Wednesday, October 14, 2015

walk, don't run

After a few years of smelling like sour milk, listening to the same nursery rhymes nonstop, and trying to negotiate with a snarky teenager, we all begin to lose pieces of our sanity. In the chaos of parenting, we forget what our ultimate purpose is. While we may feel like it, our purpose isn't to parent. As great a privilege as it is, God made us for more than that. The richness of our parenting depends heavily on our identities as individuals, identities that must be rooted in Christ. We were made to walk with God, to enjoy a sweet, intimate relationship with our Creator Father. It's only when we invest in this relationship that we can begin to parent well.

In Micah 6:8 the prophet writes, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (ESV). Most of the time we focus on doing justice and loving kindness. Both are activities from which we can receive personal satisfaction and validation, two factors that contribute to our feelings of success and productivity.

Yet Micah's emphasis wasn't on either. It was, instead, on walking humbly with God1. While convenient and maybe even heart-felt, our offerings of church attendance and candy donations aren't what God desires most from us. We weren't made to do things for God; we were made to exist with God. Until we nurture that relationship with Him, we're going to keep striving--and failing--for fulfillment in other ways.

Micah uses "walk" to illustrate the life God calls us to live. Just as Enoch (Gen. 5:21-24) and Noah (Gen. 6:9) walked with God "in peace and uprightness," so Micah urges God's people to walk "in the fear of God," "in God's truth," "in the light of God's presence," "in the ways of good people," and "in the ways of righteousness."2

By asking us to walk with him, he's not adding another item to our to-do list. He's giving us the bread and water we need to get that to-do list done. He's establishing Himself as the supreme and caring Controller of our lives. He's establishing Himself as our Brother and Burden-Bearer. God sees our struggle. He sees us question our existence, berate our poor parenting, break down after an argument with our spouse, and lose ourselves to our jobs. He sees our need and offers Himself as a remedy. The prescription? Walking with Him.

Walking isn't limited to coming and going; it encompasses the attitude with which we go, the intent with which we go, the manner through which we go. Walking isn't an arbitrary action; it's a Spirit-filled commitment that allows "concrete, everyday activities to become windows on divine realities"3. It's an awareness of God, an invitation of His Spirit into our lives, and a reflection of Christ's life. This kind of living is head-to-toe, inside-and-out transformation that God does in us over the course of our entire lives. Walking does more than move us from the car to the storefront; it moves us from being overstressed, overworked, malfunctioning Dads and Moms to being restored, sustained, thriving children of God.

If you're overwhelmed with Daddy duty, discouraged because you're not Super Mom, or tired just from being the makeshift parent you are, take heart. We haven't been abandoned to navigate this crazy life on our own. We have a Father who is concerned for our well-being and has a deeply vested interest in our success.

If you need a peace of mind, a strong foundation, or a trusted confidant, you need God. I know you want the good life, the best life for you and your spouse and your kids. Only someone as great as God, as real as Jesus, and as faithful as the Spirit can give you that abundant life.


1 The Complete Biblical Library, Gilbrant, p. 433
2 Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Ryken, p. 922
3 ibid., p. 923