challenging for him, until Mat finally gave me the look and said, “Where do you think he got it?”
Oh, yeah. I was a trail blazer who didn’t want to be told what to do. Who butted heads with authority all of my growing up years…and maybe a few years after. My son carried much of my DNA.
God cleared His throat loud enough to finally get our attention and reminded us of our ultimate goal—-relationship with our son. We delighted in this boy who knew his own mind and wanted to learn by his own mistakes.
I longed to prevent those mistakes. I carried the scars of so many of my own.
So God asked us to release this precious son into His hands. To accept him and love him and cherish him for who he is. Created and delightfully molded, not in our image, but in His.
When we took our hands off, this boy came back. He wants relationship with us as much as we want it with him. But he couldn’t thrive where he felt constricted.
The greatest gift we can give to those closest to us is to let go of our visions and desires for their lives and step into worshipping the One who can guide them and love them to Himself. The very things we fear may be the circumstances He is using to mold and prepare them for His plans for their future.
Joseph didn’t anticipate that betrayal, imprisonment and hardship would be the training ground God would use to prepare him to save many lives (Gen. 50:20).
We are short-sighted when it comes to the plans God has for us. Leaning into Him and letting go of what is not ours allows us to love freely and completely.
Father, teach me to lean into You and to let go of those things I can’t and shouldn’t try to control. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not on the circumstances I’m in. Remind me that You hold closely and carefully those that I love. Reveal Your power and character through my life so I can freely love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Heart photo via Pixabay