We’re a week into a new year. The pressure’s on to be a new, better version of ourselves. We may spot room for improvement, especially when it comes to our parenting, but are our New Year’s resolutions having much impact, or have they already fallen by the wayside? It can be enough of a struggle to simply keep up with the mess and stress that come with having kids, keep our tempers, or keep up with rising costs. There’s not much time or energy left over for anything else.
But there’s good news: Jesus doesn’t ask for resolutions. He calls us to rest in him.
While the world applauds self-sufficiency, Jesus calls us to surrender. The world asks, what can you accomplish? Jesus says, ‘it is finished’ and ‘without me you can accomplish nothing’. While the world awards bustling about doing and looking good, Jesus beckons us to worship at his feet. The world demands accomplishment. God desires humility.
As they get older, spotting humility in our children may be as rare as spotting reindeer. Yet our hearts warm when our little one requests, not demands, or when our teen comes to us for advice. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want our kids to excel, but more than that, we want them to be our children, to recognize we are their parent. All the A stars and trophies in the world can’t make up for a child’s extreme pride and rebellion. Accomplishments matter little if the relationship is severed.
So it is with us and God. He doesn’t demand success from us; he’s looking for our humility. He wants us to depend on him for churchy things like wisdom and patience, and gritty things like sleep and food. Humility prompts us to forgive and seek forgiveness, from God and from others. And as we walk humbly with our God, our children are watching.
I recently shared with my teenager that I was extremely anxious about something. She looked surprised when I said I had to ask God to help me not to panic. Allowing our children to appropriately glimpse our weaknesses teaches them that weakness is a part of life. Children aren’t the only ones who can always run to Jesus, strong, and kind.
Throughout December we sing of seeking the Christ child. But with the turn of the calendar page, we may be tempted to carry on without him. Let’s not tuck Jesus away with the decorations. The newborn grew up. His life and death won us salvation, and he now speaks to God on our behalf.
Can there be value in demonstrating to our children how to set, and reach, goals? Of course. But better still is living in humble God-dependence. More than our goals, or our goals for our children, Jesus himself is our prize. If we’re going to be resolute about anything this year, let’s resolutely pursue him.
Rachel is a mum of two who writes for Faith in Kids and serves on ReachGlobal’s London team. For her books and blog go to rachelallord.com