As I sit and reflect on my daughter starting K-5, it’s very bittersweet. Though I’m so proud of her and excited for her, the realization of her inevitable growth, right before my eyes, can be painful. The things I’ll miss are the things I know…the need for me to hold her, feed her, clothe her, change her, care for her, the things that made her totally dependent on me. There’s the learning to talk, the learning to walk, holding her hand, picking her up, carrying her when she needed to be carried. But the more she grows, the more she develops, the more independent she becomes, I become less of a daddy and more of a father… and sometimes those daddy moments are hard to move past.
My pain in her growth has allowed God to teach me a lesson about Him, His plan and His wisdom. The very thing God desires from us as believers, is the very thing we often resist because there are moments it can be painful…..growth. For my daughter to become everything God designed her to become, I can’t always be daddy, I have to become more father. Daddy moments will always be necessary at times, but being a father makes it’s impact forever. Anybody can be a daddy, but it takes something special to be a father. Daddy comes around to make things better….father teaches, through daily example, how to live to make each day better.
There are moments in our early life as a believer that we fall, make mistakes, have boo-boos, get things tangled and we run to daddy to make things better; and while God appreciates those moments that you run to Him in time of need and distress, He celebrates when you put off the childish ways and you grow to become more like the “father.” We often try to avoid growth because it involves change, increased responsibility and sometimes pain. Our nature, as parents and as people, is to, often, hold something so close, for our selfish reasons, that we smother it’s ability to grow and we talk ourselves into the idea that if it stays small and close to us, it’s for the better. This challenges all of Kingdom thinking. It’s a natural thought process but it subconsciously creates a need for dependency, control and kingship over our subjects, when by God’s design instead of “ruling” over His children, He desires to rule WITH them.
We can see the detriment of this type of “daddy” thinking, by the state of our government and nation. Our leadership (we’ll call them Big Daddy DC), continues to create more of this “don’t grow up” mentality; fancying and fueling their own selfish desires of greater control, subject dependency and a solid “God-complex”. The “children” are not encouraged to grow up, become free-thinking, prosperous individuals that increase and share in the liberty and success of the nation, rather life-infants with a need of constant pacifying. It embraces the idea of “running to Big Daddy” to fix things and make them better, when it’s “children” fall, make mistakes, and have boo-boos. Rather than educating, providing resources/opportunity and encouraging strength and independence by it’s subjects, Big Daddy DC desires to increase in it’s own growth while smothering and discouraging it’s “children” from becoming anything responsible, bright and successful. When you stunt growth, you slow success.
My greatest desire for my children, while I so much enjoy them now (and really want these young days to go SLOW), is for them to grow to become an incredible Kingdom success. The true testament to my fatherhood, is not how long and how much I can keep them close and needy, but how close I get them to becoming everything God designed for their lives. I wasn’t given the opportunity to be daddy to my children to hoard over them forever, rather given responsibility to steward them to become heirs to the throne; sharing with them the love, teaching and experiences that the true Father shares with me.
My challenge to you whether you’re a parent, teacher, leader or even on a personal level, is to not be afraid of growth. Rather than being afraid of what you or your subjects will become, celebrate what you or your subjects are becoming! Change can be tough sometimes, but with each change comes new opportunities to succeed. Meet challenges, responsbility and growth head on…realizing that each time you do, you’re growing closer to the king in you. Don’t be a part of inhibiting someone else’s growth, be a part of their growth; create opportunities, encourage their steps and celebrate each graduation of accomplishment. You’re not a better leader, shepherd or parent by how close to your ground you can keep them, but by how high you enable them to fly.
Take the opportunity today to grow or be apart of someone’s growth.